Search This Blog

Friday, November 6, 2009

Major Nidal Malik Hasan

I was watching CNN yesterday as the story of the Fort Hood shooting unfolded. It was interesting how as soon as the name of the shooter was revealed how the direction of speculation changed. It made me wonder if his name was John Smith if people would immediately speculate that the guy might be a white supremacist. I have to admit that I had the same knee-jerk terrorism reaction when I heard the name. Homeland Security is seeping into my head!!! What do you think? Is it justified to speculate Hassan has ties to terrorists? --TAK


  1. I think that we have been indoctrinate to think that all Arabs are Muslims and all Muslims are terrorists.
    I believe that there is a connection between Islam and terrorism, (given my understanding of the doctrine of Jihad), but to say all Muslims interpret Jihad in an extremist way is like saying that all Atheists, in believing evolution and that there is no god, are going to try to eliminate the "weakest" in the style of the Holocaust or the Columbine massacre.

    I have Indonesian Muslims in my extended family. (My mother is an Indonesian Chinese)
    I like it how in Australia, the media doesn't demonise Indonesians, despite the Bali bombings.

    I'm not sure where I read it, but I have read that MI5 is more worried about converts to Islam because converts (i.e. ethnic Briton Muslims) are more likely to take an extremist interpretation than people born as Muslims (or any other religion).

  2. We can't (nor should we try to) stop that kind of speculation. One of the hallmarks of human intelligence is that we are good at recognizing patterns.
    If there's a shootout between blacks in the inner city, we speculate that gangs are involved - because experience has shown they usually are. When police where I grew up (in the Cleveland Ohio area in the 60s/70s) refused to investigate a crime we speculated the perp had mob ties - because they usually did.

    So when a Muslim shoots up an Army base OF COURSE we speculate about terrorist ties. It would be foolish not to.

    The key is to find out the facts before jumping to firm conclusions. From the facts so far available in this case Major Hasan certainly showed he was sympathetic to the Jihadist cause. It's too early to tell whether there was more than that.

  3. After hearing the entire story, I think that he probably snapped. He wanted out of the military and wasn't doing that great of a job there. Instead of him leaving, he got promoted to Major. He probably didn't want to fight against other Muslims, his spiritual brethren. Also, he gave away all of his worldly possessions so it seems to me that he either wanted to be lethally stopped or planned to kill himself. Basically, I think he had some mental problems and somehow believed that killing a bunch of his fellow soldiers would somehow be good.

  4. Kim531 > I think he had some mental problems and Kim531 > somehow believed that killing a bunch of Kim531 > his fellow soldiers would somehow be good.

    But *why* would he believe that? Could it be the Islamic fundamentalists he was in contact with? The contacts are proven. His public statements express sympathy for Jihad.
    Was he part of an organized jihadist group? Probably not. But his actions are right out of their playbook. He was trying to become a martyr.
    Since he failed at that, I'm sure more information will continue to come to light.

    The dismaying thing is that all the signs were there well beforehand and nobody connected the dots in time to prevent this. THAT'S where being afraid to speculate because it might cause a backlash gets you. People were afraid of getting in trouble for passing on the clues to those who could have put them together. The attitude of "better to not get involved - you might be accused of bigotry" helped lead to this.