Shootings at Ft Hood, Texas

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Re: Shootings at Ft Hood, Texas

Postby christopher::: » Sun Nov 08, 2009 12:53 am

catmoon wrote:One thing is for sure. This incident is a Muslim PR disaster. The optics are terrible.


This is true.

Another attack leaves US Muslims fearing backlash

A Medic wrote:There are reports that he was being made fun of for being a Muslim. I find this whole incident shocking in many ways. For one he was a psychiatrist. I don't understand how he could do this being a psychiatrist. I just feel like he should have seen the signs in his self, and then know to get help. Unless he didn't want help.

Second I am a soldier in the Army reserves. To me the military is very much like a extended family. What shocked me the most was that a soldier did this to fellow soldiers. Generally from everything I have seen soldiers really do work to help take care of each other because there a re times when all we have is each other.

My hope is that something can be learned from this.


I hope so too. For one thing, I think Muslims in America often find themselves in a bit of an identity trap, and Muslims in the military even more so. Where is your loyalty, with whom do you identify? To fellow Americans, to the Army, to fellow Muslims around the world? If you try to do all simultaneously the result can be extreme psychological distress- what is called cognitive dissonance in psychology.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance

I think Christian soldiers face this as well, all soldiers do because of the inconsistancy of the views and beliefs most people hold. These various loyalties and identities don't always fit together easily or harmoniously...

So, people try to compartmentalize their identities and feelings. Strong emotions and thoughts don't follow simple patterns of logic easily though, don't fit neatly into compartments, and so can wreck havoc psychologically. Should Hasan have recognized this within himself? I dunno. He was a soldier, a psychiatrist dealing with stories of death and killing, a devout Muslim, an American and a bit of a loner... Not sure if all those different identities and loyalties could be easily dealt with by anyone, no matter how intelligent, on their own...

A related news article...

Suspect told 'There's something wrong with you'

By ANGELA K. BROWN and ALLEN G. BREED, Associated Press Writers

FORT HOOD, Texas – There was the classroom presentation that justified suicide bombings. Comments to colleagues about a climate of persecution faced by Muslims in the military. Conversations with a mosque leader that became incoherent. As a student, some who knew Nidal Malik Hasan said they saw clear signs the young Army psychiatrist — who authorities say went on a shooting spree at Fort Hood that left 13 dead and 29 others wounded — had no place in the military. After arriving at Fort Hood, he was conflicted about what to tell fellow Muslim soldiers about the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, alarming an Islamic community leader from whom he sought counsel.

"I told him, `There's something wrong with you,'" Osman Danquah, co-founder of the Islamic Community of Greater Killeen, told The Associated Press on Saturday. "I didn't get the feeling he was talking for himself, but something just didn't seem right." Danquah assumed the military's chain of command knew about Hasan's doubts, which had been known for more than a year to classmates in a graduate military medical program. His fellow students complained to the faculty about Hasan's "anti-American propaganda," but said a fear of appearing discriminatory against a Muslim student kept officers from filing a formal written complaint.

"The system is not doing what it's supposed to do," said Dr. Val Finnell, who studied with Hasan from 2007-2008 in the master's program in public health at the military's Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. "He at least should have been confronted about these beliefs, told to cease and desist, and to shape up or ship out." Military authorities continued Saturday to refer to Hasan as a suspect in the shootings, and have not yet said if they plan to charge him in a military or civilian court. His family described a man incapable of the attack, calling him a devoted doctor and devout Muslim who showed no signs that he might lash out with violence.

"I've known my brother Nidal to be a peaceful, loving and compassionate person who has shown great interest in the medical field and in helping others," said his brother, Eyad Hasan, of Sterling, Va., in a statement. "He has never committed an act of violence and was always known to be a good, law-abiding citizen."

Others recalled a pleasant neighbor who forgave a fellow soldier charged with tearing up his "Allah is Love" bumper sticker. A superior officer at Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood, Col. Kimberly Kesling, has said Hasan was a quiet man with a strong work ethic who provided excellent care for his patients.

