Fort Hood rampage: Shooter acted alone, officials say. But why?
Dozens of investigators at Fort Hood are building a psychological profile of the suspect, Nidal Malik Hasan, as they try to understand the motive. Belligerent fanaticism, deepening anger over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and fear about deployment may have played a role.
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According to a Washington Post account, he once called the police on a neighbor for allegedly keying his car and removing a bumper sticker that said in Arabic, "Allah is love."Skip to next paragraph
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Colleagues reported that Hasan had become increasingly agitated, sometimes belligerent, about America's role in the Muslim world. A former colleague told Fox News that Hasan had praised the shooting of two Army recruiters by a "lone wolf jihadist" earlier this year in Little Rock, Ark. His online writings had gotten the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which investigated but took no action against Hasan.
Last Thursday, Hasan reportedly yelled "Allahu Akbar" – "God is great" in Arabic – before allegedly opening fire on soldiers in various stages of deployment and return at Fort Hood's Soldier Readiness Processing Center.
That the Army had not picked up on clues from Hasan – in fact, it even promoted him to major last year despite some negative marks on his record – is likely to become a secondary line of inquiry in the Hasan case.
On Sunday, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I) of Connecticut announced that he wants to lead a congressional investigation into the Fort Hood shootings. He wants to find out "whether the Army missed warning signs" about Hasan, he said on "Fox News Sunday."
One potential issue: Did political correctness around religious issues prevent Army officials from investigating Hasan's issues more deeply?
"His faith may have exposed him to verbal abuse, but did it also protect him from being identified as someone with troubling emotional problems?" asks the columnist Joan Smith in Britain's Independent newspaper.] "[I]t is reasonable to ask whether secular authorities have the confidence to tell the difference between religious fervour of a kind they're not familiar with and genuinely disturbed behaviour."
As of now, it appears to many that Hasan may have been unable to reconcile two identities – US soldier and a Muslim – and that the two identities clashed in violent opposition as he approached a major personal landmark – his own deployment to a war zone that he had seen create challenges for so many young people.
For many at Fort Hood, though, those are just psychobabble excuses. "To be honest, I don't care about that guy right now," says Third Corps Sgt. Christopher Gray.
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