The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Religion not the only factor in Fort Hood shooting

On Nov. 5, Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people and wounded another 30 at Fort Hood, the largest U.S. Army base in Texas. What caused Hasan to kill his fellow soldiers? The New York Times and other media outlets have cited Hasan’s being Muslim as the catalyst for his actions-but what about the effect of his rank and his job? Hasan was a major in the United States Army. The Army does not give out promotions lightly, and it takes many advancement to become a major.

Not only was Hasan a major, he was also a psychiatrist. Hasan was one of the counselors treating soldiers that were returning from deployments.

Hasan sat in his office for hours at a time listening to horror stories about the things that soldiers saw and dealt with in Iraq and Afghanistan. When you take into account that he had recently been informed of his impending deployment, it’s possible that his job stress caused, or at least greatly contributed, to his actions.

I was a soldier in the U.S. Army for two years. My unit deployed in Feb. 2004. Finding out that you’re being deployed is stressful for any soldier. None of us had to listen to other soldiers talk about the things that they had seen there, and we were still terrified. The pre-deployment procedures made the stress worse.

People that have never been in the army don’t understand what being told you’re going to be deployed is like.

As a soldier, your immunizations have to be updated, your uniforms have to be treated with insect repellent, your life insurance has to be current, then you have to sign a generic will. Most people don’t understand what it’s like to go through all of that, and then have to tell everyone you that love goodbye.

The news fails to cover many important things that happen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A story that you may not have heard about was on the Caucasian, Christian soldier in Iraq who snapped, and threw a grenade into a tent full of sleeping soldiers who were in his unit.

In other instances where non-Muslim members of the U.S. Army committed extreme criminal acts, the media did not jump all over their racial and religious backgrounds as the catalyst for their crimes because those factors were not relevant. And given Hasan’s unique circumstances where added job stress most likely made his pending deployment seem like a nightmare, we must not weigh race and religion too heavily in this equation.

I doubt that Hasan’s being Muslim played as large of role in his killing 13 people as the media says it did. He was Muslim, and he snapped, but that does not make him a terrorist. We’ll find out in the coming months what Hasan has to say about his actions, but I’m betting that he will tell the world that he just couldn’t take the stress anymore.

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