I found out about what happened yesterday at Fort Hood on Twitter. I couldn’t access streaming video, so all I had for up to the minute news was the constant stream on Twitter.
For everyone who passed on the relevant news, to include the requests for blood donations, thank you.
Fort Hood is my home. When I first followed my then boyfriend (now DH) to Fort Hood almost eleven years ago, I was terrified. They’d just had a female gang leader arrested and court martialed. This was where I was going from my safe little base in Germany? This was where I was going to call home?
I found a small apartment outside the gate in Copperas Cove and got to know somewhere in the states other than my home in small town central Maine. When a neighbor was shot a couple of buildings over in my apartment complex, first I was scared. This kind of thing didn’t happen in Maine. Or in Germany. But when we realized that the woman was shot by a man she was involved with, it seemed less random and I moved on, without living in fear.
There are simple facts that most people who live at Fort Hood pay attention to. Don’t live on Rancier. Stay away from certain clubs. Don’t go down Rancier after dark.
But acts like what occurred yesterday bring an element of randomness into our lives once again. The shooting at Luby’s in Killeen in the 90s was an act of randomness. The killings by Hasan (I will not call him by his rank) are a randomness.
What I mean by the randomness is that we can’t stop everyone. There were warning signs. Perhaps. Perhaps not. I truly believe our commanders make the best decisions they can with the information they have. Maybe mistakes were made and Hasan never should have been made to deploy. Maybe he should have been identified. I don’t know and I will not speculate as to the information that his commanders had available. But I do know that if we let everyone who does not wish to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan NOT deploy, we would not be able to do our mission. I would not be here if I had a choice, but it’s my turn to be here, so that someone else gets to spend time with their families. This is what I signed up for, it is my responsibility and my duty.
We cannot live in fear that all Muslim soldiers will turn into a Hasan or an Akbar and turn on their fellow soldiers. We can listen, and watch and we can know what to do when bad things happen. The soldiers at the SRC reacted to the wounds immediately. More people might have died had they not reacted according to their training and immediately taken action to stop the bleeding. The first responders took him down.
The key to the resolution of the tragedy is training. Our soldiers were trained on how to deal with treating wounds in combat. They were trained on how to take out a shooter and control a crowd and secure a site. Our soldiers did this because they were trained.
We cannot stop a terrorist who is determined to blow himself up. We can, however, control how react to these situations when they occur. We cannot give up our freedoms because someone wishes to do us harm. We can plan, prepare and execute the mission when it happens.
What I’m getting at is last night on Twitter, while I was learning all I could and trying to responsibly retweet information and facts, I saw a lot of knee jerk reaction (some of which really pissed me off but that’s another post). Gun control came up immediately. So did base security. So did the fact that Hasan is a Muslim. These are the kind of reactions that are to be expected. But let’s take them for what they are and move forward. All Muslims are not terrorists. All gun owners are not going to walk into a place and start shooting. The base security is what it is and oh by the way, he did what thousands of us do every day when we go to work. We flash a badge and go on base. Searching ever car is not only impractical, it doesn’t make sense.
As we move forward, we must learn from this tragedy. Let’s focus on what went right: our soldiers reactions to what was essentially a combat situation. Let’s learn from what could be done better in the future.
But let’s not overreact and talk about taking away all guns or doing extra screenings on Muslims or whoever commits this week’s act of random violence.
Bad things will happen. The question is not how to stop them (though we should take actions where we can), but how to react to them. Because being prepared to react will minimize the casualties and will help us maintain the free society that makes us great.
My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims. If you have not already done so, please donate blood, wherever you are in the world, because someone always needs it.