The Devil Within

By now, the story of the Fort Hood, Texas, massacre is old news, but the idea of security, whether at an Army post or corporate headquarters, is still headline worthy.

Although I haven't been on a military installation for about 20 years, I remember that security was tight. Those on the base or post were meant to be there, had a reason to be there and weren't people that security was concerned with.

Of course, in the case at Fort Hood, Texas, the devil was within.

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan probably wasn't part of a terrorist sleeper-cell, but recent reports have indicated an allegiance between him and a fiery anti-American cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, based in Yemen. This mass murder isn't about the fact that Hasan is Muslim. What this is all about is national security, or homeland security.

It seems to me is that Hasan wanted to disrupt security in his own homeland. The initial reports make me think he fits the mass-murder profile to a T. To solve his tale of woe, he bought guns—in fact, two pistols—one equipped with a laser sight, which he used to gun down soldiers.

It's doubtful that he is a highly trained jihadist because he didn't choose to blend in. There were, however, red flags everywhere. Hasan was open and vocal about his radical Islamic beliefs. He even tried to convert other doctors and patients. He was aggressive and argumentative, and there were complaints about his erratic behavior. He complained tirelessly about being in the Army and for being deployed to the Middle East. I'm not sure what his vision of the Army might have been, though he joined right out of high school, saying he wanted to give back to his country. The military is, first and foremost, a national security element that will, when called to do so, protect our liberties and freedoms.

The theory that Hasan went nuts over the threat of a deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan, which would so traumatize him, is simply a phantom thought. The truth is, soldiers, sailors and airmen don't want to go to war. They are the first people who want peace in the world because when the fighting gets deadly, it's their lives on the line.

The alleged assassin was born and raised in the United States. All he has ever known is liberty and freedom. To suggest, as some have, that he snapped because he'd taken a bit of ribbing by other military members because he is Muslim is an insult to anyone who has suffered some amount of trauma. No one goes through life without getting beat up a little bit. The theories of deployment and taking one on the chin because of religion are baloney.

Hasan served the military as a psychiatrist, helping soldiers who were returning from the battle fronts, so he hasn't been exempt from the pains of war. He didn't socialize much and seemed to view himself as a victim and an outsider. He openly complained about his job and had received poor performance ratings. He probably shouldn't have been counseling soldiers suffering from actual combat trauma.

The one thing Hasan didn't care about was security. It seems he was hell-bent on causing harm to others. The security at the front gate of Fort Hood was, by all indications, as strict as it should have been. After all, Hasan was a major in the Army who had open and complete access to the post. He had legally purchased weapons.

Hasan knew he could enter the post without being challenged. He knew he could enter the Soldiers Readiness Processing Center without even a glance, and he knew that when he arrived there, he would be the only person with a weapon, which he fully expected to use. He knew exactly where the soft spots of security were, and he exploited them.

Officials, the FBI, the Texas Rangers and the Army CID believe he was the only gunman involved. He had no appointments, orders or any other legitimate reason to be at the readiness center.

Political correctness has no place in this investigation when officers and supervisors could have taken preemptive steps when Hasan began to show signs of sympathy and support for the enemy. Tolerance is no virtue in providing a safe haven for people such as Hasan. Nor should the fear of religious beliefs stand in the way of investigating warning signs.

Hasan has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder. So before we jump to any conclusion about what fueled his actions, whether they were politically motivated or an attempt at some religious jihad, there is one fact conclusion that already can be drawn: The devil was within.

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