read this in its entirety. one of the best things i’ve read in a while.
Close Read: From Texas to Afghanistan
What are we asking of our military? And what kind of refuge was Fort Hood? We don’t know why Major Nidal Malik Hasan did what he did. He hadn’t been in Iraq or Afghanistan, though he worked, as a psychiatrist, with soldiers who were, and who came back troubled. According to the Times, his cousin said that
He was mortified by the idea of having to deploy…. He had people telling him on a daily basis the horrors they saw over there.
How must it have been, for soldiers home and recovering from those horrors, to hear the gunfire and the chaos when Hasan is alleged to have opened fire at Fort Hood yesterday? It’s often mentioned that returning soldiers can have a hard time accepting that they are somewhere safe—that an idling car is not a potential suicide bomber. (In William Finnegan’s piece for the New Yorker last year on a Marine who killed himself and his brother, the man’s wife described how “He’d hear a car coming up our gravel road here and he’d just hit the floor, just bam, because the tires crunching sounded like machine-gun fire to him.”) It is awful to think that, for some of them, the process may have taken several steps back. There is so much to mourn here.