The story about the Army psychiatrist shooting up the graduation ceremony at Fort Hood yesterday hurts on so many levels. We have the families of the ones who lost their lives. It's heartbreaking to see the footage of the spouses unable to reach their loved ones on the base because of the lockdown. The images will spill before our eyes repeatedly until the story loses its luster of newness.
It hurts that the good people of Fort Hood face deployment to one of two wars the US had no business starting in the first place. They're mostly kids, aren't they? Just kids lured by promises of financial aid and adventure and job skills that don't translate that well to the civilian world.
Once again, we have the unbalanced person expressing his pain through an incomprehensible act of violence. How did he fall through the cracks, especially when the signals (giving away most of his possessions, and comments made during a presentation that had nothing to do with the assigned topic, for example) were as loud and clear as the sirens and PA announcements of his actions rang through the base?
Making matters worse, the alleged gunman is Moslem. The communities prepare for the backlash. He did no one any favors by choosing this method to protest his upcoming deployment, least of all his brothers and sisters around the world.
"Islamic terrorist." "Moslem terrorist." To some, the modifier and the object are melded into one longer word. Luckily, others realize that the violence has nothing to do with the religion. The conflicts and customs in the Middle East have much more to do with tribal politics than with the actual religion, not unlike how verses from the Bible were and in some instances still are to justify subjugation of women, slavery, and child abuse.
Terrorism's logic dictates that the perceived enemy can be coerced into accepting their viewpoint by inciting fear of the consequences. Why, then, have those who have harassed women seeking health care services at Planned Parenthood clinics or shooting doctors who believe in the basic right to choose not been called "right-wing fundamentalist terrorists?" What about participants in the Spanish Inquisition? How about Adolf Hitler and his buddies? Or the kids who, like yesterday's alleged shooter, have some switch break in their brains and make them think it's fine and dandy to shoot up an entire school because of popular cronies snubbing them.
Let's not forget Timothy McVeigh, a disgruntled Gulf War veteran who somehow thought the government was the cause of all his troubles? Some fifteen years ago, he parked a literal truckload of explosives in front of a federal office building. When it exploded, it took out the intended target and a day care center. I don't recall him being called a "terrorist"
with any modifiers attached.
If we step back an objectively look at world history, every culture is guilty of violence against another, or within its own boundaries. Every culture also has members who are disturbed enough to think it's a viable solution. We may not be able to stop things on a global scale, but could we individually take stands by being part of the solution?