S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Something happened on the way to the post I had planned for yesterday.

I did not write the post I had intended for yesterday, "A fine day for surfing."* Terrible events intervened. An Army psychiatrist went on a shooting rampage at a deployment center at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 others. Very little information was available and the base went into complete lock down. From when the shooting spree occurred at about 1:30 PM and thereafter there had been only one short news conference, so there was a lot of TV anchor and guest expert speculation.
For some time it was thought that the assailant had been killed and that there may have been more than one person doing the shooting. The next news conference was not until well into the evening. But it was learned that during the shootings he was brought down by a female police guard. She had surgery for her wounds and is also alive. "Major Nidal Malik Hasan" is in the hospital, on a ventilator, unconscious and (last night) reportedly in stable condition. It was reported from early on that Major Hasan had experienced problems with his professional performance ratings and that he had expressed great reservations about his upcoming deployment to the Middle East. A family member said "he thought it was the worst that could happen to him." It was also reported that he was known to have expressed some inflammatory opinions on the Internet about suicide bombers.
Everyone is trying to figure out his motivation for such terrible actions. And like millions of others, my husband and I did our own speculating about the psychiatrist's motivations, based on all the little pieces of information that emerged. It was a major shock for me, a retired psychotherapist, to hear that the shooter was a mental health practitioner who was a specialist in working with PTSD. It was hard to believe. These are the ideas we talked about: Could it be secondary PTSD resulting from years of listening to others' trauma stories? Could he be a "homegrown terrorist?" Could the psychiatrist have terribly intractable ambivalence about his national identity - though he was born in the United States - seeing himself neither as a Jordanian nor an American? Could it be that Major Hasan have has sexual preference issues around the military's "don't ask; don't tell" policy? We wondered who his victims were, random or known to him?
The tragic events happened not too far down the road from where we live. It makes us sad. It is unnerving, confusing and shocking that it could have happen the way it did. Much more information has come out in the interim. We hope to find out more answers to these troubling questions soon.
* Returning to the subject of my planned post of yesterday -- I had been on the computer since very early in the morning. I was doing routine tasks, reading Email, cleaning and clearing files and reading TweetDeck. Of particular interest were a series of tweets by Mark Knoller documenting President Obama's at conference of representatives of over 500 Native American tribal nations. I also learned from the tweet stream that Senator Barbara Boxer had discharged a climate change bill without amendment from her committee, following Republican members' boycott of the markup sessions. The vote was 12-1, with two Democratic senators absent. (My posted about that event is here).
At midday I closed out my web surfing, got dressed and turned on the television to C-SPAN, the Senate channel. On the agenda was the second try at passing the appropriation bill for Commerce, Science and Technology, which includes the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Before getting to the bill, however, the Senate had to vote on a cloture motion. Democrats were successful in getting the 60 necessary votes. Debate on the bill began. Florida's Senator Nelson made an excellent speech about the future of NASA. He laid out three things he would like to see happen: 1) The administration and Congress should allocate the amount of money needed based on the Augustine Commission report. 2) Based on the Augustine reports' set of options, the President should instruct NASA to decide upon the appropriate architecture for future space exploration. 3) The government should take care of NASA's work force during the process.
Flipping to the NASA channel, I joined a live broadcast of an event at NASA's Washington headquarters. Four members of the STS-128 crew were making a public appearance. The centerpiece of the event was a wonderful video of their recent flight to the ISS and back to a successful landing in California. Following a lively Q and A with delightful questions from young children, my husband interrupted me by saying that there had been a horrific big shooting at Fort Hood. My day for good news surfing was at its terrible conclusion. Now much has changed for the worse.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments: