If you have been anywhere near a source of news during the last few hours, you know that there has been a horrible shooting at Ft. Hood, Texas. Ft. Hood is one of the largest, if not the largest, army bases in the US. Earlier this afternoon, reports started circulating hat two or more camouflage clad men has opened fire on the base and at least seven people had been shot. Then the numbers started going up. The latest, and probably official, count is twelve killed and thirty one wounded. Among the dead is the shooter. Two others, who may have been involved, have been arrested.
My first thought was that this could be the work of an extremist militia. Conspiracies of that type have been broken up in the last few years. Talk radio and people like Michele Bachmann have been getting more inflammatory since Obama was elected. In fact, despite my horror at the act, I hoped that was what it was. If that was the case, it might have the effect of causing some of the talkers (I'm looking at you Glenn Beck) to back off and take some responsibility for their words. Of course, I know that's an improbable hope--no one backed off after the murder of Dr. Leonard Tiller--but most hopes are. Besides, the alternative is much, much worse.
As the news developed, reports started showing up that the shooter (shooters?) was an officer stationed at Ft. Hood. A soldier going postal is both better and worse than the militia scenario. better because it means security on our bases is good enough that armed nuts in fatigues are not getting on base to commit mass murder. Worse because having our own troops snap like that, and possibly recruit others, would be awful even if no one was hurt. The possibility that the military has been stressed out to this degree is more than a single tragedy; it's a frightening warning that the whole system is in trouble.
Then the worst blow came through the news. The shooter has been identified as Army Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan. A Muslim name. This was my greatest fear during the first hours of 9/11. A lone nut of the militia type or a stressed out soldier is horrible, but either case would be something we could deal with somewhat rationally. This is not. The fact that Maj. Hasan was an American born convert from Virginia will not make any difference. Just as after 9/11, we can expect a major uptick in the very worst in the American psyche of the next few weeks. After 9/11, hundreds of hate crimes directed at Muslims were reported. Someone tried to crash a car into a mosque near where I live. Additional attempts on the Mosque were prevented by a group of little old Catholic women conducting a vigil around the building. Three Sikhs were murdered for the crime of looking Muslim. In the next few days, the usual genocidal voices will be calling collective vengeance to waged against all Muslims everywhere. Michelle Malkin will go nuts and FoxNews will give her a national platform. A few opportunistic politicians will demand investigations and someone, previously considered sane, will talk about kicking Muslim-Americans out of the military services. Naturally, they will find some way to blame Obama, Democrats, liberals, and Obama even more.
It's going to be ugly.