November 9, 2009

"Packed into cubicles with 5-foot-high dividers, the 300 unarmed soldiers were sitting ducks."

Details of the Fort Hood massacre.
Around 1:30 p.m., witnesses say a man later identified as Hasan jumped up on a desk and shouted the words "Allahu Akbar!"—Arabic for "God is great!" He was armed with two pistols, one a semiautomatic capable of firing up to 20 rounds without reloading....
Those who weren't hit by direct fire were struck by rounds ricocheting off the desks and tile floor.
I've been trying to understand why all those soldiers — I know they were unarmed — were not able to stop Hasan, how minutes passed, and it took the arrival of the civilian police to end the carnage. I thought that after the Virginia Tech shooting, it was well-known that the shooting would go on and on and that waiting was not a good strategy. Police Sgt. Kimberly Munley, the police officer who did take Hasan down, "had trained on 'active shooter' scenarios after the April 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech University." Why weren't the 300 soldiers also able to respond? How could our soldiers be set up as "sitting ducks" — arrayed and accessible to a man who had made it known that he wanted to kill them?

***

The headline of the story is "But for heroes, bloodbath could have been worse."
Pfc. Amber Bahr, 19, of Random Lake, Wis., tore up her blouse and used it as a tourniquet on a wounded comrade. It was only later that she realized she'd been shot in the back, the bullet exiting her abdomen.
Great. I'm impressed. But I'm not distracted. The bloodbath could have been worse. Noted. But couldn't it also have been less bad?

148 comments:

Dark Eden said...

This is the real story here. The whole 'is he a jihadist' thing (of COURSE he is) is interesting but a sideline.

The real story is the shocking can of worms this opens about the military, preparedness, and the dangerous levels PC has reached within it.

Political Correctness is pretty well directly responsible for these deaths, as much as Hasan is.

Bob said...

Well, Ann, you're asking why they didn't just charge Hasan en masse, unarmed? Why didn't some sergeant or lieutenant order such a charge? Why didn't some PFC yell "follow me!" and lead the way? Because they aren't trained to be suicidally rash. Such behavior is Medal of Honor criteria, after all.

bagoh20 said...

No doubt they could have rushed him and stopped him sooner, but the first person to do it would certainly have been killed and maybe the second one as well. I'm sure some there were making that calculation. It is asking a lot to expect a person to accept certain death to stop something they expect to stop by itself any second.

LarsPorsena said...

"Political Correctness is pretty well directly responsible for these deaths, as much as Hasan is."

Amen, amen, and amen again.

Pogo said...

It's no use trying to pretend it's still 1955 in Des Moines, Iowa.

We've entered the end of our empire, and the barbaric hordes are just warming up.

elHombre said...

Don't worry! Janet Napolitano and the Department of Homeland Security are working tirelessly on this.

Oh sorry. They're working to be sure nobody "jumps to conclusions" and that there is no "backlash against Muslims" here in the US.

I'm not sure who's looking out for the soldiers. Doctors, I guess.

Roger J. said...

Clearly this particular attack could have been averted if the major had been kicked out of the army. That said, with respect to the soldier's response, I suggest that these same soldiers, had they been in a situation where they knew danger was imminent, would have responded much more differently. None of these troopers could have possibly anticipated this sort of event, and the first response is to take cover. And by the way, not being armed tends to deter a range of other responses.

Had they been in a battlefield ambush, the appropriate response would be to charge the ambush (well, at least back in my soldiering days.)

IMO what happened was soley a function of the situation they found themselves in. The person who understood the situation was the police sergeant who had both the training and armament to deal with just such a situation.

Amy said...

This is very curious to me also. I pondered it after Virginia Tech, but moreso here. Of course I have absolutely no idea what I would do in the situation, but 4 minutes just seems SO LONG - it is perplexing how someone or a few guys couldn't rush him from the back or side or knock him off balance. Especially when he was obviously shooting repeatedly, not taking hostages (in which case it might make more sense to wait). Maybe more details on this will come out. I haven't seen this discussed anywhere else yet.

bagoh20 said...

Political correctness is cowardice and it should lead to court-martial for someone. There is no excuse for allowing this man the access he was given.

Joe said...

Your main question is one I've been asking myself. In the end, the answer is that warriors make up only a small fraction of any military and truly effective warriors only a fraction of that.

That said, this raises a troubling issue. If an enemy were to overrun our front lines, are the soldiers left capable of defeating them?

A question for those in the know: How much are soldiers slated for office and behind-the-line positions taught to fight? If you join the army and are assigned desk duty, how much weapons training will you get?

Alex said...

This and the VA Tech massacre really bring to light the idea of preparedness. How ready are you to deal with a scenario that you find yourself being attacked by a highly armed lone gunman? Will you meekly allow yourself to be executed, or will you charge the gunman? Remember a moving target, zig-zagging is harder to shoot then in straight line. We need to have survival courses for this stuff!

former law student said...

Roger's right. I would say that everyone's guard was down in the familiar banal situation, and no one was prepared or trained to react properly in that environment.

It's as if the professor, dishing up the mashed potatoes one evening, suddenly picked up a pistol and started shooting her dinner guests. Would Meade and Nina be able to co-ordinate swiftly and effectively enough to subdue her with minimal loss of life?

Ann Althouse said...

He had to stop to reload. Several times, I think.

Roger J. said...

For those who have never been shot at, the experience changes your perspective dramatically. Reloading a full magazine takes only seconds.

DADvocate said...

Why can't these soldiers be armed? Of all people it would seem trained soldiers could carry a weapon or keep one in their desk drawer. Why is a military base a gun free zone?

EDH said...

In retrospect, who's the Meathead?

wv-"preez" = a president who preens

AllenS said...

I'll make a guess, and it's a guess only. These soldiers were not in combat arms. That's what I think. Had he tried this with a room for full 11B's, there would have been one shout out of "Allahu Akbar", and then a lot of "fuckin a, mother fucker", and then he probably would have been beaten to death.

Maguro said...

Why weren't the 300 soldiers also able to respond?

Probably because they were unarmed and they weren't expecting combat that day. Fight or flight response kicked in and, being unarmed, flight won out. That's just my guess.

How could our soldiers be set up as "sitting ducks" — arrayed and accessible to a man who had made it known that he wanted to kill them?

Military bases are exceptionally vulnerable to insider threats. Someplace like Fort Hood is relatively hard on the outside - fences, barbed wire, armed gate guards - but soft and gooey inside. Military personnel spend an extraordinary amount of time as "sitting ducks", waiting for something with hundreds of other GIs , often in an uncomfortably enclosed area. An insider like Maj Hasan would have known exactly where to find the maximum number of easy targets.

Darcy said...

Ugh. Yeah. I am not going to blame any soldiers here. They were ambushed. Any many of them, in fact, were very heroic.

William said...

You are unfair to the soldiers. There is no banal, middle of the road response to mortal terror. You are either very brave or in shock. There was nothing in the drill of these men to tell them what to do. They only had four minutes to choose what to do or even to decide that they had a choice... I have been in mortal danger a few times. Even when you behave honorably, the brain doesn't work right. Four minutes was not sufficient time for these men to overcome shock and confusion and figure out what to do.

Roost on the Moon said...

If I had been there, I would've snuck up behind him and karate chopped his neck. Or maybe right before, I would've made a little kissy noise, and then when he spun around all surprised, I'd be all like: "Allahu Akbar this!" And then take his gun from him and then punch him right in his muslim nose. Hi-YA!

Maybe the Army can hire on Althouse and her commenters as consultants, so that tragedies like this don't happen again. You could talk about "the lessons of Virginia Tech" and, pack-vs-herd mentality, and not being such a politically correct wussy. You're welcome, troops!

Pogo said...

The main problem was that the soldiers fucked up; they trusted their chain of command that they wouldn't knowlingly let loose a crazy em-effing jihadist loose in their midst.

That'll larn 'em.

bagoh20 said...

"Would Meade and Nina be able to co-ordinate swiftly and effectively enough to subdue her with minimal loss of life?"

