Logan Laituri of Centurion’s Guild, in a blog post at Sojourners, asks the question, “Will violence have the last word at Fort Hood?” He’s worried that “malice and rage” and “unforgiving wrath” will be directed at mass murderer Major Nidal Malik Hasan, as well as about the possibility of capital punishment. Those may be legitimate questions, but what I think is more of a concern is that truth will get buried under a mountain of political correctness. Laituri’s piece is a good example. Despite being posted today (and thus having several days worth of news reports behind it), the author never mentions that Hasan is a Muslim, or anything else that might shed light on his motivations. Instead, he gives us this:
Major Hasan violated many assumptions that I held about potential gunmen; he was middle aged, a field grade officer (outranking about 95% of military members), had no spouse or children, heck, he even held a doctorate in mental health! Could some form of PTSD really have compelled him to snap? At least one news network is labeling his motivation as “compassion fatigue.” We may never know for sure what ultimately led Major Hasan to do what he did. Either way, as Christians, we know violence is not part of God’s intent and that in every form it counteracts Christ’s redemptive suffering on the Cross. It is with that knowledge we must also pray for the shooter himself.
Indeed, we must pray for Hasan, but we must also see to it that the truth is discovered and not buried in an effort to avoid hurting Muslims’ feelings. The idea that “compassion fatigue” might have sent Hasan off on a mass killing spree is an enormous stretch, as is the idea that post-traumatic stress disorder is somehow “contagious” (a notion being floated by, among others, the entirely predictable Susan Thistlethwaite of the UCC and Center for American Progress). What does seem to be known is that Hasan:
•shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he shot down his comrades in arms;
•thought the war against terrorism was a “war on Islam”;
•frequented a mosque in Virginia led by an imam with ties to terrorists, including two of the 9/11 killers;
•proselytized patients while at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, a gross breach of ethics that resulted in his being placed on probation for a time;
•lectured on the Koran in settings that were supposed to be on psychiatric issues;
•and most importantly, attempted to contact al-Qaeda.
There’s more, but that makes the point. I’m not suggesting that there are no factors involved in Hasan’s actions except religion, or that his murders should be blamed on Islam. Nor am I saying that Islam somehow “caused” this, or that all Muslims should be tarred with a broad brush labeled “Hasan.” However, acting as though his Muslim faith and associations contributed nothing to the massacre, as quite a few commentators (including some Christians) are doing, while inventing a heretofore unknown explanation for why psychiatrists and other caring professionals go on murderous rampages, is to stick one’s head in the sand and make truth the last victim of the Fort Hood killer.