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Tomorrow's editorials: Warning signs in Fort Hood

Here's a preview of an editorial we're working on. Let us know what you think. The best comments will appear alongside it in the print edition.

--Despite what now seem like obvious warning signs that Fort Hood shooting suspect Maj. Nidal M. Hasan was troubled, it would perhaps be a stretch to conclude that Army officials should have anticipated that he posed a danger and acted before he could. In truth, there is no way to know when someone will pick up a gun and commit such a horrible act of violence. But it is fair to wonder whether the Army missed signs that indicated he was not suited for counseling soldiers traumatized by war.

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The fact that Major Hasan received counseling while a psychiatry resident at Walter Reed Army Medical Center is not in itself a red flag -- it is apparently common, given the nature of their work -- but other signs, such as his inappropriate speeches about his radical vision of Islam in professional contexts, should have singled him out for greater scrutiny. Fellow doctors found his behavior odd, and he led an increasingly isolated life as his opposition to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq grew stronger. His complaints of anti-Muslim harassment should also have gotten the attention of his superiors. The Army can't countenance a soldier trying to avoid being sent to war, but when that soldier's job is to safeguard the mental health of others, it can't ignore signs of instability either.

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