August 11, 2013

MARK STEYN: Know Thine Enemy: Major Hasan is honest about himself; why aren’t we?

Major Hasan is a Virginia-born army psychiatrist and a recipient of the Pentagon’s Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, which seems fair enough, since he certainly served in it, albeit for the other side. Most Americans think he’s nuts. He thinks Americans are nuts. It’s a closer call than you’d think. In the immediate aftermath of his attack, the U.S. media, following their iron-clad rule that “Allahu akbar” is Arabic for “Nothing to see here,” did their best to pass off Major Hasan as the first known victim of pre-Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. “It comes at a time when the stress of combat has affected so many soldiers,” fretted Andrew Bast in a report the now defunct Newsweek headlined, “A Symptom of a Military on the Brink.”

Major Hasan has never been in combat. He is not, in fact, a soldier. He is a shrink. The soldiers in this story are the victims, some 45 of them. And the only reason a doctor can gun down nearly four dozen trained warriors (he was eventually interrupted by a civilian police officer, Sergeant Kimberly Munley, with a 9mm Beretta) is that soldiers on base are forbidden from carrying weapons. That’s to say, under a 1993 directive a U.S. military base is effectively a gun-free zone, just like a Connecticut grade school. That’s a useful tip: If you’re mentally ill and looking to shoot up a movie theater at the next Batman premiere, try the local barracks — there’s less chance of anyone firing back.

Maybe this Clinton-era directive merits reconsideration in the wake of Fort Hood? Don’t be ridiculous. Instead, nine months after Major Hasan’s killing spree, the Department of Defense put into place “a series of procedural and policy changes that focus on identifying, responding to, and preventing potential workplace violence.”

It’s almost enough to make you lose faith in the powers-that-be.

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