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Fort Hood tightens restrictions on guns--what would stop "the next Hassan"? (Part IV)

Major Nidal Malik Hassan File Photo
US Army Major Nidal Malik Hassan.
(AP Photo/Uniformed Services University
of the Health Sciences, file)

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Need to catch up?  Start with Part I, Fort Hood tightens restrictions on guns--the wrong response, too late?
Readers who are also veterans have been pointing out that the "new" Fort Hood regulations are not new, but are common on US military installations.  However, a soldier currently stationed at Fort Hood tells the Chicago Gun Rights Examiner that he has been required to register his privately-owned firearms only since the November attack--and that even after the attack, he had been permitted to keep his firearms in his on-base housing until the new regulations took effect near the end of 2009.

In the last three installments of the Chicago Gun Rights Examiner, we've examined new, more onerous restrictions on military personnel who own "privately-owned firearms" while serving at Fort Hood in Texas. Today, in the final installment of the series, it's time to answer the most relevant question that the criticisms of Fort Hood's restrictive new firearm policies leave unanswered:

So registration and regulations won't work?  Fine--what measures  would stop "the next Hassan"?

As many reader comments seem to suggest, targeting specific weapons a terrorist might use is guaranteed to fail over time. Major Hassan's terrorist attack was not made possible by his ability to purchase the pistol he used; he took advantage of an opportunity to use that weapon, but if it had been unavailable, or if he had preferred something more effective, the pistol would never have been involved. The element that would have remained in any case is Major Hassan himself--and the only effective measures would have dealt with Major Hassan and his victims. This column has already repeated calls for American troops to be armed at all times and trained with that expectation in mind. There is no need to repeat that message in detail again, but the ridiculousness of having thousands of trained military personnel running around unarmed as our nation prepares to enter its ninth year of warfare against an asymmetrical enemy speaks for itself.

There's nothing novel about suggesting that military officers must be made to feel that they aren't going to face career-ending retaliation if they take steps to report and/or remove military personnel who express treasonous sentiments or indicate that they cannot or will not follow lawful orders. If you the reader think of this as belaboring the obvious, you are not alone.  Unfortunately, "the obvious" solution is not necessarily the easy solution; anyone who tries to create a culture that demands loyalty and willingness to follow orders in the U.S. military will certainly face charges of fascism, McCarthyism, racism, and any other -ism that seems likely to damage a reputation.  Although there's still time for more substantial changes to be made, Fort Hood's new regulations are worrisome signs that the powers that be think they can avoid doing the hard work of getting rid of terrorists in their own midst if only they make a convincing show of cracking down on the weapon the last terrorist used . . . but even if the next terrorist grants us the courtesy of doing only what he saw on TV the last time, it's hard to see how that could be enough.


  • Uncle Lar 5 years ago

    I find it hard to believe that a Major, a fairly high rank after all, could not find a way to access military grade weapons on an army base. Come on, the guy, nut job though he might be, was a medical doctor so must have had some smarts at one time. Surely he could have created some justification for checking out an M4 or SAW with a battle pack of ammo. For whatever reason he chose instead to arm himself with commercially available handguns which may have in fact saved more than a few lives given their limited effectiveness in comparison with any full auto battle rifle.

  • stella 5 years ago

    We must do more with ''color therapy'' with those that would do us harm. Base Commanders should do more community ''outreach programs''(just like FT.Hoods Commander did) with muslims and above all, we must have leaders like Gen.Casey and Barack Obama who feel that diversity is our strength and we mustn' jump to conclusions. (OK folks, sarcasim is off)
    The points in this article are well taken, troops should be armed at all times. More time must be spent on the firing range to ensure that our troops can aim better than the Police. The fact remains, we are on our own. This Administration, this culture of political correctness has no ambitions to protect the population at large.Looking through Janet Napolitanos eyes, those killed at Ft.Hood were potential right-wing ''extremists.
    One question I would like answered...where the hell were the MP's??

  • John Bates Thayer 5 years ago

    Don't ask! Don't tell!

  • Ron from Plainfield 5 years ago

    Uncle Lar said: "I find it hard to believe that a Major, a fairly high rank after all, could not find a way to access military grade weapons on an army base"

    That is because you probably havent been on a US army installation in a while. A doctor will not be issued a rifle. To "get one" he would have to check one out for range use and he could not just walk off the range with it.
    Plus lets assume he checked one out and "tried" to take this off the range by force or in a more sneaky manner. He would then have been confronted by soldiers most likely WITH weapons. No. he figured out the best way to get a weapon into an area where others would not have weapons. And seeing how he could not get a selective fire weapon (meaning he could only BUY semi-auto) he went for pistols that would allow the best concealment. This guy thought it out, picked his targets and acted like the animal he is. I wish some of those young soldiers would have had their M4s or sidearms.