I suggest a preemptive action, ASAP.

John Lynch said...

People fight like they train. Who trains to go after a man with a gun with no weapons at all?

al said...

The base is a gun free zone with the occupants in condition white. It's the equivalent of a mall at Christmas time.

A untrained person can change a magazine on a modern semi-auto pistol in 2 to 3 seconds. With a bit of practice a tactical reload is under a second.

Having never been shot at I can't fault the men and women there for not rushing him. The survival instinct has to be overwhelming. Being unarmed probably didn't help.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

He had to stop to reload. Several times, I think.

From what I heard, it sounded as if he had taken a combat shooting course. If it's modeled on what the SAS does, fast reloading is a big part of the curriculum.

Life in the Fifties said...

From the detailed descriptions here in Texas, many were shot in the back and never saw their assailant. If they had known which direction to look and had seen him, he would still have been difficult to identify as an enemy, wearing his army fatigues and perhaps being a familiar face.

Many victims also did not realize they were shot during the four minutes that elapsed. It took longer than the four minutes to process even that information.

The terrorist was shot and subdued after being flushed into the open where he could, in fact, be identified by the police officers as the terrorist he was.

I find your question naive.

Ann Althouse said...

"Had they been in a battlefield ambush, the appropriate response would be to charge the ambush (well, at least back in my soldiering days.)"

This too was an ambush. A very effective one! Our soldiers can be ambushed. Why? How long will this continue to be true? Are there other Hasans in the military who will be heartened to see how easy it was for him?

Sofa King said...

Two reasons:

1. These were not combat arms soldiers. Thus, while they did receive basic weapons and drill and ceremony training, they do not have anything like the trained reflex for action, nor the skills to use them, that your average infantryman does. The marines are slightly different in this way, but the Army definitely delineates strongly between combat and support personnel.

2. Those soldiers not only were cognizant of their own limitiations per point 1, but also knew that base security was certain to be close at hand. When you know that armed trained personnel are due imminently, the smart move is to hunker down and wait for backup.

Shanna said...

Ugh. Yeah. I am not going to blame any soldiers here. They were ambushed. Any many of them, in fact, were very heroic.

Yes. I have never been in such a situation but it sounds like the layout would have made it difficult to get at somebody far away, so if you weren’t armed your immediate response would be to hide. Plus, four minutes sounds like a long time, but if you are at work in say a hospital and one of the doctors popped in and started shooting at you in his scrubs, it would probably take a minute or two to process what the hell was going on.

It is still amazing that that many people could be shot in that short an amount of time.

Skyler said...

Unlike the Virginia Tech incident, this was all over in a couple minutes. There's barely enough time to process the information. At Tech the students had time to build barricades and make some sort of plan to act.

Reloading, I'm sure he had extra magazines already full, only takes about a second or two. You drop the empty magazine and forget about it, grab a magazine from the pouch and slap it in. Very very fast.

If this had gone on for twenty minutes, I'm sure someone would have figured out some way to act, but the man was already taken care of by then. Seems to me that the event, once it was started, was taken care of quite quickly.

I'm still wondering why they thought there were three shooters. This might also be a reason why he succeeded. The people there couldn't figure out where the shooter was.

Steven said...

Swapping magazines doesn't take very long, and you can do it with a round still in the chamber.

So, you can't just personally rush him; you'll just die. Multiple unarmed people have to go at once to beat the shooter. The cubicles and dividers prevent a simple mob rush, because you can't see your fellow rushers. So you need coordination of multiple people to go after him at the moment of reloading. Which requires communication, which across the dividers means saying your plans out loud where the shooter can hear them and react to them.

Now, in an open auditorium of unarmed soldiers? The shooter goes down before he gets finishes his magazine. He gets mass-rushed, overwhelming his rate of fire, never mind his reloading effort.

But in this case? The tactical situation heavily favors the only guy with a gun.

John Lynch said...

A very good explanation of combat that I read once, from a Russian of all people, is that people do not rise to the occasion.

They fall down to their lowest level of training.

I've never practiced what to do if someone was trying to shoot me while I was unarmed. Has anyone here?

Under stress people don't think rationally. It's not the same part of the brain. That's why soldiers drill so much. If everyone could think clearly in combat they wouldn't need to drill all the time.

John Lynch said...

All this makes United 93 even more amazing, doesn't it?

Roger J. said...

Not meant to be a criticism of any one on this thread, but there seems to be some remarkable misunderstanding about military bases, soldier training, weapons and tactics. And this, I submit, is one of the consequences of an all volunteer military.

Sofa King said...

Well, when you're pretty sure that death is certain if you do nothing, it probably becomes easier to decide to take a chance. If you're hidden from view and know the police are about to arrive any moment, it's not as a good a gamble.

Darcy said...

I think it would be helpful if you'd elaborate about the misunderstandings, Roger J.

John Lynch said...

Sofa King, I think the difference is time. When people have time to think things through they do better. Without time, people just fall back on their training. Without training, it's just instinct.

Cedarford said...

Ironically, the story laudes "hero rescuer" Marquest Smith, who dragged two wounded guys out but....

"His second time through the door, he ran into the shooter, whose back was to him. Smith turned and fled, bullets whizzing by his head and hitting the walls as he rushed outside."

"Oooops! I just want to be a hero nurturer kinda guy! Don't want to tackle and try and subdue the killer. That's the other sort of non-nurturing caregiver kinda hero's job."

If "hero Smith" had tackled the guy, how many deaths and woundings might have been stopped?

Sad to say, but in war and in civilian violence....most people killed never have a chance to show a shred of heroism. They-just-get-killed.......and it is hard for the media to force-fit the "Noble Heroes in a Tragedy" to every incident.

Same with the Onion joke about the "cowardly fight against cancer finally found" - because otherwise, all patients ever described in recent years are "brave, heroic". And the idiot Bush's Flight 93 hero narrative was just as ridiculous. The normal human response on learning that you are 5-20 minutes from becoming burning meat paste in the bottom of a deep crater unless you get control of a plane from Islamoids - is to do anything to avoid being such bubbling hot meat paste.

Heroism used to be for something rare and unusually above other humans feats or bravery. Now it is used to describe anyone with a bad disease or handicap or anyone in government employment who wears a uniform. And of course anyone who is a victim of any highly publicized act of violence. Even if they crouched and blubbered while waiting to die, or accidently walked up the back of a deranged gunman and fled...Heroes all! Heroes!!

AllenS said...

After basic training, AIT, jump school, I spent all of my state side duty at Ft. Bragg, NC, home of the 82nd Abn., and at the time, Special Forces. Had multiple gun fire erupted, the NCOs that heard the gun fire would have done one thing, and that would be to run as fast as they could to find out what was going on. They would have instinctly known, something was terribly wrong. Everyone that I served with would have followed them.

Expat(ish) said...

@Joe: well, when our guys got partially/wholly over-run during the Battle of the Bulge, well, there was a reason the Germans took so many prisoners.

I am guessing the fact that it was (a) utter chaos and (b) being done buy a guy holding a relatively small fireamr, and (b) a complete surprise explains the narrative.

This is why I'm so surprise the islamofascists and nutjobs aren't shooting up shopping malls on a regular basis. A $200 Mossberg shotgun from Wally World and $40 bucks of ammo and you've scared everyone away from the mall this season.

Luckily for us there are cute little signs telling people they can't carry guns in a mall - so it'll never happen.

Side note: I was in Sears the other day and both the guy behind the register and a guy a few lines over at the return desk (I hate the return desk!) were carrying concealed. Too.

-XC

wv: chiloi - what you hear in Soho traffic

Darcy said...

You are some kind of authority on heroism no doubt, Cedarford.

Asshole.

Alex said...

Darcy - you sound like C4 touched a nerve. Do you dispute his definition of heroism?

Alex said...

Expat - that's gratifying to know that dept store employees are armed and ready for the Cho's of the world...

Roger J. said...

