Once again, an American soldier has gone on a rampage, shooting other American soldiers.
What makes this news even more remarkable than usual is the fact that the shooter is more than a soldier -- he's a doctor -- and a psychiatrist!
Oh -- and he's Muslim.
Major Dr. Nidal Malik Hasan reportedly opened fire against fellow soldiers, wounding several dozen, and killing at least 13 (at last count).
Which feature of this deeply divided psyche moved such a man to storm his own base, and blast his own comrades at Fort Hood, Texas? Doctor? Hardly. Psychiatrist? Doubtful. Major? Unlikely. Muslim? Hmmm...
The answers to these questions may take some time. Major Dr. Hasan, shot by responding security, is reportedly in a coma (albeit in stable condition), unable to provide any.
But given what we know of the transcendent power of religious belief, we can't say such elements are unimportant.
Early reports (which are notoriously unreliable) suggest Maj. Dr. Hasan had expressed an unwillingness to ship out to his next posting in Afghanistan, and ancient Muslim community with growing nationalist resistance to U.S. (and Western) occupation.
Major Dr. Hasan, born in America, was and American citizen; born, educated and raised.
In his professional capacity as an army psychiatrist, he undoubtedly heard the deepest fears, hatreds, and perhaps racist revulsions against Arabs and Muslims, as expressed by his military comrades.
What kind of stresses and conflicts could this have sparked in the man's mind?
This act may prove to be the ultimate act against the wars in and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq -- not by a terrorist madman, nor by and anti war leftist, but by an American soldier, an officer (and presumably a gentleman), a doctor and a psychiatrist.
Perhaps this was his verdict on the 'war on terrorism.'
[NOTE: This is a rewritten version: 11/6/09] (c) '09 Mumia Abu-Jamal
The Power of Truth is Final -- Free Mumia!
URGENT Need for Petition Signatures at: http://www.iacenter.org/mumiapetition/
Audio of most of Mumia's essays are at: http://www.prisonradio.org
Mumia's got a podcast! Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Essays - Subscribe at the website or on iTunes and get Mumia's radio commentaries online.
Mumia Abu-Jamal's new book -- JAILHOUSE LAWYERS: PRISONERS DEFENDING PRISONERS V. THE USA, featuring an introduction by Angela Y. Davis -- has been released! It is available from City Lights Books: http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100448090