Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the Fort Hood Massacre. We cannot begin to realize the depth of your sorrow.
The miracle in this piece is that the shooter Nidal Malik Hasan is alive and can face punishment for this heinous act. Thank you to the female soldier who brought him down.
My brother was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas for six years. I lived with him there for three of those years. I fondly remember Fort Hood as a close knit military community.
I made friends with the local teens, often babysitting for the Army wives.
The Gulf War was taking place during that August of 1990. There was that familiar and understandable presence of tension and worry throughout the community. Fathers, daughters, partners and husbands leaving but not for Reforger exercises this time. They were going to a land we were unsure of.
A lesbian couple lived next door to us in Killeen, Texas which was the town surrounding Fort Hood. Tony and Toni were their names. We called them the two Toni’s.
One Tony was in the military, the other Toni was a school teacher.Their poignant goodbye kiss was a memorable event in my life. Both women had survived their own personal wars.
Toni had a fifteen year old son from her dissolved heterosexual marriage. Like most teenagers, Toni’s son had trouble adjusting to his mother’s life without dad…and life with another woman. There was a relative decaying of the emotions between mother and son which negatively impacted the couple.
The other Tony being an officer, had worked hard to get beyond the harassment she faced in the military. The little cottage in Killeen was a new start for her. Now she had to leave for the Gulf War. I could see the acute anxiety Tony was facing as she wanted desperately to stay home and nurture her new relationship with Toni and possibly win over the teenager. She played hoops with him several times, they worked on cars together in the garage…maybe if they had more time…
Being a just a neighbor, I only saw Tony through our “good fences” as she tossed marinated meat on the backyard smoker or mowed the St. Augustine lawn. There were several times that she spoke to me about life in the Army and discrimination against women- particularly lesbians. She just wanted to rest, to stay home. Her loyalty to her country constituted a gift for America but a curse for her personal life. One Toni demonized the name of George H.W. Bush. The other Tony did not. She was a servicewoman, an officer in the United States Army. It was her duty to go to Kuwait.
On this day of their parting, things were different.
I watched shamelessly as the cab came for Tony.
Toni was sobbing endlessly while her son stood at the driveway motionless. He watched as his mother kissed a woman, her lover and partner in life. Tony waved at the boy. He only nodded which angered me. In his lack of emotion, this child was denying his mother and Tony the possibility and comfort of his empathy. More importantly, a denial of their desire to be seen as a couple being torn apart by one’s duty to her country. They were real people, real Americans. Tony was a patriot.
I mention this story of the Fort Hood community because many of my liberal friends fail to see that soldiers are people that carry tremendous burdens and a deep sense of honor, especially towards their fellow servicemen.
This is why I find it difficult to understand the actions of Major Hasan. The mainstream media spin is now attributing his behavior to his fear of deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. My liberal anti-war friends are blaming the incident on Bush and the consequences of America’s sins in Iraq. For most if not all of us, expressing sympathy for the victims should come naturally. NOT THE SHOOTER. Remember who the victims are. Innocent people. Nidal Hasan is a coward.
Before Thursday’s shooting, Hasan reportedly gave away all of his furniture along with copies of the Koran to neighbors, KXXV-TV reported.
Sounds to me as if he knew he would not be coming home…Much like a suicide planning. He could have went AWOL and spared the lives of others. While it is difficult to assess Hasan’s true motives, make no mistake that this man is NOT A GOOD AMERICAN contrary to what his cousin said on Fox News last night.
Nidal’s cousin offers the excuse that he was harassed by his Army colleagues due to his Middle Eastern ethnicity: “He was dealing with some harassment from his military colleagues.”
This is no excuse. As a psychiatrist in the Army, Hasan was well aware of the proper military channels for dealing with harassment and stress. He was a coward.
Country before political correctness. Hasan is a coward and traitor to our country.
Autographed Letter Signed,