Darcy--don't think I can give you a short answer, and many of the commenters have properly described the nature of stateside military bases, the organization of the military and who gets what kind of training (combat versus combat support and combat service support), and just how easy it is with a modicum of training to load and fire modern weapons and their firepower. Again, my comment was not meant to be critical--except perhaps of the volunteer military concept and not of any commenters here.

The Drill SGT said...

Clauswitz, Churchill, and Sun Tzu said it all

in this case, let's roll the Clausewitz tape:

"War is very simple, but in battle, even the simplest things are very difficult"

“There’s nothing quite as exhilarating as being shot at and
missed.”—Winston Churchill

The Drill SGT's opinion?

nothing kills like surprise. If this has been in deployed area, those survival instincts would kick in. Here? who knows, your in a cube, prciessing your power of attorney or standing with 4 soldiers getting your shot record reviewed.

shots ring out,
where are they comming from?
heads pop up in cubes.
heads duck down
the shots continue
your get a general sense, some folks move toward the danger
some away
those that move toward the danger come around a corner and see an officer with a pistol
for all we know, they assumed he was one of the good guys

Some soldiers forgot rule 20 of the Marine rules for gunfights:

20. Be polite. Be professional. And have a plan to kill everyone you meet.

Darcy said...

Okay, gotcha, Roger J. I was just curious. I believe I've learned a lot from this thread.

Shanna said...

All this makes United 93 even more amazing, doesn't it?

I think the deal with them is that they had good information. I think the other flights would likely have been similar if they had known what was going to happen. They had good information and a little time to process and plan. It's wonderful what they did, but I don't think you can compare these events.

former law student said...

I'm thinking that the worst possible outcome of this massacre would be to destroy trust among soldiers, a foundational value. You have to assume that you're safe inside the base, as Maguro alludes to. And to achieve this, the Army must root out those who would threaten this security, as pogo points out.

Roger J. said...

What FLS just said--right to the heart of the matter. Well said.

Original Mike said...

Not that I'm surprised that an armed man was able to neutralize a bunch of unarmed men, but I wonder if an additional factor was that there was no one in command to organize a "response". Not the situation you'd have in the field, I imagine.

DADvocate said...

You are some kind of authority on heroism no doubt, Cedarford.

Asshole.


Hit the nail on the head.

Old RPM Daddy said...

@Roost on the Moon: "If I had been there, I would've snuck up behind him and karate chopped his neck."

You would have peed in your pants, just like I would have.

People don't seem to understand that stateside military bases (and many overseas bases) aren't filled with troops wandering around with guns. They're mostly office buildings, garages, dorms, and houses. When troops go out to train with their weapons, they don't do it where the office buildings, garages, dorms, and houses are.

WV: gabliar -- the way most folks lie.

Cedarford said...

DaDvocate:

I repeat:

Heroism used to be for something rare and unusually above other humans feats or bravery. Now it is used to describe anyone with a bad disease or handicap or anyone in government employment who wears a uniform.

That is based on history and what past cultures believed had to be established to be considered a rare, rare person who merited being called a hero.
They set the bar high.
Now we banty the title around like a self esteem trophy awardee ceremony.

Darcy said...

Anyone who voluntarily signs up to fight for our country, especially during a time of war is a hero to me.

Montagne Montaigne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AST said...

I still can't get my head around why nobody in the hall had a sidearm. It shouldn't be this easy to shoot 40 people before you get shot yourself. I've heard about SNAFUs before but this really takes the cake. It's like 17 years into the war and we still have a peacetime army.

wv: pathi , very pathi

Jim Howard said...

Even prior to the Fort Hood attack there have been several thwarted attacks planned against domestic military bases.

Clearly starting say, NOW, officers and NCOs should be allowed to carry loaded weapons on Post.

blake said...

Maybe this isn't the best time to bring out the "what's a hero?" hobby horse.

Nomilk said...

The real lesson of Virginia Tech in this case is that the Muslim terrorist was a Virginia Tech grad and yet the memories of those horrors seem not have deterred him one bit. Can one fathom the depths of his depravity?

I hope he follows John Allen Muhammad quickly on the path to meet Shatan.

chickenlittle said...

They set the bar high.
Now we banty the title around like a self esteem trophy awardee ceremony.


Anyone who voluntarily signs up to fight for our country, especially during a time of war is a hero to me.

@Darcy, I suspect that Cedarford is just calibrated differently; you two don't fundamentally disagree here.

Simon Kenton said...

"I've never practiced what to do if someone was trying to shoot me while I was unarmed. Has anyone here?"

-- John Lynch

John, I have. You're dead meat against someone who understands a gun is for destruction at moderate to great distance. If you get the bully type who wants to see your eyes cringe, you have a modest chance if you are snake- or cat-fast, and you practice. The chief use of such exercises is to learn never to be unarmed. Never. Pistol is best. If you can't have that, you can generally get away with carrying

-- a pepper spray (range 12 feet under ideal conditions, and very likely to affect you as well as the scrote; 1 - 10 seconds to disable if used correctly against a sensitive subject) and

-- a knife (range 18 inches, 7s - 3 days to disable; you have to practice deploying it a lot).

With these tools and a cringing demeanor there's a good chance you can bring the guy down enough for the next person to kill or arrest him, and a very good chance you're going to be gravely damaged. If he's a fool. But when the VA Tech guy is ordering you to lay down and your classmates are complying, giving him a faceful of spray or a quick slash to the femoral as near as possible to the groin may save you and will save the ones after you. But you have to get beyond Marquis of Queensbury rules, move fast and utterly ruthlessly. It seems like plain sense to me, but it turns out to be a lot to ask of people who have had teachers fussing at them that violence is never OK, and upper-echelon police types telling you never to resist and provoke him. I can't stress it enough: it's not going to work against somebody who understands that the only use of a gun is to shoot it at you, from as far away as they can manage it accurately.

Alex said...

Simon - I just can't get past the idea that the VA Tech students just laid down on the ground to accept the bullet in their skull. It's mind blowing to me.

chickenlittle said...

You gonna rewrite that last one before it gets archived Montaigne?

traditionalguy said...

Keeping a cool head is the first sine qua non. Some can and some can't in a surprise attack. Next comes the confidence to make a quick decisison on a counter attack. Combat experience with humans such as boxing, wrestling (the real one), and judo help here. That requires information about the source of the gun shots which also brings up the question of being under friendly fire...Do you shoot back or not? Hindsight as usual is 20/20.

The Drill SGT said...

AST said...
I still can't get my head around why nobody in the hall had a sidearm.


When I was there at Hood as a commander, the weapons were locked in the arms room all the time except when we went out for tactical training. and if I had had my way we would have left most of them behind. I commanded a tank Company and there isn't a bunch of training value in having 80 tank crewmen walk around with pistols in their should holsters other than to remind them that when they dismount the tank they need to have their pistol, web gear, mask and helmet. The point being that you can get the same training value by checking if they dismounted with their pistol holster on as you can with the holster w/pistol in it.

anyway, when we drew weapons, one of the officers, Me when I was around, drew a pistol with ammo, to safe gaurd the weapons from some wacko coming up and pulling a shot gun on us and asking nicely for 100 weapons.

there are 3 places that ave loaded weapons on an army base. only 3

- with MPs on patrol
- a few rounds in the arms room for guarding weapons like my example above
- on the firing range where weapons and ammo are married up under watchful eyes

sorry, but the Army tries hard not to hurt people unless it plans on it. so bullets and guns are kept far apart.

paul a'barge said...

Come on people. The question at hand is how do we avoid this ever again. This is always the question.

So, here's the answer: no gun-free zones ever. Anywhere. Every non-criminal non-nut-job, handgun trained person must be armed everywhere they go.

Everyone of those Army soldiers should have been trained (as US Marines are trained) and should have been armed. To the teeth.

I don't care whether it's schools or churches or funeral homes or military bases or the US Congress. If you're a law-abiding citizen with training and a license or a member of the US Military, where ever you go your guns go with you.

Period. End of story and end of problem.

Now, what do we need to solve next?

Darcy said...

Uhh, chickenlittle? :)

But please don't elaborate. My eyes!

