2019 Nov 1, 9:30am
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On November 5, 2009, at Ford Hood, Texas, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, began gunning down unarmed U.S. soldiers, including Francheska Velez, a 21-year-old private from Chicago who pleaded for the life of her baby. Hasan shot her in the chest and her unborn child perished with the mother. The Muslim major, a self-described “soldier of Allah” yelling “Allahu akbar” as he fired, killed two other women that day along with 10 men—more than twice as many victims as the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. The Fort Hood massacre was also the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001, but that was not how President Obama described it. In his mind, the Fort Hood mass murder was not terrorism or even gun violence. For the President of the United States, it was “workplace violence,” an absurdity for the ages that rendered Hasan’s victims ineligible for the medical treatment and medals they deserved. Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford, who took seven bullets, sought just 10 minutes to tell President Obama how the government mistreated the Fort Hood victims but the White House declined his request. In March 2010, the president urged Congress to hold off on any investigation of the Fort Hood “terrible tragedy” and even referred to “the alleged gunman.” Two years later, it emerged that the attack could have been prevented. As a 2012 congressional hearing revealed, Hasan openly communicated with terrorist mastermind Anwar al-Awlaki, telling him in an email “Please keep me in your Rolodex in case you find me useful, and please feel free to call me collect.” Under FBI Director Robert Mueller “the case was dropped until November 5, when the media began circulating reports of the massacre.” In 2013, Hasan faced trial for 13 counts of premeditated murder, 32 counts of attempted murder, and was sentenced to death. The soldier of Allah showed no remorse and at Leavenworth became an enthusiastic supporter of the Islamic State, which President Obama called a “JV team.” That president did not carry out the death sentence on Nidal Hasan. Neither has the current president, Donald Trump. But conditions are now favorable.
The rare military death sentence came nearly four years after the attack that stunned even an Army hardened by more than a decade of constant war. Hasan walked into a medical building at the Texas base where soldiers were getting medical checkups, shouted "Allahu akbar" - Arabic for "God is great!" - and opened fire with a laser-sighted handgun.Thirteen people were killed.Hasan, who said he acted to protect Islamic insurgents abroad from American aggression, had no visible reaction when the sentence was announced, staring first at the jury forewoman and then at the judge. Some victims' relatives were in the courtroom but none showed any reaction, which the judge had warned against.The American-born Muslim of Palestinian descent acted as his own attorney and never denied his actions at the huge Texas Army post. In opening statements, he told jurors that evidence would show he was the shooter and described himself as a soldier who had "switched sides."The same jurors who convicted Hasan last week deliberated the sentence for about two hours. They needed to agree unanimously on the death penalty. The only alternative was life in prison without parole.Kathy Platoni, an Army reservist who still struggles with images of Capt. John Gaffaney bleeding to death at her feet, said she was not opposed to the punishment.
On a side note: having soldiers disarmed inside military bases is fucking stupid. Sidearms should be allowed everywhere.