Just over two years after the Ford Hood shooting massacre, family members and victims filed a lawsuit on Thursday. Eighty claimants are asking for a total of $750 million in damages from the Department of the Army, Department of Justice, Department of Defense and the FBI. The suit is seeking compensation for the governmental departments’ alleged negligence allowing Major Nidal Hasan to murder and wound.
On November 5, 2009, Hasan, an Army psychiatrist working at the military base’s Darnall Army Medical Center, assumedly opened fire inside Ford Hood’s Soldier Readiness Processing Center. (The processing center is used for medically assessing soldiers before being deployed overseas or after they return). Armed with two non-military-issued handguns, Hasan allegedly killed 13 and wounded 31 people. Most of the victims were military personnel, but at least two were civilians.
Civilian and military police officers were dispatched to the scene. The bloodbath ended when Officer Kimberly Munley shot Hasan four times. Hasan survived and is now paralyzed from the waist down. He awaits his March 2012 court martial trial.
Of the claimants, at least eight are family members of those who were killed and ten are surviving victims of the shootings. Officer Munley is one of them. Munley stated, “I brought this claim because I strongly believe this tragedy was totally preventable, and that the Army swept under the rug what they knew about Hasan.” (Source: Reuters)
On the same day of the shooting two years ago, The New York Times reported that a colleague of Hasan, retired Colonel Terry Lee, stated that Hasan was against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and that he also did not want to be deployed to the Middle East. The lawsuit however suggests different motives and blames the Army, FBI, DOD and DOJ for not viewing Hasan as a potential threat.
Family members and victims of the Fort Hood shooting are claiming that Hasan’s attack was fueled by his extremist ideologies. The lawyer representing the claimants, Attorney Neal Sher, comments on how Hasan was recklessly promoted to his military psychiatry position, stating, “It is a sad commentary on our avowed war on terror that the government deliberately refused to take even minimal steps to neutralize the clear threat posed by Hasan, who made no secret of, and actually boasted about, his anti-American and jihadist views.” (Source: CNN News)
Whether the attack was fuelled by a man snapping because he did not want to be sent to Afghanistan or by an act of terrorism, the loss of life at Fort Hood was pure tragedy. Whether the Department of Homeland Security should or should not have gotten involved in the investigation, and whether or not the Army should have anticipated the tragedy, thirteen innocent victims were killed on their home soil.