OldGrouchy Doug Wright said...

It's very easy for us to say what should have happened; what could have happened. Still,we weren't there.

In the mid-1990s, there was shooting at a Killeen, Texas, restaurant, the crazed shooter killing over 20-persons without anyone in the restaurant responding. Everything on the tables could have been used as a defensive weapon: salt and pepper shakers, tableware, ballpoint pens, pencils, pocketknives, etc. Yet it there wasn't a response. Someone above said that would have taken a heroic effort and that's correct.

However, just as Police Sgt. Munley was trained to respond to a shooting aggressively, perhaps there needs to be such training for civilians too.

As for me, digging a deep foxhole would be appropriate; going through a hard floor would be an obstacle. Also would try hollering "Don't shoot, I'm a friend!"

:) cheers

wv: prosolly, being lucky would work too.

Michael said...

I think the question goes to the heart of how people have been taught, raised and entertained these last thirty years. Boys especially. They have not had the heroics of WWII in front of them for ten plus years as did those who grew up in the forties and fifties and, to a lesser extent, sixties. Next, they have not learned about heroism in school. Doubtful if they have read and pondered the classics, doubtful if any instincts of heroism have not been bred out of them through their education. Self preservation is powerful indeed and they took cover as was the natural first instinct. There is nonetheless something very disconcerting about these events that shows how very sheep like we all have become.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

The Origin of War points out that there are no pictographs of human on human violence before the invention of the bow and arrow about 10,000 years ago. The bullet fired weapon is the bow and arrow's successor. Before that, when life was nasty brutish and short as Hobbs said, it was also more democratic. If you attacked me and were stronger, you might prevail against me but it wouldn't be economic for you because you would likely, if not in the attack on me, on the next person be injured. The bow and arrow however changed the balance of power and the risk. I recall that the Special Forces that were assigned to the Iranian hostage rescue were concerned that they might face a tank. The level of weaponry makes a difference.

Theo Boehm said...

The flip out of one guy is not a good reason to start profiling all muslim soldiers.

I'm not sure what "profiling" means here, but if it means what it meant in WWII, when the Army was very careful about vetting immigrant and 1st-generation German-, Italian-, and, yes, Japanese-American soldiers, it's simply the process of being very careful of the loyalties of people who might have a motive for being disloyal.

One of my history professors was a German immigrant as a kid with his parents, escaping the inflation and chaos of 1920's Germany. He went back to pursue a doctorate in history at Heidelberg, which he finished in 1938.

He returned to the States, and in the end enlisted before the draft got him. His language and cultural skills, which also included excellent Russian, made him prime intelligence officer material, which he ultimately became. He ended up acting as a liaison with the Russians, and was an important figure in the de-Nazification of the Wehrmacht at the end of the War.

But he used to tell about how he was closely scrutinized at every step. At the beginning, they were afraid he was a Nazi spy, and at the end, his knowledge of Russian and his ability to get along with the Russians made him suspect as well.

For all that, the U.S. Army got invaluable service from him, and he left the military a decorated officer. But at no point did he feel he was ever completely trusted. He wasn't bitter. He understood the motivation. It just was a pain in the ass.

He felt the atmosphere of scrutiny and intrigue in the Army prepared him perfectly for academic politics and getting tenure, after which he felt he had been scrutinized enough, and did as little as possible, except, of course, to tell his students war stories.

Florida said...

Why do they let people who belong to a religious cult into the military in the first place?

We don't let avowed KKK into the miltary.

We don't allow skinheads into the military.

But we allow Muslims, who's Koran teaches them that infidels should be killed, into the military.

And we wonder why this guy did it?

He did it because his religion tells him to do it. He's banging his 72nd virgin by now.

While "President Shout Out" leads the charge for everyone to not jump to conclusions, he dithers while our boys are being executed in Afghanistan.

And fear not ... Janet Nepalatano is in Abu Dhabi assuaging the backlash fears amongst her pals in the Middle East.

Pogo said...

I will long remain angry that the military has been forced to reject troop safety in favor of avoiding the appearance of giving offence.

But I am awakening to the idea that our military cannot protect its own soldiers, so it cannot protect me, just as the local police cannot protect me in a community rife with barbarians lacking the basic tenets of civilization.

This is very different from how I grew up, but there it is.

Alex said...

Pogo - the barbarians are at the gates, we have flung open the gates and said "ravage us O' great barbarians ravage us!!!"

Alex said...

And fear not ... Janet Nepalatano is in Abu Dhabi assuaging the backlash fears amongst her pals in the Middle East.

Begin cranial rectal insertion method #103....

Simon Kenton said...

Pogo, I'm in CO. I teach personal protection, which can be used to get a CO concealed carry permit. Back when the newspapers were allowed to do it and felt like they were taking this bold, anti-violence stand, they would publish the names of the CCW holders. And, I am informed, it would cause mild consternation at the hospital, when the non-violent disapprover types there would discover just how many of the docs they worked with held ccw permits. And you a doctor?!!

It's not just that they can't or won't protect you. In all seriousness, wouldn't you rather do it yourself? I for one applaud states doing away with the so-called duty-to-retreat, because it's better on the ... self-esteem ... of those who don't want to retreat.

exhelodrvr1 said...

I haven't seen any diagrams yet, but I suspect he was located where it was difficult to reach him (i.e. behind a desk, or at the end of a hall). If he starts with the people closest to him, he will have a clear shot at everyone else who tries to intervene. As several others have noted, it was over very quickly, so unless they were spring-loaded to respond, by the time they figured out what to do it was over.

Pogo said...

Simon, I recently completed training to be able to have concealed carry for that very reason. Learned some other self defense stuff over the last 2 years, and plan on taking more yet. (Current big question: shotgun or handgun? Leaning to the former)

But I am just flummoxed the military let down their troops this way. A very disappointing lack of leadership, IMO.

Meade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MnMark said...

Maybe if a person knew some Islamic theology you could pretend to be on the killer's side and get a chance to attack him.

In other words, work a little Alinsky on him...make him live up to his own rules. Yell some arabic muslim phrase and say "brother, I am a muslim! do not shoot! do not mar this great holy act by shooting another muslim!"

THEN yell "hi-YA!" and karate chop him on the back of the neck.

Meade said...

Heroes and sociopaths share several traits and the one major trait they share is their willingness to break the rules.

Most of us are neither heroes nor sociopaths. We follow the rules.

You can bemoan that fact and call ordinary people "sheep" or "sitting ducks" but the truth is there would be no civilization without most people being willing to follow the rules.

david7134 said...

I have been under fire from snipers (in New Orleans) and from cops who indiscriminately opened up on the ER. I can assure you that your body does not work in the manner that you think it would. First, your muscles do not want to move, when they do you have to work like every thing to make them do what you desire. Then everything takes on proportions that are crazy. A pebble becomes large enough to hide behind. Your whole consciousness focuses on avoiding the guns. It might sound good to rush the shooter, but reason tells you that no one else will support your actions and thus you will be dead in short order. In my situaiton I was an ambulance driver (working through medical school) and had to enter the field of fire to pick up people. You have a feeling that something is boring into you the whole time you are exposed to fire. It is very strange.

Did you happen to catch Obama's acknowledgement of the incident. The man talked and joked about a conference. Then said he was sorry for the incident. There is something not right with this guy. I don't think he knows his job.

Finally, why is Islam still accepted as a religion. They seem to have a message like the KKK. The KKK is illegal, we need to consider the same for Islam

Darcy said...

There is something not right with this guy. I don't think he knows his job.

Two excellent observations.

I love that little pic going around the 'net of GWB sort of smiling silly and waving, entitled "Miss me yet?"

Yes. I do.

Nichevo said...

Blogger Ann Althouse said...

"Had they been in a battlefield ambush, the appropriate response would be to charge the ambush (well, at least back in my soldiering days.)"

This too was an ambush. A very effective one! Our soldiers can be ambushed. Why? How long will this continue to be true? Are there other Hasans in the military who will be heartened to see how easy it was for him?
11/9/09 3:00 PM

Prof., can we first agree you know nothing of military affairs and need, and desire, to be educated? Or do we have maintain the pretense that you would have idea one of what to do when being fired upon?