Still, in the days since authorities believe Hasan fired more than 100 rounds in a soldier processing center at Fort Hood in the worst mass shooting on a military facility in the U.S., a picture has emerged of a man who was forcefully opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, was trying to get out of his pending deployment to a war zone and had struggled professionally in his work as an Army psychiatrist.

"He told (them) that as a Muslim committed to his prayers he was discriminated against and not treated as is fitting for an officer and American," said Mohammed Malik Hasan, 24, a cousin, told the AP from his home on the outskirts of the Palestinian city of Ramallah. "He hired a lawyer to get him a discharge."

Twice this summer, Danquah said, Hasan asked him what to tell soldiers who expressed misgivings about fighting fellow Muslims. The retired Army first sergeant and Gulf War veteran said he reminded Hasan that these soldiers had volunteered to fight, and that Muslims were fighting against each other in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Palestinian territories. "But what if a person gets in and feels that it's just not right?" Danquah recalled Hasan asking him.

"I'd give him my response. It didn't seem settled, you know. It didn't seem to satisfy," he said. "It would be like a person playing the devil's advocate. ... I said, `Look. I'm not impressed by you.'" Danquah said he was so disturbed by Hasan's persistent questioning that he recommended the mosque reject Hasan's request to become a lay Muslim leader at Fort Hood. But he never saw a need to tell anyone at the sprawling Army post about the talks, because Hasan never expressed anger toward the Army or indicated any plans for violence. "If I had an inkling that he had this type of inclination or intentions, definitely I would have brought it to their attention," he said.

Finnell said he did just that during a year of study in which Hasan made a presentation "that justified suicide bombing" and spewed "anti-American propaganda" as he argued the war on terror was "a war against Islam." Finnell said he and at least one other student complained about Hasan, surprised that someone with "this type of vile ideology" would be allowed to wear an officer's uniform.

But Finnell said no one filed a formal, written complaint about Hasan's comments out of fear of appearing discriminatory. "In retrospect, I'm not surprised he did it," Finnell said. "I had real questions about what his priorities were, what his beliefs were."
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Shootings at Ft Hood, Texas

Postby pink_trike » Sun Nov 08, 2009 2:03 am

The umbrella mental formation known as "religion" creates conditions of mind that very frequently give rise to all sorts of negative beliefs and behaviors, but it is taboo in our religion-obsessed culture to critically examine this meta-level mental formation. It casts a large dark shadow that is ignored by those who stand under its umbrella.
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Re: Shootings at Ft Hood, Texas

Postby christopher::: » Sun Nov 08, 2009 4:46 am

Hi pink trike,

Well, i agree on some points. We do have various cultural taboos which need to be brought into the light of attention. And there are cohesive belief formations held by groups that are branded "religious" which give rise to shared identity and values. These group-specific beliefs help members determine right from wrong, acceptable from nonacceptable/taboo.

But religion is just one way of creating identity, one umbrella for a cultural set of beliefs and values. It's not the sole mechanism at work. The Chinese have done violence to Tibetans in the name of Communism and a nationalistic sense of identity. Organized gangs like the yakuza in Japan, or druglords in Colombia have their own specific subcultures & social norms- defining acceptable/unacceptable group-level values, beliefs and behaviors.

In the U.S. (and in various countries around the world) many who identify themselves as Muslim tend to emphasize the nonviolent teachings of Islam. If you read the comments of Osman Danquah in that article I just shared he seems to identify most strongly with the U.S. Army, as the group to which he and Hasan should have loyalty.

Hasan's identification with extremist Muslim views and beliefs is not the norm in the United States, though it might be more common in other nations. In the U.S. my sense is that nationalistic identification has a stronger correlation with acceptance and promotion of military values then does identification with the umbrella notion of religion.

