By now I’m sure many of you have heard the news out of Fort Hood in Texas. Apparently an army psychiatrist, Major Nidal Malik Hasan walked into a troop readiness center and opened fire, killing 13 people and wounding many more. Only the heroic actions of a police officer, Kimberly Munley, and ability of the soldiers to act as first responders kept even more people from losing their lives. Details are still sketchy and information changes on an hourly basis but, suffice to say, this is true tragedy.
In thinking about the events that unfolded, I find myself filled with a deep sadness. Obviously there is sadness for the lives that were lost or forever changed by the selfish and disgusting act of one man. However, there is also sadness for what this episode says about our country and means for our country. The willingness of our troops to put their lives on the line to defend this country is nothing short of admirable and inspirational. The men and women who lost their lives had indicated their willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice – how tragic that that sacrifice was made on the grounds of what should have been a safe place. They were killed by a person who was so turned off by the prospect of fighting oversees that he chose to take matters into his own hands and escape from battle by killing his fellow soldiers. We have become a society where violence is too often used to solve problems, avoid constructive conflict or silence people you don’t like. This must stop. And it must stop now.
There is nothing wrong with opposing the war or not wanting to fight. However, no matter where we stand on this important issue (or any issue for that matter) we must respect those who make other choices or believe other things. Especially when those choices including putting their life on the line for our benefit and security. I mourn today for those brave men and women who were killed, not because of anything they did, but because they were preparing to defend this country. They were killed in the very place created to prepare them to defend this country and freedom everywhere.
Finally, I implore everyone out there to remember that this was one man committing an unspeakably horrible act. This has no reflection on Muslims here or anywhere. Those who are sending death threats to mosques or otherwise taking out their sadness and anger on innocent people who just happen to share religious beliefs are, at best, misguided and are no better than all those who indiscriminately hate Americans.
My heart breaks for the families of all those involved and I know justice will be done.