What would you do to stop it anyway? The only thing that I can see would work is to allow, or even oblige, some or all troops in such a case to go about their business while armed. How does that sit with your politics? Especially if it seemed the same in civilian life, i.e. that the people should be allowed to go about armed?

The alternative - these are not mutually exclusive, actually - is as has been suggested, to vet, re-vet, super-vet or simply purge all (3000, was it?) Muslims serving in the Armed Forces? Hasan may have been a loner but I hope to the heavens that it hasn't been to un-PC to look over his phone and Internet records and so forth. Perhaps even rippling out to have a peek at his associates, e.g. this local mullah at the local mosque who evidently succoured some of the 9/11 hijackers too.

So would these work for you, are you prepared to entertain them, or is it, in the delicious meme do jour, 'pearl-clutching time' for you too?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Current big question: shotgun or handgun? Leaning to the former

Shotguns for the house and the car/rifle rack here. Handgun for cc on your person.

The saying is... Police just minutes away when seconds count.

Seriously. In the event of a emergency or incident the very quickest that you would get police response (unless they just happened to be driving down the road, unlikely) is at least a half hour to an hour. It isn't their fault. The area is big and we have very few patrol officers during the day and NONE at night. NONE!!

vw: friacked

garage mahal said...

"Miss me yet?"

Uh, no.

The Drill SGT said...

pogo said... Current big question: shotgun or handgun? Leaning to the former)

In a home, I say shotgun. stand hidden at the top of the stairs and rack back that 12 gauge pump.

You'll have a clear conscious about filling any drug crazed wacko who on hearing that distinctive sound, proceeds up the stairs into certain death....

as a bonus!

The Marine Corps rules of gunfights :)

1. Bring a gun. Preferably two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns.
2. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap. Life is expensive.
3. Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.
4. Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend. (Lateral and diagonal movement are preferred.)
5. If you can choose what to bring to a gunfight, bring a long gun and a friend with a long gun.
6. In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber or tactics. They will only remember who lived.
7. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating, reloading, and running.
8. Use a gun that works EVERY TIME. "All skill is in vain when an angel pisses in the flintlock of your musket."
9. Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.
10. Always cheat; always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.
11. Have a plan.
12. Have a back-up plan, because the first one won't work.
13. Use cover or concealment as much as possible.
14. Flank your adversary when possible and always protect yours.
15. Never drop your guard.
16. Always tactical load and threat scan 360 degrees.
17. Watch their hands. Hands kill. (In God we trust...everyone else keep your hands where I can see them).
18. Decide to be aggressive ENOUGH, quickly ENOUGH...hesitation kills.
19. The faster you finish the fight, the less injured you will get.
20. Be polite. Be professional. And have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
21. Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one.
22. Your number one option for Personal Security is a lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation.
23. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun the caliber of which does not start with a "4."

Florida said...

Meade Wrote: "You can bemoan that fact and call ordinary people "sheep" or "sitting ducks" ..."

People are sitting ducks because the law makes it too difficult (if not illegal) to defend yourself. It is almost impossible to legally purchase a gun for self-defense in Massachusetts, for example. It is trivial, however, to purchase a gun illegally for the purpose of committing mayhem.

The area where these people were killed at Ft. Hood was a gun-free zone. They were legally prevented by their leaders from having the means to protect themselves.

Meade, we're not sheep because we can't see the wolves. We see the wolves just fine.

We're sheep because our shepherds have led us to the fucking slaughter.

We have to turn on our shepherds or be eaten.

Penny said...

"Also would try hollering "Don't shoot, I'm a friend!""

It has always been my plan to stop, drop and play dead.

A minor variation of the old stop, drop and roll we learned as kids who might find their clothes on fire.

Darcy said...

Heheh. Hi, garage!

garage mahal said...

Darcy, hi :)

Nichevo said...

If "hero Smith" had tackled the guy, how many deaths and woundings might have been stopped?

And if he had done that I suppose you would detract from it by whining that he had attacked from the rear? "Some hero, sneaker-upper!"

Meanwhile, I wonder if the attack was caught on camera. It's very well to think, say, "I would have thrown a chair and then charged" without knowing if IRL this would have been even remotely feasible.

AlphaLiberal said...

I just want to take this opportunity to say:

Good questions and points, Ann. I hope they're answered.

Dudley Do-right said...

Didn't read the whole thread, maybe someone else said this. It's only an educated guess anyway and I may not have the facts straight.

The shooter was an officer. The soldiers were new enlisted guys recently out of training getting ready to deploy. In basic training, the recruits learn to regard the drill sergeant as the next thing to God. By the time they finish training, speaking up to the guy or doing anything other than exactly what they've been told is near unthinkable. In fact they're conditioned to let their leaders do their thinking for them.

If they're conditioned to treat/regard a sergeant this way, then how much more an officer? For recruits just out of Basic, an officer IS God. It's how they've been conditioned to think. Down the road they'll depart from that, but new recruits who have finished Basic aren't going to confront an officer, it's as simple as that. To do so is to risk the dressing-down to end all dressings-down...and they've learned, in Basic, to avoid that.

In Basic they also learned to trust their leaders implicitly. Hasan, an officer, was one of the 'leaders'. Their trust in their leadership is such that many may have thought it was some kind of training exercise.

This situation would be almost impossibly confusing for a new recruit...even if they did understand exactly what Hasan was up to. Knowing the hot water he/she could be in for doing the wrong thing, and not grasping what's happening, they naturally opt to do nothing.

Truly lost sheep with no shepherd.
FWIW--Dud

MadisonMan said...

I love that little pic going around the 'net of GWB sort of smiling silly and waving, entitled "Miss me yet?"

Given that is a thread about shooting, that question has a bit of a different meaning than was probably meant. :)

Darcy said...

Dudley: So many good points there. Those poor soldiers.

MM: LOL. Yeah. Wrong thread.

Ralph L said...

At the risk of making Pogo vomit, here is the Army Chief of Staff on MTP:

GREGORY: What about your concerns about backlash against our Muslim soldiers who are in the Army, as a result of this incident?

GEN. CASEY: Yeah. I think those concerns are real and I, and I will tell you, David, that they're, they're fueled partially, at least, by the speculation about--based on anecdotal evidence that people are presenting. I think we have to be very careful with that. Our diversity not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that's worse

MissTammy said...

I think they were taken off guard first and foremost, and secondly, I work in a huge cubicle area, and I think it'd be extremely hard to mount much of an attack....it's hard ot even tellwhere sound is coming exactly from, for one thing.

Four minutes sounds like a long time, but in a non-combat situation, it probably took a full minute for what was happening to even sink in for those far enough away to do anything.

I am sure we'll hear stories soon about people who were prepared to rush him.

HT said...

Speaking as a rank amateur and 100% civilian, the only thing I can say is that for me, actual CHOICE would have been practically non existent. I think in such situations, mostly because I never encounter them thank God, some other force takes over and I would lose the ability to be the decider of my own fate.

I have no idea of the logistics of this attack, but am interested to do some reading of what's coming out of Texas. If anyone knows of good blogs or sites, please post them.

I too share concerns, deep ones, about what to do about other Hasans. I think a deeper discussion, quite possibly possible only on blogs such as this, as to the roots of this would be good. I think it's a fatal mixture of politics opposite of ours touched off by an old wound or defect. I feel like I've seen it before, and that I see it in people I know in my life now. The bitterness and anger, coupled with the fact that we are at war. It's scary, it really is. What are we going to do about it?

DADvocate said...

C4 - your analysis of Marquest Smith's actions make you an asshole. Congratulations.

jeff said...

If only C4 had been there to rush the shooter. Everything I've read says he had two pistols. One of which was a .357 revolver that he did NOT shoot. The other was a high capacity semi, and there is no rule that says you have to empty the gun before reloading. So the soldiers would be rushing someone who has a semi-auto with one in the barrel and and 6 .357 rounds during the reloading period.

