A lot of people were shocked by the shootings at Fort Hood. Should they have been?
Rick Anderson of Village Voice Media takes a look at how the Army handles issues of soldiers under stress, including a sergeant from Texas man who shot up a clinic in Iraq.
In many respects, Sgt. [John M.] Russell's case mirrors the subsequent slaughter of 13 officers and soldiers on November 5 by another suicidal Army shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, at another Army clinic, in Fort Hood, Texas. Hasan's alleged crime is the worst mass shooting ever at a U.S. military base. Both shooters were stereotypical loners, according to the Army: failing at their jobs, growing angrier and more suicidal, and eventually choosing unsuspecting troops at Army clinics as their victims. The Army apparently missed warning signs at Fort Hood, where the investigation is ongoing. It now admits it missed warning signs at Camp Liberty, where an investigation is complete.
Those looking for answers to Hasan's Texas massacre might find some in Russell's Iraq bloodbath. Like psychiatrist Hasan, psychiatric patient Russell was apparently breaking down in plain sight with no one noticing. Their cases have also thrown a fresh spotlight on the issues of murder and mental health in the military.
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The full story is available on our website. Read "Non-Combatant Deaths: Another Casualty of War" here.