It’s sad to say, but I had actually forgotten about the horrific tragedy at Fort Hood back in 2009. Major Nidal Hasan killed 13 and wounded 30 plus victims. He is now uses a wheelchair due to injuries sustained during his reign of terror. The latest judge on the case, JAG (Judge Advocate General) Col. Tara Osborn has decided that Hasan will be permitted to defend himself during the trial. He has been cleared by the proper medical staff for this task.
Hasan had hoped to state that he committed this heinous act to protect Islāmic Emirate of Afghanistan and the leadership of the Taliban, including Mullah Mohammad Omar. Judge Osborn will not allow this defense as she could not find any practical threat at that time to anyone in Afghanistan. Hasan forgot that when of his rampage he was a member in the U.S. Army and was in no way entitled to kill ANY U.S. Soldiers or civilians. We will have to wait and see what his defense will end up being.
The question before us is whether it even makes sense to seek the death penalty for Major Hasan. It’s my personal feeling that If there are practical witnesses to the heinous act that was committed, then that person of course deserves the death penalty. But deserving it doesn’t always make sense to pursue it. If you know that the process itself is going to take decades to complete, then realistically the idea of all the time and money that goes into the prosecution of a death penalty and what it does emotionally to the victims and their families seems senseless. The fact however remains that we are looking to punish criminals for the acts that they commit. This is and will remain hard to do when the rights of criminals get in the way of the rights of the innocent. I feel that it doesn’t help the families of the victims to have to live through long drawn out appeals by the accused, attempting to escape their sentence. The survivors and their families and the families of the victims shouldn’t have to lay in wait for decades unable to move past the horrific tragedy they already had to endure.
This is a daunting task before all those involved. I wish them peace and success.
As the saying goes often “Justice is Blind”.