Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ft. Hood Shooting Rampage Reviewed

It's been over a week since I returned from Ft. Hood. That's right I was at Ft. Hood a week ago Thursday when Nidal Hasan decided to go on a shooting rampage against his fellow soldiers. It's taken me this long to process things and decide to write them up.

A group of us were finishing up a meeting when all the cell phones of the local folks started ringing. That was the first indication that something was happening. Shortly thereafter we got word that there had been a shooting on base and that the base was in lock-down. We spent the next five plus hours locked in the building not really knowing what was happening.

Information was in short supply most of that afternoon. Indications were that there were multiple shooters, that one was dead, that one or two were in custody, and that one or two were still at large. Multiple shooting locations were mentioned. Early on it was even said that there was a possible sniper. All the while the tally of dead and wounded went up, and those of us locked in continued in tension and uncertainty.

We tried to get some work done to wrap up from our meetings that week. It was not very productive due to the nervousness of not knowing what was happening. The cell phone networks were overloaded. Text messaging worked and some of us could hit the Web from our phones, but we did not have a computer network connection, TV or radio for information. And frankly there was not much information out there to be had. I did get a message or two off to my wife letting her know that I was OK, but it was early evening before any cell phone calls would start going though and I was able to talk to her.

By early evening we had learned the name of the thought-to-be-primary shooter. It was quite a shock that it was of their own. We also had final tallies of the dead and wounded, that too was a shock.

At 7:15pm local time lock-down was lifted. Next was the trial of getting off-base with many thousands of other people trying to do the same thing at the same time. It took us over 2 hours. After that was a quick stop for something to eat and a 90 minute drive Austin. All-in-all a very long, tiring day.

Looking back it was fortunate that we were as far from the shooting location as we were, about two and half miles. And as far as I know none of the people killed or wounded were connected to the people that were were meeting with. Still it was not a fun experience and actually there was quite e bit of nervousness and tension from not knowing what was happening.

Regarding the shooter IMNSHO he is the worst of mass murderers. He needs to be tried, convicted, sentenced to death and have his sentence carried out in a prompt manner. I also think the Army, and the probably the rest of the military, needs to re-examine their attitudes and practices related to Muslim service members. I'm not saying that they should receive extra scrutiny, but quite clearly signs were missed because of hyper-concerns about appearances of religious persecution. If someone is not performing, or showing signs of agitation and concern, that needs to be dealt with directly and not skirted because of the person's religion.

Furthermore, people should be allowed to carry guns for personal protection on military bases. There were hundreds of trained people in close proximity who could have made short work of Nidal Hasan and potentially saved the health and lives of some of their fellow soldiers if they were allowed to carry on base. Sadly this is yet another example demonstrating that victim disarmament zones do not work.

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