Apparently the man responsible for the gun rampage at Fort Hood yesterday acted alone. He was not killed, but wounded and captured. He was a career military man in the army medical corps working as a psychiatrist with many years experience working at Walter Reed in Bethesda. He was born and raised in Roanoake, Virginia, the son of Palestinian immigrants from a small town near Jerusalem. He joined the military against his parents' wishes. The accused gunman is a Muslim. Both of his parents died separately almost 10 years ago, and he became more religious after their deaths. Accounts say he was desperate to avoid deployment to Iraq. There are some accounts that say he was harassed in the military for being Muslim (maybe, but there are still a lot of Muslims in the military and have been for years; some of the veterans I've taught were Muslims from West Africa and the Middle East).
To me, this is beginning to look like yet another random gun rampage. But, since the accused gunman was a Muslim and a Palestinian (though an American by birth), and this took place on an army base, I'm sure the speculative mills are grinding away furiously. One media "expert" has already declared this to be the work of Al Qaida. I suspect Texas Muslims are bunkering down yet again. It is a very bad trait of human nature to draw very general conclusions from very particular events, and I'm sure there are lots of people right now doing just that. There will be the usual solemn discussions by Very Serious People on Muslims as potential security risks in the military. What will probably emerge is the story of an already unbalanced man who went berserk. Military or not, this man should probably never have been carrying a gun, or had access to one.
Meanwhile, there are the families and friends of 12 people who now suddenly find themselves unexpectedly bereaved. There are over 30 people injured and facing a long process of recovery. Perhaps there is where our attention and energies should be focused.
Onward with each one of us being responsible for our own actions and our own gifts to share freely.
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