Friday, November 13, 2009

Some Random Thoughts on the Fort Hood Tragedy

Some things that have been bumping around my head during the week that followed the shooting at Fort Hood in Texas:

Who cares? There is a mild controversy around what exactly happened when the two civilian police officers confronted Nidal Hasan just outside the Readiness Building at Fort Hood. Accounts have changed from the initial account, now with Officer Kim Munley not actually shooting the gunman when she confronted him. Mark Todd, another officer on the scene, from accounts appears to have been the one that actually hit Hasad with his shots. You know what, I don't care. They both performed with amazing bravery, running towards a situation that normal people would be running from. They didn't exactly know what was going on when they arrived. They assessed the situation on the run, and found the gunman. Officer Munley may or may not have shot Hasan, but she drew his fire, keeping him from killing another man. Officer Todd saw the situation and shot Hasad, ending his shooting and saving the life of Officer Munley. I guess some feel that Officer Munley got kudos because she was a woman. I would say she may have had some extra kudos due to that, and her diminutive stature. It captured the imagination, a small female person with the guts to stand in against a big man with a big gun. It doesn't really bother me that she got this extra praise. Let's now get busy praising Officer Todd, because they are both heroes in my book. Link: New York Times: "Second Officer Gives an Account..."

How would you do that? As the news would come out about how Hasad was doing in the hospital--first that he would live--second he was off the ventilator--now, news is coming out that he may be paralyzed from the waist down--I have been considering how in the world would you care for him as a doctor, nurse or patient care tech? How could you bring yourself to do the hundred and one things that need to be done for a critically ill patient, from suctioning his endotracheal tube, to giving pain medication to giving him a sip of water? There is a saying in the Christian faith: "Love the sinner, hate the sin." It would have to be a variation of this split, to not remember, or at least not have it in the front of your mind what he has done. Address only the now and immediate; what is before your eyes and mind right now, not what has happened. It is not easy. I had a small dose of this when, while working at the VA, a patient came in after doing time in prison. He had served his time, and was free and clear. I don't know why my work colleague looked him up on the sexual offender list, but they did and there he was. It did not change care for him, not obviously anyway, but you could tell everyone thought differently of him when the nature of his crime was revealed. My guess is that Hasad has received and is receiving competent and appropriate care, but that bond and closeness that develops between caregiver and patient will be distinctly lacking.

Let's just say it: we missed it. As the authorities have jumped into Hasad's life before the shooting, it is obvious that many signs of his radical Muslim faith were missed. Some were appreciated, but were still stranded in bureaucracy. Others were noted, then suppressed due to PC fears. I'm afraid that our Muslim friends may have to get used to a little more scrutiny in the future. It may not be PC to say this, but all Muslims will end up paying the price for the actions of the radicals of their faith. We cannot allow a fear of being condemned as prejudiced to prevent us from taking action against those who wish to destroy our country by violence.

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