And Cain slew Abel
Buy me a flute
And a gun that shoots
Tailgates and substitutes
To the tree with roots
You ain’t going nowhere Dylan, Bob, “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”
Major Malik Nadal Hassan, the now deceased slayer of a dozen and shooter of thirty or more (the numbers keep changing ) was, in the words of a right wing blog headline I just saw ,“Probably not Amish”. He was apparently a mental health professional who, in the words of one unnamed source, had been despondent about being redeployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. He decided to express that concern by shooting of a couple of hand guns in a movie theatre area in Ft. Hood, Texas a couple of hours ago. Ft. Hood, one of the largest military based in the world is right down the road from here. It is named after a rather inept Confederate General who, none the less was a hero in these parts during the war between the states. “The Gallant Hood of Texas, played hell in Tennessee” was an alternate verse during that war to the Texas anthem “The Yellow Rose of Texas” That song was written about a beautiful mulatto woman who happened to be “entertaining” General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana at the time the Texians started their charge at the battle of San Jacinto, the final battle of the Texas revolution.
The human species is simply violent. If not all of us, at least a subset of us. Whether we are Moslem or Amish, Yankee or Rebel, Mexican or Texan does not matter. Buy one of us a “gun that shots” and you always have the chance of a massacre. The Ft Hood area seems particularly prone to that kind of event, back in 1991 they were subjected to the great Luby’s shootout at a local cafeteria.
Now anyone who reads this blog knows that I am no particular fan of the Second Amendment, but even I never advocated the removal of guns from Army bases. There is a time and a place for guns, and Ft Hood, Texas during a period of time when we are fighting two wars seems particularly suited for the placement of weapons. So we gun haters can’t really make much of the fact that hand guns were used in these murders. You and I paid for those handguns and it was our patriotic duty to do so.
Likewise, the fact that the fellow was apparently at least a son or grandson of the middle east means very little, if anything, here. Nuts come in all shapes and sizes, colors and ages. This one happened to be of Arabic origin. He also happened to be in the United States Army. Whether Allah told him to do it, or he just felt like murdering a few folks, he was clearly a mental case. That’s the issue.
For years now people have been talking about our soldiers being overtaxed. This kind of thing is the inevitable result of that. Maybe it did not cause this, but this type of thing is the inevitable result, even if it did not cause these particular murders. It would have happened to some soldier, someplace and may well happen again.
We so seldom see the silent victims or war. We cry over the dead and the horribly wounded, but we don’t so often think about what the experience of war does to an average individual. Even when you are not on the front lines, I can’t imagine that you live a normal life, mental health wise, when you are sent off to a war zone. You probably don’t sleep well, you might have a tendency to get a bit depressed. Maybe that’s what happened to Malik. We will never know, although a lot of people (mostly fools) will make guesses.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not arguing that we should sympathize with Malik. He was a murderer, whatever caused it to happen. Ali I’m saying is that since the days of Cain, we human beings have been a very violent species. We have to always remember that about ourselves and be on our guard. We ain’t going nowhere.