Yesterday I was listening to the radio at work when the news of the Ft. Hood shootings was first reported.
I broke out in chills. I had flashbacks to the bombing of the USS Cole...an event that had me on the floor weeping at the flaccid response of our country. 9-11 did not hit me nearly as hard...the USS Cole was beginning of it all for me...a door opened and after that nothing really shocked me any more.
Shortly afterwards I headed home. It was impossible to focus on work knowing what was happening at Ft. Hood. While it was a warmish 70 degrees out, I found myself climbing under an electric blanket as I tuned into the news, hoping against hope that somehow it wasn't going to be as bad as it looked.
My former Texas Representative Kay Bailey Hutchinson was being interviewed for information by Fox News. When asked about the identity of the gunman, she declared she knew the name but was not officially cleared to release it.
The other networks had already released the name...and it was clearly a Middle Eastern surname.
Bailey remarked that the name was disturbing, a statement echoed by the Fox reporter. For a moment I was proud of Fox's sensitivity to the situation. The name was disturbing on many levels: I could imagine Americans becoming angry at Muslims. I could imagine Muslims fearing for their own well being in repercussion to the unfolding events.
Troubling thoughts indeed. It was well worth waiting until the facts could be well vetted lest there be a factual error.
More than one official agency has warned that it would not be too long before America would begin to experience what other countries have experienced already: Muslim terrorists acting out randomly, taking lives at will. Indeed, it is rather surprising that we haven't had an explosion in a crowded space as of yet.
Did this event mark the beginning of this foreshadowed future? I hope not. Yet...yet...as news continues to trickle out, it looks less and less to be an act of a troubled soldier and more and more like the deliberate act of terror.
I've heard remarks that in WWII, America did not send Japanese to fight in the Pacific war theater, and that America should refrain from sending people of middle eastern heritage to "fight against their own" in our current conflicts.
Excuse me..."their own" upon taking an oath of citizenship and becoming part of America's military means that "their own" is by definition no longer anyone but America and their military allies.
My family has personal experience with this. My maternal grandfather was born here in Salt Lake City to German immigrant parents, with German born siblings both younger and older than he was.
When World War I broke out, my grandfather and his American born sibling signed up to fight. They were sent to Europe and ultimately into the German front. People at home made comments about my grandfather's family...their German last name was looked down upon due to the German attack on our military.
It didn't take long for those comments to be rebuked: Sons of "those Germans" were now actively fighting FOR America IN Germany, where, incidentally, the boys had spent part of their childhood.
Knowing this bit of family history steels my spine against anyone who would suggest that a volunteer solider of any particular background or religion is entitled to take issue with their duties. It should go without saying that shooting up your fellow soldiers because of your familial heritage or religion is beyond the pale.
But apparently it isn't, and doesn't go without saying as I am already hearing murmurs that the shooter's actions were somewhat justified on those grounds.
Islam is a religion of peace we are told over and over again...even from the White House.
It is time, indeed long past time that people around the world should no longer find themselves embroiled in deadly conflicts begun at the hands of Islamics.
Is there any other religion actively blowing up people for their faith?
Personally I am also deeply disturbed by Mr. Obama's jovial news op wherein he pointed out an American Indian in the audience with a "shout out", and a misspoken identification of the Indian as a recipient of our highest Military honor.
Holy Cow. What a moment to confuse our highest military metal of honor for a civilian honor. Ouch, ouch, ouch....if anyone should know the difference it should be our "Commander in Chief".
Two minutes of congenial self congratulatory shit-chat (oops...I meant to type "chit-chat"...that previous vulgarity was a typo but I am going to let it stand just this once.....) and then Mr. Obama finally got around to expressing his deep concerns about the victims and their families at Ft. Hood.
The US Senate immediately observed a moment of silence in honor of our slain soldiers.
I wonder if Mr. Obama did likewise.
I doubt it.
So here we are, and here I am...wondering what comes next. Our unemployment numbers have risen again, a local man was one of the soldiers killed at Ft. Hood, another local man was one of those wounded.
There has been winds here strong enough to blow over our heavy barbeque grill in the back yard. The fall colors continue to blaze in the sunshine, and the wind kicked dust is making my sinuses uncomfortable. Winds of change...both metaphorically and seasonal blow around me.
I've got a lot to think about as I do my usual Friday tasks inside my home...cleaning and getting ready for a weekend of Indian Summer warmth.
And I'll wonder what else I should get ready for, outside my home, in the world that seems somehow more chilling than it used to.