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November 13, 2009

Three Mass Murders

Roy Meachum

Before history dawned, tribes killed killers for revenge. Has mankind abandoned the “eye for an eye” mentality? We offer three current examples, including Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan.


Instead of the noose or the electric chair, John Allen Muhammad ingested drugs that made him nothing more than a handful of chemicals and bones Tuesday night. He was once the area’s feared sniper that killed without pattern, inducing terror throughout the region. He met execution quickly in the competition among jurisdictions. For reasons never fully explained Virginia won, beating out places like the District and Maryland, and Louisiana.


Muhammad’s life was legally forfeit. At his arrest at an I-70 rest-stop not far from Frederick, it was reported he planned to continue his murderous spree. By the minimum standard that justifies official execution.


The story surfaced also on Tuesday, by coincidence, about the bloody incident that robbed of their lives some 17 Iraqis; the erstwhile Blackwater security forces had randomly mowed them down, capriciously and malevolently. This week the public read and heard about how the company allegedly paid a million dollars in bribes to Baghdad officials to lower their pressure on the government to seek justice. In this case, no one bothered to arrest the shooters; they were granted immunity on the basis they guarded U.S. State Department personnel and real estate. They skated free – although no one doubted their guilt.


Punctuating news column discussions on mass murder this week came the shootings at Fort Hood. Twelve soldiers and one civilian were shot down allegedly by an Army psychiatrist under orders to ship out soon to Afghanistan. As a medical doctor, Nidal Malik Hasan would not be required to slay his fellow Muslims. But most followers of Islam believe the U.S. designated targets in that part of the world are not al-Qaeda, nor the Taliban, but the religion taught – they say “recited” – by Muhammad, the father of Fatimah. American leaders preach otherwise, insisting our armed forces were there to tumble Saddam Hussein and bring to justice Osama bin Laden.


We all saw the Iraq dictator’s gigantic statue smashed and heard the man was put to death; about the Saudi-born terrorist, there has been no word. After having publically been charged to hunt down al-Qaeda’s chief – and failed, the special agency was recently shuttered. Years after Saddam Hussein’s execution, we still have a sizeable force in Iraq. So much for the argument that our real enemy is human, not Islam. If you don’t like that point of view, don’t blame me; it’s held by a majority of Muslims, as reported by the Gallup Poll.


His aunt said that Major Hasan talked about leaving the service; the official record says otherwise. Furthermore Maj. Gen. Gina Farrisee told The Washington Post Monday that “it would take an extraordinary circumstance – such as debilitating illness of the death of a spouse – for an officer with (his) rank and medical training to be allowed to resign before completing his…service obligation.”


Not before but after the Texas massacre, his superiors and colleagues informed the media they suspected the shrink was not stable, that they received the impression he was veering toward a radical Islam. The Federal Bureau of Investigation told of his acts that might have confirmed that fear. Only no one communicated with the other. I am reminded of 9/11 when 3 of the 4 jetliners were seized shortly after taking off from Boston’s Logan Airport. Four months before a local television station ran news specials that demonstrated the airport’s lack of security. The real problem of September 11, 2001, was the total absence of communication. That exactly describes the atmosphere that preceded last week.


But it’s worse in the current example. Major Hasan was a psychiatrist, finishing his residency only in the spring; as part of the medical training his teachers and supervisors were supposed to evaluate his mental health. Instead he was assigned to the very bad cases at Walter Reed, when soldiers broke under the stress of Iraq and Afghanistan. Listening to their horrors day-after-day, month-after-month, could shock a non-Muslim; as the son of Palestinian Islamic immigrants, the Army doctor must have grown up with stories of what was done to their people. And no one flagged him?




For all the cautionary “don’t judge him,” from the Army chief of staff and others, Nidal Malik Hasan has already been convicted in the public mind as a terrorist. If the investigation proves the majority disposition true, we must consider he had a host of accomplices.


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