Still early in the Ft. Hood shooting saga

 Work took me out in the boonies today. I have to say I like it because it is kind of unusual in this part-time job. It’s good to get out on a nice fall day and get paid to ride the country roads of the Big Thicket — America’s biological crossroads.

 A few thoughts regarding the Fort Hood shooting aftermath crossed my mind today after reading and hearing snippets of the Islam (and anyone else who aren’t white and conservative) haters on the radio. I won’t mention the names of any shows but they start with Beck and Limbaugh.

 First, I heard people calling the shooting an act of terrorism. They have all of these snippets of information from semi-official sources and even one of the eyewitnesses who claimed he heard the jihadist battle cry “Allahu Akbar phrase for “God is the Greatest.” Of course, one of the soldiers who said he heard the phrase shouted before the shooting began is now unsure that’s what the shooter said at all.

 I really don’t know what these right-wingers want. Expel from the military or the country anyone who is a Muslim? Why stop there? Surely lapsed Catholics are undesirables for the Limbaughs and Becks of the world. How about Episcopals who allow gay priests or bishops? Holy moley!

 Here is another thought. It is probably not being thought about by most of the population but I bet a lot of, especially senior, military officers are thinking about this. What will be the career  fate of Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, the commander of III Armored Corps and Fort Hood?

 When things go screwy in any officer’s command, especially one the size of Fort Hood, his or her career usually is left in shambles whether or not the mess up is their fault. I have heard of less senior officers and even senior enlisted men whose careers ended or were stuck on high center just because of something their kids had done. It’s all part of military justice. You know, that is to justice as military music is to music. Of course, I don’t agree with the music part.

 Likewise, I wonder about some facts of military justice provided Maj. Hasan goes to trial once he has healed enough to be arrested and charged for the alleged acts he committed.

 He already has a civilian attorney who specializes in military law. A former military judge named John Galligan. He already seems to be questioning venue. Normally, such a trial as Hasan might have would be a military court martial that is held at his command, which would be under the auspices of the accused’s commanders. The trial could also be held in federal court as often happens with civilians who commit crimes on a military reservation.

 Finally, the 800-pound gorilla in the room that’s helpless from a headlock applied by a 1-ton elephant, that being insanity.

 I honestly don’t know what all is involved in proving insanity in military courts. You don’t hear of it that often. That might tell you something. Of course, you don’t hear of military court martials that often unless it is of someone like the alleged “ring-leader” of Abu Ghraib, Pvt. Charles Graner, whose court martial was held in 2005 at Fort Hood. However, even though you don’t hear of court martials be assured they happen as regularly as military time.

 I read something about the standards for an insanity defense having changed in military courts since I left the service in the late 1970s. I’ll have to bone up and see if I can find something in the Manual for Courts-Martial. You just know that — even with evidence that might link Hasan with terrorists — that insanity is going to come up, provided he goes to trial. I say “provided” because no one knows what will happen once, or even if, Hasan survives his gunshots, and is arrested and charged in the military system. The other option is some damning evidence comes out about direct ties to the “Tangos” or terrorist, then the whole legal question becomes considerably more complicated.

 The case is still under investigation. The suspect is still critically wounded. The memorial service for the victims was today. It’s early in the Fort Hood shooting saga. Let’s try not to get ahead of ourselves. I will try to do the same, although I admit it isn’t easy.