Fort Hood Part Duh-why a Texas Representative could have prevented it

Fort Hood Part Duh-why a Texas Representative could have prevented it

On Wednesday at Fort Hood, Texas shots rang out once again with our soldiers in the crosshairs. This time three people died and 16 were wounded by the accused gunman; Specialist Ivan Lopez who was an Iraq veteran who was being treated for an unconfirmed Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and is being described by the Mainstream Media (MSM) as suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Now please understand there are many reasons that I am calling out the mention of his unconfirmed injury and diagnosis of PTSD-and they are very good ones.

Specialist Ivan A. Lopez, suspected Fort Hood shooter
Specialist Ivan A. Lopez, suspected Fort Hood shooter-photo credit-Mashable

First of all not all who suffer TBI are doomed to be killers, or even violent-I sustained a TBI in a rear-end collison three years ago and though it caused permanent repercussions on my eyesight and ability to recall things when I am tired or stressed it did not cause me to become violent. This simply put me in the roughly 2% of adults in the USA and Canada who live with lifelong side effects of TBI. The danger comes when the TBI aftermath can lead to post TBI depression. Things like inappropriate or missed diagnosis,  and lack of follow up therapies can all be precipitating factors. Specialist Lopez’s TBI has yet to be medically confirmed so I remain dubious as to whether or not he had suffered a TBI during his time in Iraq since he was present largely during the drawdown in that region.

Then there is the fact that most soldiers who suffer from PTSD are non-violent in the expression of the disorder. Specialist Lopez had not received a confirmed diagnosis of PTSD according to the sources I have been able to locate prior to this writing. The majority of soldiers who suffer from PTSD symptoms suffer in silence, and usually turn their anguish inside as opposed to striking out against others in violent ways-like mass shootings.

Nidal Hassan, 2009 convicted Fort Hood shooter

And finally there are two massive 4,000 gorrillas in the room that the Army has not addressed since the original Ft. Hood massacre in 2009 that may, or may not have played into Wednesday’s shooting. I think we can all agree what at least one of those big, hairy apes is-Islamic radicalism. So far, investigators have not turned up anything that would indicate that Specialist Lopez had become radicalized during his time in the Middle East. I take no comfort in that since the Army clearly knew that Major Nidal Hassan was a radical Islamist (you would think that the SOA-“Soldier of Allah” printed on his official Army business card would be a red flag). The Army also failed in their official reporting after the original Ft. Hood shooting by ensuring that the words “radial”, “Islamist” or “terrorist” never showed up in the official report.

The second massive gorilla in the room is the inability of our soldiers to carry sidearms on post in order to protect themselves from incidents like the ones executed by Hassan in 2009, the attack at the Navy Yard last summer and then by Lopez this week at Fort Hood.  Following the shooting in the Navy Yard last summer, one Representative Stockman (R) of Texas-big shock, huh?-introduced the Safe Military Bases Act or HR3199. This act would have allowed service members and Federal civilians to carry personal firearms on post and be able to defend themselves, and their colleagues, from attacks like the one on Wednesday. Yes, that is right-it would allow our soldiers, who are trained in the use of firearms, to carry them on a Federal installation-I am still struggling with why this is a foreign concept. Stockman said the following when quesitoned about the intent of the bill:

“Our disarmed military bases are vulnerable targets for terrorists, as we saw in Fort Hood and the Navy Yard,” he said in a statement. “Despite that, soldiers trained to use guns cannot carry on base. The result is two mass killings where defenseless soldiers had to watch as their friends were murdered.”

“Saving lives by allowing trained soldiers to carry firearms should be an easy fix,” Stockman said. “No reasonable person can oppose that.”

Even though this sounds completely reasonable to most logical human beings, this bill apparently never made it out of the committee it was referred to in September of last year. Perhaps it will take even more blood spilled by those who defend our nation on military installations across the country to get Congress and the current Administration to perk up and do something about repealing the 20 year old prohibition on soldiers carrying personal firearms on posts.

No, I doubt even that would help.

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  • VALman says:

    I wonder whether he was getting the proper care and treatment given his symptoms? Also, given what took place in 2009, I wonder about the sensitivity question; that is, heightened awareness for potential problems? Concerning the gun-free zone regulation, it is fortunate that Lopez didn’t show up with an automatic. The regs need a thorough review.

  • Jennifer says:

    So right on. The regs are insane!

  • Dave says:

    I think it’s simple as this: if someone lives or works on a military base, and they have a concealed carry permit in the state the base is in, then they can carry on post. Pass a federal law granting automatic reciprocity to service members on bases spanning more than one state, if that reciprocity isn’t already in effect.

    It isn’t just soldiers living on bases, and it isn’t just mass shootings. Families living on base and left behind when a soldier deploys are defenseless. The wife of a friend of mine, home alone in post housing while he was deployed, discovered a burglar coming in the bathroom window one night. She screamed and the burglar ran…but what if he hadn’t? She was not allowed a firearm to defend herself.

    • GWB says:

      Actually, Dave, the federal law should insist that military bases must abide by the most lenient state laws in terms of who can carry and how. This would allow for uniformity across all the bases. (The inverse of “zero tolerance”.)

      The other option would be to simply require reciprocity with any state license possessed by a servicemember. The difficulty would be with “no permit required” states. *I* don’t find it to be a difficulty, but it would put some of the wrong people into absolute conniptions.

      Either of these would solve the multi-state problem. (Few bases span more than one state. But servicemen’s careers often do.)

  • Dana says:

    Representative Stockman said:

    Despite that, soldiers trained to use guns cannot carry on base.

    I’d point out here that not every soldier is trained to use the weapons that you have suggested they be allowed to carry. Every soldier is trained in the use of a rifle, either the M16, until recently, or the M4. Only soldiers entering particular MOSs — primarily military police — will be trained in the use of sidearms, because only a few soldiers are expected, as part of their normal duties, to carry sidearms.

    Neither of my daughters was trained on the M9 sidearm, and only one of them has even fired it; my younger daughter is not an MP but is attached to an MP unit, and has fired the M9 a couple of times, but it wouldn’t be correct to say that she has been trained on it.

  • Jennifer says:

    To your comment about he soldiers not trained on sidearms-then those soldiers should not carry on base-ONLY those with valid training or Carry Conceal permits should be able to carry in the interest of protecting themselves and others. Non-trained persons should NEVER carry a weapon IMHO.

    Dave-I was relived to see that your friends wife escaped unharmed and agree with your assertion that those soldier possessing a valid conceal carry permits should be able to carry on post.

  • Dana says:

    I made an error in my previous comment: my younger daughter has handled the M9, can clean one and load the ammunition in the magazine, but has not actually fired one. She requalified with her rifle on Friday at Fort Dix, and is, as usual, a sharpshooter. 🙂

    She’ll be going to the range at Fort Indiantown Gap next month, where the non-qualifiers in her unit will shoot again, and she might get a bit of time with the M9, she said, but isn’t sure.

  • Jennifer says:

    That’s awesome!! Please tell her “Thank You!” For her service to our great nation from VG!

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