In the Wake of Tragedy

Chris Mickens
Fort Hood, Texas

Fort Hood, Texas

The shooting that took place Tuesday Nov. 5th at Fort Hood that killed 12 people and wounded 31 has left the nation wondering what pushed Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan over the edge.  Many mental health professionals are attributing the breakdown to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) considering the fact that Hasan, a 39-year old Army psychiatrist from Virginia, was facing imminent deployment to Afghanistan. Others are questioning his religious motives and using his Muslim background and Palestinian heritage to infer a possible connection to Islamic fundamentalists.

At this point, Hasan is in the hospital in critical but stable condition and remains the only person who can shed some light on the cause of this tragedy. In the absence of a definitive explanation, the media is full of individuals placing blame and pushing agendas. From the President to the military to the Islamic religion, it seems that everyone is at fault for these central Texas slayings, but only one man opened fire.

Acts of terror do more than endanger lives - they threaten our way of life.  The seeds of anger, fear and mistrust that are sown in violence will grow roots and weaken our nation as we focus on political witch hunts and blame-shifting. It is unlikely that the brave men and women of Fort Hood would wish to see their deaths used in such a manner.

As President Obama said about the fallen soldiers at the Tuesday memorial ceremony, “Their lives speak to the strength, the dignity and the decency of those who serve, and that is how they will be remembered.”

Pointing fingers dishonors that strength and that decency and besmirches the memory of those who perished. We can all take responsibility without blindly assigning blame.  We can all use this as an opportunity to improve upon our level of service and not as an opportunity to disparage our opposition.

We owe the victims of Fort Hood at least that much.

Chris Mickens was born in Heerlen, Nederland and raised in Germany and the south United States in an Air Force family. She is a graphic designer and web developer and currently resides in the village of Oak Park, IL where she is a principal at Educo Web Design.