Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My thoughts on the Ft. Hood Massacre and aftermath

I watched much of the Ft. Hood Massacre aftermath on TV along with the rest of the nation. Speculation varied from all over the place, from multiple spots to multiple shooters. I was horrified to be honest. I've mentioned before that my ex-hole is in the military. And through the years of our marriage, I met and befriend many soldiers, their wives, girlfriends, kids and families. My heart went out to the soldiers and families. I can't imagine having something like that happen on our post.

Yesterday, I found myself at our post's Readiness Center (long story I won't bore you) and could help but look around and think that it could have happened to anyone in that room. The thought floored me. I've taken several days to try and organize my thoughts on it, and I still don't have a good grasp on my feelings and I still haven't. I'm anger, terrified, and saddened all at once.

But today, something happened that shaped at least one thought. On Facebook, you can make/take quiz's that usually involve some sort of current events. Today, I saw one that asked the question "Should Muslims be allowed to serve in the US Armed Forces?" At almost 80%, the answer was 'no'.

I was floored. The only number I could find on Muslims in the US service branches was that the Pentagon states the numbers are around 3,500 Muslims out of 1.4 million U.S. service members.

Of my personal experience, I met people of all religions and backgrounds. Conservative Christians from the Midwest, Catholics from Boston, atheists from Alabama. And one Muslim. His name was Kareem, and he was born and raised in NJ.

I didn't know Kareem well. He was more of a friend of a friend. But once my boys left for Iraq, his name popped up more and more in the stories I heard. My friend Scottie and he grew very close, and slowly I learned more about him. He joined the military because he wanted people not only to change the world, but to show his patriotism. When he was finished with his service, he wanted to go to medical school. And in the pictures I saw of him he was often goofing off and making funny faces.

On August 6th, 2007, Kareem and 3 others (Nick Gummersall, Jake "Tommy" Thompson and Juan Alcantara) were killed when an IED went off in a home they were entering to search for insurgents. These men were my friends, my "family by choice" as Tommy used to say. And their deaths were devastating to me. Never once did it cross these boys minds that Kareem was Muslim. He was an American, a soldier, and their brother.

But Kareem became known to the world when Colin Powell mentioned a photograph taken of his mother at his grave site, used by the New York Post in a photo essay about the War on Terror. I agree the image is powerful, but for me it's for another reason.

I was at the service where a 21-gun salute was made in his honor. Saw his mother break down in front of the helmet and dog-tag memorial meant to represent his honorable service. Saw the tears fall down his fathers face as the notes of "Amazing Grace" wafted through the Chapel Air.

For me, those who question the rights of Muslim-Americans to protect their country. I feel they directly question every action Kareem made for his country, including his death and the honor he gave our country by serving it.


  1. Maggy,

    I am sorry for the loss of your friends.

    I think that matching stories, Kareem for Hasan, is a bad way to develop policy. The most recent story is the one to get most of the attention. Today we consider Kareem, and find the solid and respected people that happen to be Muslim. Yesterday Hasan reminded us that people snap, that we are all responsible for detecting threats to our security.

    I agree that an overwhelming amount of support for banning Muslims from the military is absurd. The degree of slant, the sheep mentality are obviously the deliberate objective of someone looking to gain something.

    And that is where I would put my emphasis. This latest incident was Muslim. Other incidents might or might not have been Muslim-related. In any case, it is the incidents we need to detect and intervene with before people get hurt.

    I do think, though, that a special onus on Muslims is warranted.

    Just adequate attention to all the extremist-thinkers and acting-out prone folks that deserve special attention - before they cut loose from reality.

  2. Wow Maggy, that is powerful.

    I don't think religion should come into play at all with the military. What terrifies me is that this man was a psyciatrist. Someone should have seen that there was something wrong with his mentality. Someone should have been able to see something in him that just wasn't right.
    The thought that these men coming home from the war with post traumatic stress disorder talked to him, disturbs me. He was supposed to help them. He was supposed to council them.


  3. In August my youngest came home from his 2nd deployment to Iraq and spent 4 weeks in Fort Hood. I remember telling people "he's not home yet, but he's in the States, he is safe". I cannot say that any longer. This one is a hard one, isn't it.


We love comments! We are happy to answer questions, join in debate and conversation, or just say hi. All we ask is for respect. Respect us and others. Keep it civil. Obviously we aren't afraid of cussing but we don't like anyone degraded or invalidated.

We also know we make mistakes. Feel free to call us out. You can't improve things that need it if you aren't aware of it.

If you have an opinion share it but know if it is going to cause hurt to someone we care about we will not approve it.

Most of all have fun!!