It's very much worth examining and discussing these meta-level cultural factors though, I do agree with you there.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Shootings at Ft Hood, Texas

Postby adamposey » Sun Nov 08, 2009 4:57 am

It this man was a Christian we would not be having this conversation. He would just be called out of his mind, and that would be that. I am disappointed in the news media, and disappointed in my fellow Americans that they have allowed this to impact the American muslim community the way it has, and the way it will.

A white, christian, man can drive a car full of explosives into a garage, and declare he did it for God, and no one would dare even include his religion in his rationale. It's just so disappointing to watch this go on. I have nothing but the greatest sympathy for Muslim Americans right now.
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Re: Shootings at Ft Hood, Texas

Postby pink_trike » Sun Nov 08, 2009 6:30 am

adamposey wrote:
A white, christian, man can drive a car full of explosives into a garage, and declare he did it for God, and no one would dare even include his religion in his rationale.

Yes, this is what I meant by my previous post. There's a blind spot there that needs light shone on it...why is it that we nearly always choose not to believe them and don't address it directly?
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Re: Shootings at Ft Hood, Texas

Postby notself » Sun Nov 08, 2009 6:32 am

I agree. No one started beating up Irish when Timothy McVeigh blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. The Irish Republican Army was a terrorist organization at that time. No news reporters suggested a link between McVeigh and the IRA.
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103
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Re: Shootings at Ft Hood, Texas

Postby pink_trike » Sun Nov 08, 2009 8:50 am

christopher::: wrote:Hi pink trike,

Well, i agree on some points. We do have various cultural taboos which need to be brought into the light of attention. And there are cohesive belief formations held by groups that are branded "religious" which give rise to shared identity and values. These group-specific beliefs help members determine right from wrong, acceptable from nonacceptable/taboo.

But religion is just one way of creating identity, one umbrella for a cultural set of beliefs and values. It's not the sole mechanism at work. The Chinese have done violence to Tibetans in the name of Communism and a nationalistic sense of identity. Organized gangs like the yakuza in Japan, or druglords in Colombia have their own specific subcultures & social norms- defining acceptable/unacceptable group-level values, beliefs and behaviors.

In the U.S. (and in various countries around the world) many who identify themselves as Muslim tend to emphasize the nonviolent teachings of Islam. If you read the comments of Osman Danquah in that article I just shared he seems to identify most strongly with the U.S. Army, as the group to which he and Hasan should have loyalty.

Hasan's identification with extremist Muslim views and beliefs is not the norm in the United States, though it might be more common in other nations. In the U.S. my sense is that nationalistic identification has a stronger correlation with acceptance and promotion of military values then does identification with the umbrella notion of religion.

It's very much worth examining and discussing these meta-level cultural factors though, I do agree with you there.


Yes, there are many other meta-level mental formations besides religion...nationalism, politics, gender, class, etc...but some get more critical examination than others in our culture. When someone commits a violent act and attributes it to nationalism or class we tend to believe them. When someone commits a violent act and attributes it to religious motivations there is a tendency to scramble to find alternative reasons to explain their actions or to ignore that they said it for fear that the meta-level mental formation of religion will be critically examined...similar to how when there is an alcoholic in a family, meta level examination of the use of alcohol is taboo. Religion is tip-toe'd around in our culture for fear of an explosion of defensiveness if it is looked at criticaly...just like family members tip toe around the issue alcoholism in a alcohol-dysfunctional family.
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Re: Shootings at Ft Hood, Texas

Postby christopher::: » Sun Nov 08, 2009 9:14 am

Well, I think there are a number reasons for our difficulty. First, for Americans especially, if we start to dig more deeply into this we'll have to confront the "umbrella" culture of militarism. This is the condoning of violence, for means of defense and vengence, against strangers in foreign lands. It's not a religious dynamic, but has deep roots. It means we have to question nationalism, which is probably as much a taboo as confronting religious identification.

Down thru the ages religion has indeed been a carrier of violence condoning memes, of militarism and vengence seeking. But within most religious traditions there exist very specific "antidotes" to this tendency for violence that we speak of. Islam teaches peace and compassion, as did Jesus, and the Buddha.

