There is so much that is horrible about the shooting at Fort Hood. As a reporter on Morning Edition noted earlier today, the soldiers there have sustained the loss of about 500 of their fellows in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and having this happen to them is an appalling trauma. I cannot imagine how terrible this must be for the victims, their families and friends, and their fellow soldiers.

I do not mean to minimize their suffering by reflecting a bit on how this is going to adversely affect another community. As soon as I read that the gunman's name was Hasan, I could almost hear the American Muslim community groaning. This is certainly not going to help:
In an interview on NBC’s “Today” show, Lt. Gen. Robert W. Cone, a base spokesman, said that some witnesses heard Major Hasan yell “Allahu Akbar” — an Arabic expression for “God is great” — during the shooting.
I can't imagine the immense grief and frustration of the vast majority of Muslims in this country who will now have to fear hostility and reprisal because of the deranged behavior of a broken man. And I hope that our country, in its sorrow, manages to avoid targeting a community that had nothing to do with this unspeakable crime.

Update: A surprisingly nuanced take from Andrew Sullivan here. He tends toward the strident when it comes to this issue, so I'm pleased to see him take a lighter tone.


  1. I was surprised most of all that it was a Major. Normally, in the military non-performing officers get the shove out the door when they are Captains (with full honors, yada yada), at a younger age and then they are out on their own. This was an older guy a few years away from a full pension, and even though he was scheduled to be deployed, it wouldn't have been out in the field.

    It might sound strange, but this kind of reminds me of the Producer who tried to shake down Letterman. Both of these guys obviously have a major screw lose, so they either hid it well for a long time, or just lost all sense.
    They are both inexplicable to me, so when faced with that I simply can't find any "meaning" to either. It is a tragic and meaningless waste of lives by a deranged lunatic.

    Over at Michelle Malkin's nut site she linked to some Conservative who found fault with Obama over this incident (surprise, surprise)

    "I want all of you to know that as Commander in Chief, that there’s no greater honor, but no greater responsibility for me (emphasis his) than to make sure that the extraordinary men and women in uniform are properly cared for…"

    "Poor soul, it’s so saddening to know how this tragedy affects him. Listening to this address provides some insight into Obama’s character and how he ranks his priorities."

    No, I think it an insight into the rancid souls of the idiot who wrote that.

    When Bush talked about (and lamented) the burden of having to sign the letters for the war dead home, of course I could only feel sympathy for him. I always believed his actions were wrong, but well intentioned, and his grief real.


  2. Fallows, on trying to find "meaning":