As almost everyone now knows, Major Hasan killed twelve other soldiers and one civilian at Fort Hood, Texas. While he was shot by a police officer, he is currently in stable condition. Naturally, people are trying to figure out why this happened.
Not surprisingly, one possible explanation is that the attack was an act of terror. This, however, seems somewhat unlikely.
First, workplace violence, though not common, does occur. These cases are generally not acts of terror (in the technical sense) and hence this might also be true of this incident.
Second, it would be rather odd for a terrorist organization to “waste” such an inside agent on such an act. After all, if a terrorist group had a Major as an agent, it would be rather odd for them to tell him to shoot a few soldiers. Such an agent would be a vastly more valuable intelligence asset. Of course, it is not impossible that an agent would be used in this manner. Also, an agent might decide to act on his own.
Third, there seem to be adequate evidence that Hasan acted on his own and was motivated by personal reasons, rather than acting on behalf of a terrorist organization. After all, other soldiers have done similar things without being terrorists. Also, Fort Hood apparently has the highest number of suicides and it has been speculated that Hasan was attempting to commit suicide by cop. Of course, not all the evidence is yet available and things might change as new evidence is found.
However, there are some reasons to suspect that it might be a terror attack. First, Hasan is a Muslim. While officials are taking pains to say that this is not a reason that they are considering this possibility, obviously it is a factor that is being taken into account. Second, the incident took place on a military base.
While the event was horrible because people were murdered, the incident will also create additional damage. First, since Hasan is a Muslim, this incident will no doubt add to concerns about Muslims-especially those in the military. Second, this clearly adds to worries about the problems within the military in regards to soldier on soldier violence and the suicides that have been occurring in increasing numbers. Third, since Hasan was not just a soldier, but a psychiatrist and officer, this raises worries about the problems that the military is facing in regards to psychological issues.
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