So religion is *not* the underlying root cause or problem, imo. When people from various religious traditions support violence their minds have been hijacked by dualistic beliefs and hatred, mutations of values which do not usually reflect the peaceful intentions and views of their founders...
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
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Re: Shootings at Ft Hood, Texas

Postby pink_trike » Sun Nov 08, 2009 9:21 am

christopher::: wrote:Well, I think there are a number reasons for our difficulty. First, for Americans especially, if we start to dig more deeply into this we'll have to confront the "umbrella" culture of militarism. This is the condoning of violence, for means of defense and vengence, against strangers in foreign lands. It's not a religious dynamic, but has deep roots. It means we have to question nationalism, which is probably as much a taboo as confronting religious identification.

Down thru the ages religion has indeed been a carrier of violence condoning memes, of militarism and vengence seeking. But within most religious traditions there exist very specific "antidotes" to this tendency for violence that we speak of. Islam teaches peace and compassion, as did Jesus, and the Buddha.

So religion is *not* the underlying root cause or problem, imo. When people from various religious traditions support violence their minds have been hijacked by dualistic beliefs and hatred, mutations of values which do not usually reflect the peaceful intentions and views of their founders...


As I was saying...the mental formation of religion always gets a pass. ;)
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Re: Shootings at Ft Hood, Texas

Postby christopher::: » Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:06 am

pink_trike wrote:
As I was saying...the mental formation of religion always gets a pass. ;)


Always? To the best of my knowledge Fox News has never given the the religion of Islam such a pass...



I just think as Buddhists we are encouraged to look deeper, when seeking to understand and unravel the root causes of dukkha....

:buddha1:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
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Re: Shootings at Ft Hood, Texas

Postby adamposey » Sun Nov 08, 2009 2:49 pm

If this man were a buddhist all of us would be lumped in with him. I'm disgusted at the news media for their allowance of this behavior by their reporters and commentators. This is just so frustrating, there's not a single popular world religion that condones this kind of violence.
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Re: Shootings at Ft Hood, Texas

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Nov 08, 2009 4:07 pm

I wonder if there is a way to blend the two views expressed here and probably other places? There is the pc view that religion has nothing to do with it and there is the other view that religion has everything to do with it.

I wonder if it would be acceptable for both sides to meld together and say that at least one of the factors was religious zealotry run amok. That is religious fundamentalism, which is actually a corrupted version of their religion, not the true teachings of the prophet (peace be upon him). Seen in this way, religion can be seen as a factor, but when taken or interpreted in the wrong way.

For example, in the instances that involved Christian violent actions, such as the IRA, the attacks on abortion doctors, etc., clearly their religious zealotry was at work. But was that the teachings of Christ? Of course not, from what I have read in the New Testament. But the teachings in all religions get twisted and corrupted, usually from fundamentalism or zealotry gone too far.

Another example: When I lived in Israel, the very orthodox religious Jews were upset that some Jews drove cars and worked on the Sabbath (Saturday). The religious Jews will not even turn on an electric switch during the sabbath. They turn on all lights (except bedroom) before the sabbath starts and they stay on all day long. They will not turn on a stove or do the slightest bit of work other than praying. This is how strict they observe the sabbath. But at one period of time, in their anger they reacted to the non-religious Jews who were driving on the sabbath by throwing stones at their cars (on the sabbath). In at least one occasion they installed a wire from one post to another going across the street so that a motorcyclists' head would be severed driving down that road. All of these actions are work related, setting up these devices and throwing stones, but in their zealotry, felt they were doing the right thing.
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Re: Shootings at Ft Hood, Texas

