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Ft. Hood Tragedy Polarizes Nation Immediately

11.10.09

Major Nidal Hasan sure got both sides spewing their rhetoric.

One side uses the tragedy as an excuse to condemn all of Islam and its followers and to justify the wars in the Middle East.  The other side condemns those who condemn Islam.

As the picture becomes clearer about Hasan and his extremist views, those who were quick to blame Islam may have more of a leg to stand on than when the news first hit about the shootings at Ft. Hood.  It doesn’t by any means justify jumping to conclusions based on the Major’s Middle Eastern name and apparent religious affiliation, but it’s beginning to seem like what looked like a duck and quacked like a duck is, in fact, a duck.

Perhaps.

One of the downsides of our world of instant news is that no one has the time to gather facts before presenting them in a way that fashions some sort of picture.  There is no illumination; just a few spare details and the rest is left to speculation until more facts help reveal the true image.  Unfortunately, by the time the true story comes to light, the blogosphere has already reached their conclusions and they’re just waiting for new details simply to enhance their preconceived notions.

It’s not just the blogosphere that overreacts, either.  Sen. Joe Lieberman sure has done enough of his own lately, seeking a Congressional investigation to consider the Ft. Hood shootings a terrorist act.  No formal charges have even been made yet and Lieberman wants Hasan declared a terrorist.

Sen. Lieberman:

It’s — first, this was a terrible tragedy. Second, it’s too early — it’s premature to reach conclusions about what motivated Hasan. But it’s clear that he was, one, under personal stress and, two, if the reports that we’re receiving of various statements he made, acts he took, are valid, he had turned to Islamist extremism.

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And therefore, if that is true, the murder of these 13 people was a terrorist act and, in fact, it was the most destructive terrorist act to be committed on American soil since 9/11.

He admits that it’s too early to say, but then goes on anyway with his multitude of ifs leading to his statement meant merely to rile people up.  This is something to be expected from blowhard pundits like Limbaugh, Wallace, and Beck, but not a U.S. Senator.  Nothing good comes of this except for more marginalization, more hate, and more misguided anger.  Thank you, Mr. Lieberman.  Job well done.

Perhaps everyone should just hold off while evidence is gathered, witnesses interviewed, and even an interrogation of the accused before he’s condemned before a trial.  Remember, not only is Hasan an American citizen, he’s a Major in the Army.  It seems that the senator has jumped to conclusions, based either on the information currently available, or perhaps, more likely, due to the fact that Maj. Hasan is a Muslim and there’s a sense of blame associated with Muslims simply due to their chosen faith.  As if his being a Muslim automatically places him alongside Bin Laden and Mohammad Atta without so much as even receiving his Miranda rights.

More and more facts will rise to the surface as the days go by and the investigation continues.  Authorities say that they still don’t have a motive for the massacre, but regardless, there is no excuse.  It was an unconscionable act of violence that took 13 lives and changed countless more.  Perhaps we’ll find that this was part of some bigger plot.  Or maybe we’ll find that it was just a man who snapped and came undone in the worst way.

But like Sen. Lieberman said, it’s too early to tell.

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