I have had many emotions since first hearing of the shootings last Thursday. My heart broke as I read the Facebook status update from a girl I know who recently moved to Fort Hood with her new husband. Immediately I Googled it to find more information.
At first, it was a horrible incident, but no details were known.
Then it came out that the shooter was not only a Major, but a psychiatrist.
The feelings I had at that point were indescribable. Mostly just extreme sadness.
I do not know the tragedy of war first-hand. I do, however, know it second- and third-hand, just as Major Hasan did. With a husband (and several friends) in an Army helping profession, I have seen the toll this can take on a person. And to be a psychiatrist at Walter Reed? That must have been a terribly difficult job. I’m not saying that this in any way justifies what he did. I guess what I am saying is that sometimes the unseen collateral from this war is the mental effect on Soldiers and those around them.
Some other thoughts:
~ To use President Obama’s words, “not speculating” about things we do not know is responsible. The night it happened, I was waiting for the press conference with General Cone to come on, and in that short hour, I was amazed how many things were speculated on. Even with the “of course, this is all speculation” caveat at the end of a long conversation, ideas were planted in peoples’ minds that may or may not be true. Remember this. Why even go there until we know?
~ NOT ALL MUSLIMS WANT TO KILL AMERICANS. In fact, “Muslim” and “American” are not mutually exclusive. Many Muslims ARE Americans. Many Muslims serve in the armed forces proudly. Not all Muslims are terrorists. (For that matter, not all terrorists are Muslims). Was Major Hasan a terrorist? I have absolutely no idea. Unless you want all Christians to be represented by Westboro Baptist Church (who consider the Fort Hood massacre as a judgment by God – the “Christian” God – on sinful America), please do not paint all Muslims with the extremist brush either.
~ Speaking out against the war is not illegal. Many great Soldiers are not in favor of this war and continue to follow orders. Some of the same people who cried out against the “hate crime” bill on the basis of it limiting free speech against homosexuality now seem to want to limit free speech against the government and its actions.
My prayers are with the families directly affected by this tragedy, as well as those indirectly affected. I think in some way the entire Army family has been affected, and I believe we all can feel that. It’s astounding grief.
I write this because I have seen a saddening amount of backlash over the last several days. In the midst of all our grief and fears, let’s not jump to conclusions. Let us not judge others on the basis of speculation. Instead, let’s pray for them. Show love to everyone, regardless of religion or ethnicity. And maybe we’re asking the wrong questions. Let’s start asking what we can do to help Soldiers, what we can do to support those in the military helping professions. That said, there is a lot of help available that people just do not take advantage of. Why is that? Maybe if we can begin to answer these questions, it will make us all better off.