Postby pink_trike » Sun Nov 08, 2009 7:27 pm

I'm not saying that religion is the sole motivation when acts of violence are done in its name. I'm just suggesting that as a society we would benefit by closely acknowledging and examining this particular meta-level filter...it is taboo in our culture to step back and deconstruct this filter and the negative effects that lurk in its unexamined shadow. There are many unconscious filters that we have trouble seeing and deconstructing...for example, wealthy people often can't see their filter of class, poor people often can't see their poverty mentality filter, heterosexual people often can't see their filter of heterosexuality, gay people often can't see their gay filter, political people often can't see the political filter, and religious people often can't see the religion filter. The Dharma teaches us to see through and dissolve all filters, but in our hyper-religious culture it is very rare that the filter of religion is even acknowledged let alone deconstructed or dissolved. When a filter is clung to too tightly and held to be too precious to examine critically - to the point of not even being consciously aware that it is a filter, its shadow becomes dangerous. Its true that most religions incorporate some way of containing violence, but unacknowledged is that its very structure and mechanics also create the conditions for dissatisfaction, mental illness, and violence.

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Re: Shootings at Ft Hood, Texas

Postby Lampang » Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:29 am

Mass murder is surely as American as apple pie so why does his action become some cipher for Islam, rather than a straight-forward instance of problem-solving in a pathologically violent society?
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Re: Shootings at Ft Hood, Texas

Postby pink_trike » Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:49 am

Lampang wrote:Mass murder is surely as American as apple pie so why does his action become some cipher for Islam, rather than a straight-forward instance of problem-solving in a pathologically violent society?


From a CNN report. There is also more detailed information about his belief that the war is a war on his religion.

---

Dr. Val Finnell, a former medical school classmate of Hasan's, described him as "a very outspoken opponent of the war" in the classroom and in public settings.

"He equated the war against terror with a war against Islam," Finnell said. He added that he was shocked by Thursday's shooting. "However, that said, given the things that Maj. Hasan has said to me in the past and to other people, I am not surprised."
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Re: Shootings at Ft Hood, Texas

Postby adamposey » Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:14 am

Lampang wrote:Mass murder is surely as American as apple pie so why does his action become some cipher for Islam, rather than a straight-forward instance of problem-solving in a pathologically violent society?


What's scary is that we're all armed to the teeth too. I know four or five people personally that could easily arm and supply a small militia (20-30 people?) for probably several days worth of intense military combat.
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Re: Shootings at Ft Hood, Texas

Postby christopher::: » Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:35 am

Looks like Fox News is keeping a close watch on this story... and have promised to stay alert to the new Muslim terrorist threat "within," in order to protect Americans...



In line with David's points, is there a middle ground, of awareness/compassion, that we can move towards? Where we don't turn away from being critical of religious groups that promote violence, but at the same time don't point our fingers of blame at specific religions, or all religions, as being the cause of all this?

Dig in deep, examine why violence is such a part of various cultures.

Find a middle way, a wise way, with both eyes and hearts open...

Will the gun lobby allow this to be attempted?

:hug: :jedi:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
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Re: Shootings at Ft Hood, Texas

Postby Ben » Mon Nov 09, 2009 6:09 am

My heart goes out to all who are suffering as a result of this tragedy.
May wisdom, peace and compassion prevail.
May all those who suffer be soothed by the balm of metta and karuna and find liberation from samsara.
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Re: Shootings at Ft Hood, Texas

Postby Thales » Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:20 am

adamposey wrote:If this man were a buddhist all of us would be lumped in with him. I'm disgusted at the news media for their allowance of this behavior by their reporters and commentators. This is just so frustrating, there's not a single popular world religion that condones this kind of violence.


Hard to believe when the Quran itself literally tells muslims to "strike at the necks" of infidels, among other things. It's been awhile since I read it though, perhaps I'm taking it out of context, I mean, insofar as such violent passages in "holy texts" can be...
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Re: Shootings at Ft Hood, Texas

Postby PeterB » Tue Nov 10, 2009 10:44 am

'For a succinct and very penetrating analysis of this situation I would recommend a look at Gregory Wonderwheel's view of this incident On Zen Forum International under a heading which starts "shootings ".
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