David Sessions at Politics Daily:
The U.S Army has confirmed that 12 people have been killed and at least 30 injured in a shooting at Fort Hood, a military base near Killeen, Texas. One of the dead is a police officer, NBC reports, who was killed when a gunman opened fire on a SWAT team. Reports say that one gunman is in custody and at least one other is on the loose. The gunmen were wearing military uniforms.
Fort Hood, home to nearly 50,000 active and enlisted service members, is currently on lockdown.
Follow the story at AOL News for the latest.
No word yet on motive, but the fact that at least three gunmen are involved already has Shuster and Miklaszewski mentioning similarities to the Fort Dix Six plot on MSNBC. Seven dead, 12 wounded so far. Supposedly two of the gunmen are still at large and one has fired shots at the SWAT team on the scene.
Update: Hmmmm: “A senior administration official told NBC News analyst Roger Cressey that the suspect who was in custody was an Army major with an Arabic-sounding name. The official said the shootings could have been a criminal matter rather than a terrorism-related attack and that there was no intelligence to suggest a plot against Fort Hood.”
Update: The suspect’s name, via ABC: Major Malik Nadal Hasan.
The suspected gunman was identified as Major Malik Nadal Hasan. He was killed and two other suspects have been apprehended, Lt. Robert W. Cone said.
The gunman used two handguns, Cone said. He wasn’t sure if the shooter reloaded the weapons during the attack.
The general called the attack “a terrible tragedy, stunning.” He said the community was “absolutely devastated.”
According to Brian Ross at ABC, Hasan was a convert to Islam.
Gregg Levine at Firedoglake:
UPDATE 4: KCEN TV reports that 500 soldiers are sweeping across Fort Hood. Killeen police are also surrounding the base. Fort Hood officials expected to brief the press shortly. TX Gov. Perry has scheduled a press conference for 5pm EST (not sure if that is EST or TX time).
Local TV reports that two suspects are now in custody (but, honestly, I am not sure how they are confirming that).
UPDATE 5: NBC’s Pete WIlliams is reporting that the one shooter confirmed apprehended was an “officer” on base. CNN is reporting 9 dead.
UPDATE 6: Olga Peña (Killeen Daily Herald) is reporting that shooter in custody is a 40 year old male. MSNBC refers to him as an “Army Major.”
UPDATE 7: Army spokesman confirms 12 dead. All casualties took place during the initial shooting at the Soldier Readiness facility. All were US military personnel. The one confirmed shooter was shot and killed by military personnel on the scene. Two other suspects in custody. One police officer also now reported dead, according to Army spokesman.
UPDATE 8: President Barack Obama expressed his sympathies during a pre-scheduled appearance at the Tribal Nations Conference.
Jonah Goldberg at The Corner:
There’s no reason to get ahead of the story. But CNN is saying the two men in custody are “suspects” and “under arrest.” The shooter, Maj. Malik Hasan Nadal, was killed. The two men are also members of the military.
UPDATE: Rick Moran
The rationalizations for Major Hasan’s rampage – his motives, his state of mind, even the environment in which he carried out his horrific attack – are being tossed about the blogosphere on both sides as if everything that can be known about the circumstances has already been revealed.
This must be the case because without any definitive word from authorities, from his friends and associates, or from Hasan himself, both lefty and righty blogs have already “solved” the mystery of motive and any argument to the contrary is “racist,” or “pro-jihad,” or “hate speech,” or “political correctness.” By far the most bizarre explanation for Hasan’s killing spree is that it was the result of some kind of weird Post Traumatic Stress Disorder transference where the good doctor heard so many horrible tales of what happened in Iraq that he cracked.
News flash: Everyone can’t be right. In fact, it is likely everyone is wrong. Was it an example of Muslim extremist terrorism? Or a reaction to bullying and name calling by brother officers? Or the prospect of being deployed to Iraq? A combination? None of the above?
I am making the same argument I made when six police officers were gunned down in Pittsburgh – the result, we were told, of the maniac listening to conservative talk radio and reading conservative literature. Trying to glean motive when a madman acts insanely is an exercise in futility. This is especially true when you pull such theories out of your ass because no investigation had been made at that point into the shooter’s motives.
Brainwashing and indoctrination are a separate issue. In this case, we know he attended a wahabbist mosque headed up by a radical imam. But regardless of the personal views of the imam, there apparently wasn’t a terrorist cell operating out of the mosque, nor are we aware that the imam preached jihad. Even if he did, there is absolutely no evidence that the kind of “immersion” necessary to brainwash an individual into committing suicide attacks was available to Hasan at his place of worship.
Needless to say, we are unaware of any other members of that mosque going on a shooting rampage anywhere in the US.
I am going to be accused of being in “denial” about this incident being a terrorist attack. I would rather be accused of waiting until the facts are in before making a judgment like that. I will also be accused of ignoring “Islamaphobia” and the terrorizing prospect of Hasan being sent to Iraq. I am not ignoring anything. Well…almost anything. Anyone who accuses me of ignoring “PTSD transference” as a motive is a loon. Not only because no one has ever heard of it but for the simple reason that only a psychological evaluation – not done yet – could uncover such a reason.