Donal said...

The reason military's around the world still use ambushes is because they are effective. The greater the surprise the more effective the ambush. In this case surprise was total. The attack took place inside a heavily guarded military base by a man in a US army uniform- the idea of that happening probably never crossed anyone's mind.

I found this quote here. "In ambush situations we do not have time to cognitively calculate our responses. Our brainstem, cerebellum and mostly the amygdale take over and cause the Startle / flinch response as well as Adrenaline Dumps and fight or flight, all of which bypass cognitive processing. we can work with in the flinch response to enhance our built in defensive mechanisms."

Dogwood said...

The soldiers were new enlisted guys recently out of training getting ready to deploy.

Not all. A soldier from northern Indiana killed in the massacre was a 13-year Army veteran who had only been on base for a couple months.

As I understand it, the processing center is where all personnel go when transferring on or off base.

So, some long serving soldiers, some newbies, all tragically lost.

Florida said...

"... all tragically lost."

They didn't die in a car wreck. They were murdered in cold blood by the enemy.

It wasn't a tragedy ... it was perfidy.

It was a premeditated terrorist attack executed by fifth columnists inside the United States being protected by liberal Democrats within the intelligence community.

It's treachery pure and simple; and until we purge the ranks, this type of shit will continue.

garage mahal said...

It was a premeditated terrorist attack executed by fifth columnists inside the United States being protected by liberal Democrats within the intelligence community..

Wow, sounds pretty serious. What are you doing about it again, talking about it on a blog? I'm thinking you need to go a little higher up, don't you think? A group of people you think is threatening your family and all you can do is "get the word out", and hope someone else finds out who it is? Pre-tt-y weak.

Florida said...

"What are you doing about it again ..."

Collecting IP addresses like yours for the database of columnists that we're building.

garage mahal said...

And telling me about it? Doh! I hate it when that happens!

Cedarford said...

jeff said...
If only C4 had been there to rush the shooter. Everything I've read says he had two pistols.


No, part and parcel of the whole "hero-hood" meme that says any person in a uniform, any cancer patient, and schoolteacher, any special olympics athlete is a hero of the highest order is to also condition the credulous masses that anyone who does not worship designated "heroic" subsegments of society as heroes is calling them cowards. Black and white for simplistic minds...anyone who isn't called a hero must be a coward, and anyone who isn't a coward must therefore be a hero.

And of course we have also turned off our brains and blindly accepted those "victims groups" advocates that equate victimhood and "suffering" as the same thing as heroism and bravery. Which has spread to the idea that no death can be senseless and arbitrary and simply involve ordinary human behavior and normal levels of courage expected in a person or how a mass of people (given their training) would react to immenent doom...No. Each death must have "special meaning" and be that of a hero in some fashion or another. And mass death is now painted as mass heroism.

Ancient and even some near contemporary cultures, including America before the 90s....had very high standards on who was honored as a hero. Wars were fought and only a few of tens, hundreds of thousands, even millions who served who came back with shields held high or on them...or a particular group...were accorded the honor of being "hero". In Japan, certain meaningless battles, of thousands fought in recorded history.....became notable purely because a certain warrior or group displayed remarkable bravery, skill, exemplified Bushido.

Only a few of hundreds of thousands each year who set out to master a sport or art or a specialized work skill become admired by their peers, widely and sincerely, as exemplars, as special, as heroes.

When you set the bar so low that all in a profession, all in a certain uniform are heroes...you diminish the meaning like at a championship ceremony where true champions are forced to have the recognition of true accomplishment diluted by "self esteem awards" for those who "tried hard".

In a heroic tragedy, a bus accident involving 29 heroic children and the bus driver became the scene of heroism on a scale not seen since D-Day. "Binky" Hirogawa was cited for bravely crawling through a window to get out of the bus THEN helping a classmate pass out their bookbags. The bus driver was described by all for his standout courage in telling the kids "get out, get off the bus!" after he apparantly woke up in an upside down bus in a ravine after closing his eyes just for a moment on the road. Hero cops were bravely at the scene 1st and still there on doubletime, fighting to stay another hour or two, as hero townspeople came and passed out free coffee & donuts to cops and co-hero firefighters.
And as heroic Victim Families awaited news of the other children or were actually driving to the hospital in an act of stunning selflessness to offer help to their kids..word of Little Hero Samantha Grugenstern began to spread. Samantha, thrown from the bus and crushed...no doubt as she was trying to save the lives of the other fearless in the face of death 3rd graders.....And word came of dozens of heroic nurturing grief counselors and PTSD experts flocking to the town to give hugs, help people get through their heroic ordeal, and achieve CLOSURE through healing and avoid PTSD flashbacks. THe Hero politicians flocking to the camera said they were "absolutely proud" of each and every of the hundreds, perhaps thousands of heros of this bus accident event.

traditionalguy said...

I am thinking back on the Major's technique of suddenly attacking at the weakest point inside of our crowded system full of trusting people. That was the 9/11 hijackers trick on four crowded airline flights. That was the Mumbai assault teams method as well. These guys are certainly cunning and very good observers of were the weak points are for the highest body count of surprised victims. Maybe their religion does guide them in their murderous efforts thru so many how to instructions written in their Koran. Please tell me that our government does not plan to bow the knee to the Muslims at war with us for another second.

Nomilk said...

"Miss me yet?"

Uh, no.



Uh, hell, yes.

JAL said...

The cubicles and dividers prevent a simple mob rush, because you can't see your fellow rushers.

Someone else also mentioned the cubicle problem. I am interested in seeing a diagram of the attack. That would make the logistics (apparently there were also rows of chairs, and tables ... Hasan reportedly stood on a table.

Penny -- I think some of the VTech kids were shot laying down -- though that thought (playing dead) appeals to me if I were unarmed.

JAL said...

"Unverified" Eyewitness Report of Fort Hood

Excerpt:

"this Army is not broken no matter what the pundits say. not the Army I saw.

and then they kept me for a long time to come. oh, and perhaps the most surreal thing, at 1500 (the end of the workday on Thursdays) when the bugle sounded we all came to attention and saluted the flag. in the middle of it all.

this is what I saw. it can't have been real. but this is my small corner of what happened."

Cedarford said...

Meade - Heroes and sociopaths share several traits and the one major trait they share is their willingness to break the rules.

Most of us are neither heroes nor sociopaths. We follow the rules.

You can bemoan that fact and call ordinary people "sheep" or "sitting ducks" but the truth is there would be no civilization without most people being willing to follow the rules.


Good post by Meade. The truth is that most of us..even the now lauded hero-by-profession teachers, cops, soldiers, nurturing PTSD/grief trauma experts...are simply ordinary people living unextraordinary lives. Following the rules. And the act of dying or being killed does not instantly transform each ordinary life into insta hero-hood at the last minute.

================

Somebody somewhere made a pile of money by opening up the "self-esteem" trophy marketing niche, maybe someone can concoct expensive trophies that will become de rigeur to wannabe heroes.

Of course, politicians with savvy have always used the "Herohood Narrative" to advance their agendas through hero comparisons of themselves or through their uniformed proxies -and demand that the masses mindlessly support the policy because it is needed to properly honor "The Heroes". Stalin had his Stakhovites, Hitler exhorting the Volk to do everything to support "Our Hero Troops" fighting the barbarian Reds. JFK used hero mythology all the time.
Dubya his "Hero Flight 93 and Hero Troops" to rally the nation behind his bungled efforts, and to give him co-herohood because he was the brave guy actually leading the Troops in Afghanistan to "free women of their burquas and bring democracy to the noble, grateful Afghans".

Nixon's operatives created the POW/MIA bracelets and hero prisoner narrative to give Nixon more time to negotiate with China and the N Vietnamese. Rosie the Riveter was a hero myth created by propagandists. Binnie recruits through "hero martyr to Allah" speeches. Gay activists elevate Matthew Shepard and Harvey Milk to hero-martyr status to prove gay marriage makes sense...somehow..

Hero-hood and heroic victimhood are very powerful tools of politicians and other mass persuaders.

