Friday, November 6, 2009

The Fort Hood, Texas massacre

Horror at the home of Armor
By Mike Marcellino

They’re calling it the Fort Hood massacre.  It is the greatest mass killing on a U. S. military base in America’s history.  Fort Hood, Texas, about an hour north of Austin, is the home of the Army’s armor.  The morning after the massacre doctors, friends and families of the soldiers who were on their way back to the Middle East wars wonder if their wounded loves ones will survive, survive to fight again in a war with no end in sight. 

The morning after the Fort Hood massacre the roles of Americans suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder lengthens after the mind of a Muslim American Army psychiatrist, blew up, allegedly putting his index finger on the trigger of a semi automatic handgun spraying bullets into his military brothers, some patients, leaving death and jagged injury in his wake.

It’s the morning after mayhem; also the day millions of New Yorkers bury their beloved Yankees with paper in another ticker tape parade to celebrate another World Series victory.  Oh, if we could only settle the world’s differences on a diamond field of dirt and grass with gloves, baseballs and bats.

The morning after the Fort Hood massacre, President Obama called the score at Fort Hood “horrific.”

At the end of an afternoon of a life and death game, the score read:

Nidal M. Hasan - 13 dead, 30 wounded 

America - 0

Witnesses heard the U. S. Army psychiatrist shout, “God is great” in Arabic, as he allegedly sprayed bullets into his fellow soldiers in a Fort Hood center getting ready to deploy to the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq from America’s biggest military base, the home of our armor. 

Americans left reeling, shattered, their protectors ripped apart.

After a hail of bullets, Hasan was stopped by well aimed shots from a female cop.

The first of the dead identified as 21 year old Army private first class from Bolingbrook, Illinois, outside of Chicago. And his mother’s tears flow just after 11 this morning in sorrow and grief defying description.

Our nation did score big on the field of unemployment, spikes to 10.2 percent today, the worst in a quarter century, but the CNN wire does tell us the number of Americans on the street without work.  They call it the “nation’s longest and deepest downturn since The Great Depression, coming to be known as “The Great Recession” least we scare ourselves thinking we’re in a depression.

All is well on Wall Street, however, as Even Newmark reports today in his “Mean Street” column in The Wall Street Journal:

“Now, you may recall that I’m pretty skeptical of any stock market predictions, including my own. But you may also recall that in July as the S&P500 index traded around 900, I predicted the index would close the year between 1150 and 1200.  And so far, we’re more than halfway there. The S&P 500 closed yesterday at 1066 — the year of the Battle of Hastings, for all you day-trading English history buffs.”

Oh, well, someone’s still making money.

It took a little Google digging but here it is, the actually number – “Over the past two years, the number of unemployed has jumped by 8.4 million to 15.7 million,” according to the “One Ugly Jobs Report” story in the Seeking Alpha a Internet site.

In the shooter’s brief biography, The Washington Post reported Major Hasan“attended the Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring and is devout, according to Faizul Khan, former imam at the center. He attended prayers at least once a day, seven days a week, often in his Army fatigues, Khan said.

The Army psychiatrist treated soldiers suffering from what experts discovered once again, with great pain, from the invisible wounds of war, creating identification, “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” 

Nearly a century and a half ago, when in America brothers fought and killed brothers, Union and Confederates were said to have “a soldiers’ heart,” much kinder words then than being called a coward, a stain that to this day remains. 

As proof, I found an article on the Civil War Forum Internet site dated, June 16, 2009, oddly I found the day of the birth of this U. S. Army Vietnam War veteran.

In a discussion of the history of PTSD, a reporter asked Secretary of Defense Robert Gates whether the military would consider awarding combat soldiers mentally wounded. 

And yesterday, today and for some time, thousand of American civilians will pick up a bit of delayed stress from being glued on their TVs, laptops, I Phones and PCs watching the aftermath of the massacre at Fort Hood.

Then CNN broke into their news with a live address by President Obama, our Commander in Chief.  After a moment of reflection about the Army armor massacre at Fort Hood, what he called one of the worst mass killings in the history of America’s military, the President went on to talk about the sick state of the economy, and expanding unemployment rates and home mortgage benefits.

It’s nearly noon now, the day after the Army armor massacre, but already it appears America’s back to business as usual after a deadly interlude the President called “horrific.”

Early news reports today say the devout Muslim major didn’t want to go to Iraq to fight his forefathers. 

“Well Hasan, all I can say now is you aren’t alone. 

I know a lot of soldiers that don’t want to go leave their jobs, families, loved ones, either.  Go off again and again to war, maybe die or return home maimed.

I do know those who survive will never be the same. 

And I ask myself, ‘Where is the end of this gruesome, chaotic game?’”

And, as I tire of writing this depressing story, I wonder whether after one o’clock this morning I heard a report on CNN that Hasan is the son of Palestinians who fled war in their homeland to live peacefully in Jordan

I do find it interesting that the American born alleged mass killer grew up in Arlington, Virginia in the shadow of our nation’s national cemetery -

And in my mind I could see seas of white crosses on those rolling green slopes, a fusion of beauty and sadness, to mark the final resting place of our brave soldiers.  Just after noon now, after red Thursday, I remember my brothers, those living and dead from another war. 

Horror at the home of Armor by Mike Marcellino copyright 2009