Four days after the shootings at Fort Hood, I finally feel ready to try and express the anger and outrage I am feeling about the shooting.
I’ve heard the word tragic used to describe the incident, and it certainly was. It was tragic that over 50 people on a US military installation were unable to defend themselves.
In a combat zone, soldiers aren’t without their weapons. That rifle or sidearm gets carried everywhere the soldier goes, because they never know when they’ll need that weapon. We trust them in a combat deployment to handle their weapons safely, and to know when to shoot, and when not to shoot.
I’m told that it wasn’t that long ago that officers and non-commissioned officers always carried a sidearm with them, on post or off. I suppose it’s been quite a while, as I served some 20 years ago, and no one I knew carried a weapon off duty. But it used to be a matter of honor for personnel to carry a weapon; they would never be caught without one.
But on 5 November, many were caught without one. Some were caught dead. Fort Hood Police Sgt. Kimberly Munley and Sgt Mark Todd responded to reports of gunfire within three minutes. There’s no question that their speedy and heroic response saved lives. But what of the lives lost in those three minutes?
I’m not faulting the response of Fort Hood Police at all. But they can’t be everywhere. Sgt Munley happened to be within three minutes of the SRC. But what if she had been farther away? How many more would have died?
I am outraged that a member of the US Armed Forces would turn a weapon against his fellow soldiers, violating his oath as an officer, and the Soldier’s Creed.
I am even more outraged that members of the US Armed Forces were disarmed on their post, unable to respond to a threat. There is no excuse for Major Hasan, and no excuse for the inability of his victims to defend themselves. What have we come to as a nation that we would disarm the very people who are sworn to protect us from all enemies, foreign and domestic?