And the media has learned to feed on it for money&ratings. "Fellow celebrities gaped with awe as Tom De Lay courageously and heroically danced his last dance with stress fractures in both feet." "That boy in the balloon must be a hero to endure this horrific ordeal without panicking." "When Sarah says 'Ya Betcha!' to her critics, well, Greta...thats the sort of stuff heroes are made of."

chuck b. said...

I was totally surprised that when the US Army gets attacked, they call the police.

Don't they have Army police?

Kirk Parker said...

John Lynch,

"I've never practiced what to do if someone was trying to shoot me while I was unarmed. Has anyone here? "

Yes, but not in that sort of context. I suppose that means I should add it to the list. :-(

"All this makes United 93 even more amazing, doesn't it?"

In some ways, yes. On the other hand, the United 93 passengers had the very strong motivation of realizing there wasn't anyone else in the world who could help them.

Also (reading down the thread a bit further), what Simon Kenton said. Though I would add (in supplement, not disagreement) that in this specific situation the shooter didn't have good control of his environment either. Anyone directly downrange from him was in grave danger, but apparently he did nothing to secure his flanks or rear.

Kirk Parker said...

Cedarford,

"His second time through the door, he ran into the shooter, whose back was to him. Smith turned and fled, bullets whizzing by his head and hitting the walls as he rushed outside."

Oh my goodness. If that's really the case, how very depressing.

And guys, agreed that C4 is definitely an a**hole for riding his hobbyhorse about "heroes", but what's wrong with noting what the article says about Smith having approached the shooter from the shooter's rear?

Kirk Parker said...

I don't think the shotgun/handgun question should be either/or. Get a shotgun and learn to use it, by all means.

But you aren't going to have it with you all the time. "Having it with you all the time" is exactly what a handgun is for, and modern advances in materials and design have resulted in .380 and 9mm compact handguns that are less than half the thickness and weight of the venerable snub-nosed .38 revolver. Anyone who can manage to take their iPhone everywhere can manage to do the same with a KelTec or Ruger .380.

knox said...

Did you happen to catch Obama's acknowledgement of the incident. The man talked and joked about a conference. Then said he was sorry for the incident. There is something not right with this guy. I don't think he knows his job.

Even worse, you shouldn't need to "know your job" in order not to behave as Obama did.

His reaction was not just inappropriate for PotUS, but it was creepy. Totally unfeeling and, well, inhumane, for lack of a better word. Who wants some bizarre husk of a person running the country?

Possibly Obama can only register human suffering and tragedy within the framework of Social Justice. It's an ugly thought, but really, what are we to make of his behavior? Clueless at best.

JAL said...

This yanmmering about "Why!!???!!" and all the related angst is simple.

Here's Hasan's business card.

It's simple.

blake said...

but what's wrong with noting what the article says about Smith having approached the shooter from the shooter's rear?

It's mean (in the stingy, petty sense). That is, it feels petty to say about someone who saved lives at risk of his own, that he might have saved more if only he were even more heroic.

Simply approaching from the rear does not tell you enough to know whether anyone could have taken him out, much less whether this person could have taken him out.

It's like the initial reaction to "he shot how many people on an army base?" The situation as described makes it a lot more understandable. It's foolish to make this sort of tactical judgment without knowing all kinds of tactical details.

Did the shooter have tunnel-vision, just looking at what was straight ahead, or was he fanning the guns around? That'd make a big difference, just for example.

Kirk Parker said...

blake,

OK, sure, if we're talking about playing some kind of blame game, I'm with you. But I meant we should be thinking about it in the after-action review sense.

JAL said...

Re why not call the MP ---

My understanding from a recent post (somewhere -- pre attack) is that many on base jobs are filled by civilians because the training soldiers get is specialized and targeted, so using them for routine stuff is waste.

While I think there are MP on bases, bases, especially ones like Fort Hood which are essentailly small cities (>60,000 soldiers, officers amd civilians working / being there), require the everyday dog work of things like traffic, Starbicks, etc.

It might be more cost efficient (?) but certainly more beneficial for the local population to use locals for the infrastructure jobs.

I could be wrong.

Dark Eden said...

A question for those in the know: How much are soldiers slated for office and behind-the-line positions taught to fight? If you join the army and are assigned desk duty, how much weapons training will you get?
>>>>>

I didn't serve in the Army but the Navy, so granted we're not exactly a combat branch other than the Seals and things like that.

My combat training consisted of firing 30 rounds into a target a few yards away and I had to hit I believe it was 22 times to pass.

I did more intensive combat training as a kid in Texas learning to fire the family guns.

As one of my shipmates in basic said to me, "If the enemy attacks I can throw a well folded towel at him." (seems like 90% of Navy basic training was folding fucking clothing or polishing shoes)

Gary Rosen said...

"C4 - your analysis of Marquest Smith's actions make you an asshole."

100% totally wrong. C-fudd has already been an asshole for *years* (probably his age, 55):

http://minx.cc/?post=66320

vbspurs said...

Clearly this particular attack could have been averted if the major had been kicked out of the army.

What, so he can become the darling of the talk show circuit, preening himself in front of an obsequious Larry King, all too readily believed that it is anti-Muslim prejudice of others, and not his abominable unmilitary behaviour that got him the boot?

It makes me sick that 13 people had to die to make this point, but the military defended him by promotion time and time again.

Those who do want to smear the military are making the strange analogy that the KKK promoted a black man within their ranks.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Oh whaddayaknow. Now we can see more than 100 comments on a blogpost.

vbspurs said...

Or was that 200...? I feel like such a n00b.

blake said...

200, Victoria.

And welcome back. We were the poorer for your absence!

Youngblood said...

The suggestion that we should require soldiers to go about their business on base armed is kind of questionable if the intent is to reduce the number of casualties from a high casualty shooting like this.

Seriously. Think it through. How many other shooters did witnesses at the scene say there were? How many more shooters would people think were shooting if a significant fraction of those three hundred soldiers were armed but shooting?

Who would you shoot if you just turned around to see MAJ Hasan facing down PFC Snuffy, both with pistols in their hands? Oh, but wait, SGT Rock over there, he's firing at PFC Snuffy. PFC Snuffy must have been the initial shooter!

My God, it's hard to think of a worse case upon which to build an argement that soldiers should be armed on base.

In any case, the soldiers who were going about their business didn't fuck up. The Army did and the CIA did and whoever else looked at this ticking timebomb douchebag and didn't drum him out of the military.

I said before in another thread that I am not against Muslims serving in the military. I served alongside one and under one and, well, you want to know the truth?

Both of them have done more for their country in the battle against terrorism than the majority of people who are blathering on the internet to remove all Muslims from the military. No shit.

However, it's becoming increasingly clear that this Muslim all but carried around a blinking neon sign that said "Terrorist" and nobody did anything about him.

That is absolutely horrifying and shameful.

rhhardin said...

Dorothy Rabinowitz at the WSJ does a job on the media.

vbspurs said...

HEYA BLAKE!! Great to see, darling. :)

Cheers,
Victoria

...wv: pater!

vbspurs said...

From Rhhardin's (hey there too!) Rabinowitz link:

To hear this [that "it would be a tragedy if diversity was a casualty of this incident"], and numerous other such pronouncements of recent days, was to be reminded of all those witnesses to the suspicious behavior of the 9/11 hijackers who held their tongues for fear of being charged with discrimination. It has taken Maj. Hasan, and the fantastic efforts to explain away his act of bloody hatred, to bring home how much less capable we are of recognizing the dangers confronting us than we were even before September 11.

It is a very good piece (not terribly well-written though) and one which should be explored in a good book on the topic of PC over-sensitivity.

As I see it, Americans could've burnt down mosques and tortured Muslim-Americans after 9/11, given this preocupation which some have of accusing Americans of being a nation of racists, but we didn't.

On the contrary, one of the first visits of President Bush was to a mosque, to assure everyone that Islam was not the problem -- the problem were those who used Islam to hijack what the religion means and how the devout should act. I personally witnessed more than a couple acts of kindness to Islamic-garbed women in shopping malls (and in a video store), when people approached them kindly to inquire, "You okay?". Of course, those little acts between unfamous people never get reported.

