<< News Scan | Main | Repackaging Soft on Crime >>

The Fort Hood Killer

"62% Still Favor Death Penalty for Fort Hood Killer," reads the headline on this Rasmussen survey report.  My immediate reaction on seeing headline, of course, was "What's with the other 38%?"  The percentage favoring the death penalty for Timothy McVeigh was much higher.

In the text of the story, we see that only 16% are opposed, exactly the same as Gallup's tally for McVeigh.  The big difference here is the 21% not sure.  That is entirely understandable, as this case is still in the pretrial stage while the Gallup survey on McVeigh was after trial and sentencing.
Rasmussen finds a shift in the answer to this question, "Do you view the Fort Hood shootings as a terrorist act or a criminal act?"  That is not really a binary choice.  It is both.  Rasmussen's story reports the result like this:

At that time, however, 60% of voters thought the incident should be investigated by military authorities as a terrorist act, while just 27% felt it should be handled by civilian authorities as a criminal act. Now 38% of voters view the incident as a terrorist act, while 45% see it as a criminal one. Seventeen percent (17%) are undecided.

But the question didn't ask about handling by authorities or which authorities.  It only asked how to characterize the act. Given that Hasan was in the military and committed the act on post, of course it should be handled by military authorities.


The other thing is that the Ft. Hood case has receded in memory, and, although well covered at the time, was not nearly as publicized as the McVeigh massacre. In addition, McVeigh's crime was even more shocking since it (1) targeted civilians, including 19 toddlers at the day care center in the Murrah Building, and (2) had about 13 times the number of victims overall.

I believe another contributing factor is the absence of a massive wreckage being shown on the nightly news. Pictures of the Murrah Building are still ingrained in my memory. There are no similar photos of Ft. Hood.

Indelibly ingrained in my mind is the smug countenance of Hassan and the Army's multiple errors of omission and commission that allowed this massacre to occur.

Leave a comment

Monthly Archives