Thursday, April 3, 2014

Distinctions


For John, BLUFIf you can't bin things properly you will always be confused.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



At The International Herald Tribune we have an article by Dave Montgomery, Manny Fernandez and Ashley Southall on the news from Fort Hood, Texas, titled "Iraq Veteran at Fort Hood Kills 3 and Himself in Rampage".

Surely a tragedy.  I can understand how it would bring to mind the actions of Major Nidal Malik Hasan, wherein Major Hasan murdered 13 and wounded an addition 30 at Fort Hood, back on 5 November 2009.

What I don't understand is how people can easily elide these two events into one about gun violence in the United States.  Notwithstanding the way US Department of Justice characterized the 2009 shooting, it was a terrorist event.  Yesterday's was not.  Trying to make the two the same only distorts our understanding of what the world is like and how we fit into it.

Examples?  Amy Goodman on Democracy Now, just now.  President Obama on a video clip on the news.

From the article we have the name of the most recent suspected shooter, Army Specialist Ivan Lopez, an Iraqi veteran.

A soldier who was being evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder opened fire at Fort Hood on Wednesday, killing three people and wounding 16 before killing himself, the authorities said. The shooting set off a huge police response and shut down the sprawling Army base, the same facility where a deadly rampage by an officer resulted in 13 deaths in 2009.

Fort Hood’s commanding general said the gunman, an Army specialist who had served in Iraq and was being treated for behavioral and mental health issues, had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The commander, Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, told reporters that the soldier’s motive remained unclear, but that the shooting did not appear to be related to terrorism.

If we are willing to say that Major Hasan was emotionally disturbed, then I would say he did not perpetrate terrorism, but then the death penalty would be inappropriate.  On the other hand, dealing with people's political views as mental illness is a very dangerous and slippery slope.  I am against it.

We need distinctions here.  A disturbed soldier and a terrorist who burrowed into the system.

Regards  —  Cliff

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