Media today scrambling for reasons to excuse this murderer's act would make more sense if after 9/11 there had been a wave of violence towards Muslim-Americans, and due to the pressure, they had snapped.

But that's just not the case. Once again, the narrative doesn't make sense in light of reality.

Cheers,
Victoria

MadisonMan said...

It makes me sick that 13 people had to die to make this point, but the military defended him by promotion time and time again.

My vague recollection, from reading multiple threads and sources on this story, is that the promotion to Major was pretty much a gimme for someone who has gone through Medical School/Residency on the Army's dime, and in fact his future promotions had been blocked by poor assessments.

So promotion time and time again might not accurately reflect his Major status.

Having said that, I admit my knowledge of Army promotions is dwarfed by my ignorance of it.

AllenS said...

Our military is run by civilians in our government. Every time promotions come up, a percentage of those promotions will be minorities and women. It's been that way for a long time.

Jennifer said...

There are a lot of comments here, so maybe somebody has already said this. But, it seems obvious to me that these soldiers did exactly what they were trained to do. Close quarters, urban warfare is extremely difficult. I know my husband has spent a lot of time training on that specifically because of its complexity. But, I highly doubt the average soldier - particularly non-combat arms soldiers - are trained to defend against any type of ambush beyond an open ambush, for example against a convoy. And in that type of ambush, I have to think your very first action is to take cover.

I know we had a situation a while back here at Bragg where a soldier attempted an armed attack in a gym on post. Special Forces soldiers working out nearby were able to immediately subdue him. They are trained for that type of situation. Your average support soldier is most definitely not.

Roger J. said...

Madison Man--your take is right. Unless someone drops somthing in the officers file, a medical corps guy will enter as a captain, and be promoted to major pretty much pro forma. Similary JAG lawyer types.

Had he gone into the US Public Health Service, he would also have been promoted to major after doing his obligatory time as a captain.

Roger J. said...

Oops--in the USPHS they use naval rank designations so he would become a lieutenant commander after three years as a Lieutenant. (Lieutenant in the navy equivalent to a captain in the the other services.)

Expat(ish) said...

@The Drill SGT - I always enjoy that list. Recently read: Why did you bring a 45? Because they don't make a 46. Beautiful.

@Kirk - My Kel-Tec P380AT can be worn with exercise shorts and it dang near invisible. And it is "dinner plate" accurate at 10 feet, which is likely to be plenty.

-XC

JAL said...

Hi Jennifer --

Thank your husband for his service to our country. And thanks to you (and your family) for being there for him.

Darcy said...

Nomilk: That's it! Adorable.

former law student said...

Clearly this particular attack could have been averted if the major had been kicked out of the army.

What, so he can become the darling of the talk show circuit, preening himself in front of an obsequious Larry King, all too readily believed that it is anti-Muslim prejudice of others, and not his abominable unmilitary behaviour that got him the boot?

I haven't seen too many radical Muslims on the talk show circuit, but accepting that premise: wouldn't his talk of cutting off heads and pouring boiling oil down throats cause the viewer to silently agree with the Army's good judgment?

As the facts come out, seemingly only the Army's severe shortage of psych types kept this guy in.

Tibore said...

"... were not able to stop Hasan, how minutes passed, and it took the arrival of the civilian police to end the carnage. I thought that after the Virginia Tech shooting, it was well-known that the shooting would go on and on and that waiting was not a good strategy."

Sorry professor, but your question is built on a foundation of faulty presumptions, some of which may have already been pointed out in other comments above mine. To start:

1. From what I understand, the Ft. Hood shootings took far less time than the Va. Tech one, so some people may not have realized that this was a rampage killing in progress until it was too late.

2. It is too easy to presume you can gang up on a shooter, but in a confined, cluttered environment, is that possible? Furthermore, I've read that under stress, people regress to training. As I understand it, the response to being shot at is to find cover from which to return fire. Since no one had weapons, they were only able to fulfil that first part. Which was the sensible thing to do.

3. How about identification of the shooter? If a military person heard gunfire, hunkered down, then saw a Major approach with a drawn sidearm, would they think "Oh, no, he's the shooter?" Or would it be "Oh, thank God, there's an officer here; let's form up behind him." My point is that it's entirely possible a lot of the victims might have thought he was coming to help until it was too late.

Professor, the major presumption you bring to this is that they would've been able to identify the threat, it's direction, and it's source, and then be able to respond aggresively. Yes, soldiers are trained to be aggressive in certain situations where they are armed and part of a cohesive unit, but that doesn't apply here. Furthermore, they need to be aggressive towards the known threat, but the whole problem is that it's entirely possible - probable, even - that the threat was accidentally misperceived as being the rescue. After all, so much of the military is built on trust, and why wouldn't you trust someone who rose to the rank of Major? Nevermind that it's only the first promotion for a medical doctor; in a crisis situation, you'd only note the rank, not the branch.

Ultimately, I'm afraid that you presume too much in regards to the soldiers' collective ability to respond. The situation was one of total surprise. What's remarkable is that no more people died.

Joe said...

The Origin of War points out that there are no pictographs of human on human violence before the invention of the bow and arrow about 10,000 years ago

Complete load of crap. Solid evidence of arrows goes back 18,000 years with evidence of their use going back 60,000 years.

The notion of the ancient pastoral man is one of the biggest pile of bullshit ever invented. Before the arrow, humans beat each other to death with clubs and before that with their bare hands. There never has been a period of time where humans and pre-humans weren't killing each other.

c3 said...

The notion of the ancient pastoral man is one of the biggest pile of bullshit ever invented. Before the arrow, humans beat each other to death with clubs and before that with their bare hands. There never has been a period of time where humans and pre-humans weren't killing each other.

I thought it all started when that black monolith first appeared.

Dark Eden said...

The notion of the ancient pastoral man is one of the biggest pile of bullshit ever invented. Before the arrow, humans beat each other to death with clubs and before that with their bare hands. There never has been a period of time where humans and pre-humans weren't killing each other.
>>>>

The whole fetishization of the pre industrial world is pretty sick in a lot of ways. Back then life was nasty brutish and short, disease was uncurable, if you were injured you'd probably die, women had about 12 kids because half of them died, you were at the mercy of any two bit tyrant who could gather together a few tough guys to push around the local citizenry...

Most people today have no comprehension of what a golden age we live in now.

jeff said...

"Ironically, the story laudes "hero rescuer" Marquest Smith, who dragged two wounded guys out but....

"His second time through the door, he ran into the shooter, whose back was to him. Smith turned and fled, bullets whizzing by his head and hitting the walls as he rushed outside."

"Oooops! I just want to be a hero nurturer kinda guy! Don't want to tackle and try and subdue the killer. That's the other sort of non-nurturing caregiver kinda hero's job."

If "hero Smith" had tackled the guy, how many deaths and woundings might have been stopped?"

Possibly one more death. Perhaps he could have had his head blown off. Who knows? How about the wounded he helped out of the building? Perhaps they might have been killed. Pretty easy to say "I just want to be a hero nurturer kinda guy!" when your sitting in your chair and no one is throwing bullets at you.
"Black and white for simplistic minds...anyone who isn't called a hero must be a coward"
Or derided as a hero nurturer kind of guy. See if you can work New York Jew lawyers into your next comment.

vbspurs said...

MadisonMan wrote:

My vague recollection, from reading multiple threads and sources on this story, is that the promotion to Major was pretty much a gimme for someone who has gone through Medical School/Residency on the Army's dime, and in fact his future promotions had been blocked by poor assessments.

Madison, Roger, remember that this man joined up after high school, and served 8 years as an enlisted soldier, before promotion to Captain upon completion of his medical degree.

And it's apparently not automatic. The ex-JAG General of the Navy was being interviewed saying that just today.

To me, this means the Army showed immense tolerance towards this man, given his behaviour.

Cheers,
Victoria