If it were easy to draw a direct line between Islamic faith and yesterday’s massacre, wouldn’t you expect the 3,000 or so Muslims in the U.S. Armed Forces to be doing this sort of thing more often? Wouldn’t you expect to see more of it in America than we do? I think decent, fair-minded Americans have to sympathize with Reihan’s concerns, and to resist drawing firm conclusions based on overgeneralizations that don’t fit the evidence.
On the other hand, it is also wrong to pretend that the Muslim religion had nothing to do with this massacre, that it is mere happenstance that this mass murderer’s crime was incidental to his Islamic faith. The US is in a war against Islamist terrorism. What Hasan did yesterday, on the evidence, was an act of Islamist terror. Period. When a devout Christian commits an act of violence against an abortion clinic, and does so pretty clearly in the name of his religion, it would be an act of stupidity, and possibly moral cowardice, to declare an investigation of his religious motive off-limits. And, in fact, we don’t do that, even as we are, or ought to be, aware that the overwhelming majority of Christians neither commit nor endorse such acts. Similarly, it is right and proper to have a critical discussion of the role Hasan’s religion played in this evil act, if only so we can identify Muslims like him in the future before they’re tempted to act on their convictions.
I agree with Rick Moran to some extent that casting this as an example of a pending wave of Islamic jihad in the US is just a wee bit premature, as well as a pending wave of fraggings over US war policy, etc etc etc. Hasan appears to be a lunatic whose motivations — at least as far as we know at this point — are entirely his own delusions. We shouldn’t be afraid to report the facts, but we should be wary about drawing wide-reaching conclusions from them until we have a lot more certainty.
Victor Davis Hanson at The Corner:
In reaction officials and news people often opt for therapeutic exegeses — stress, often of the post-traumatic sort, ill-feeling and bias shown Muslims, family problems, or brainwashing by nefarious outside actors — to explain the cold-blooded nature of the murdering. (I am watching on the news a family member eagerly explain past prejudice shown the killer and, despite his adept handling of firearms to shoot over 40 people, the murderer’s being ill-at-ease with firearms.)
Far more rarely do they ever suggest that the Islamist notion abroad that America is to blame for mostly self-induced pathologies in the Islamic world mostly goes unquestioned here at home — and as a result filters down to the lone angry and violent here as the belief that there is some sort of cosmic justification that can amplify their own outrage at a sense of personal failure or setback.
If it is shown that the present killer openly in the past expressed sympathies for or tolerance of Islamist violence abroad, one would have expected, in the current climate of fear of being seen as illiberal or judgmental, little repercussions or formal preemptory action to preclude the possibility of future violence.
In other words, the narrative after 9/11 largely remains that Americans have given in to illegitimate “fear and mistrust” of Muslims in general. A saner approach would be to acknowledge that there is a small minority of Muslims who channel generic Islamist fantasies, so that we can assume that either formal terrorist plots or individual acts of murder will more or less occur here every three to six months.
John Nichols at The Nation:
It should be understood that to assume a follower of Islam who engages in violence is a jihadist is every bit as absurd as to assume that a follower of Christianity who attacks others is a crusader. The calculus makes no sense, and it is rooted in a bigotry that everyone from George W. Bush to Pope Benedict XVI has condemned.
But that did not stop right-wing web sites from responding to the release of the suspect’s name — and no other details — with incendiary speculation about a “Jihad at Fort Hood?” and a “Terrorist Incident in Texas.”
Fox News host Shepard Smith asked Senator Hutchison on air: “The name tells us a lot, does it not, senator?”
Hutchinson’s response? “It does. It does, Shepard.”
With those words, the senator leapt from making assumptions about one man to making assumptions about a whole religion.
What could Hutchinson have said that might have been more responsible response?
She could have emphasized that the investigation of the shooting spree has barely begun.
She might also have noted that thousands of Muslims serve honorably, indeed heroically, in the U.S. military; that American Muslim soldiers have died In Iraq and been buried at Arlington Cemetery; that some of the first condemnations of the slayings at Fort Hood came from Muslim veterans such as Robert Salaam.
“I’m sad for those killed and wounded by a traitor to both God and our country, and I regret that I even feel that I have to write something on the subject. Words cannot express my emotions and the instant headache I received when notified by my dear sister Sheila Musaji over at The American Muslim (TAM) concerning the alleged culprit,” wrote Salaam, who served in the Marine Corps, within minutes after learning the gunman’s name. “They have not yet released further details such as the motive but I will state for the record that no true Muslim could ever commit such a crime against humanity. As Muslims we are reminded that to take one innocent life is as if one killed all of mankind. Muslims are also commanded to keep their oaths when given.”
David Frum with some pictures
UPDATE: Robert Wright in the NYT
UPDATE #2: Christopher Hitchens in Slate
UPDATE #3: Robert Wright and Christopher Hitchens at Bloggingheads