Thursday, April 6, 2017

The latest hunger striker...

I think hunger strikes are stupid.  I have pretty much always felt that way.  Basically, they are emotionally manipulative appeals to the decency of people and they are often done by desperate people who have nothing to lose.  Why should I care if someone I don't know decides to go on a hunger strike?  Especially if the person is sitting in prison?

Well... as a decent person, I might care about most people who decide to stop eating for the sake of making a point.  But I can't seem to bring myself to care much about Fort Hood shooter, Nidal Hasan,  who is reportedly planning to go on a hunger strike.  Hasan, who once made his living as an Army psychiatrist, opened fire on unarmed soldiers at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009.  I remember very well when he committed his crime.  Bill and I had just moved to Georgia from Germany.  The day that Hasan shot up Fort Hood was horrifying, especially to those of us who had ties to the military.

It seems that even before Hasan had made his decision to kill 13 and wound 31 people, he was regarded as a bit strange.  During his internship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, superiors noted that Hasan was socially isolated and upset about accounts of warfare coming from other soldiers.  He made comments that were regarded as "anti-American".  Clearly, well before he committed his crimes, there were red flags that were obviously ignored by the powers that be.

It should be noted that Hasan was born in the United States and raised there by Palestinian parents who immigrated from the West Bank.  He and his two brothers were raised Muslim and moved from northern Virginia to Roanoke in 1985.  Having spent a significant amount of time in both of those areas, I can imagine that life in Roanoke was a culture shock to Hasan.  Roanoke is a rather provincial area and Muslims aren't exactly appreciated by a lot of the locals.  For that, he might have my sympathy.  It was probably tough going to high school there.

Still, he went on to join the Army after high school and eventually become a doctor.  He was a psychiatrist, for Christ sakes!  And he went on his shooting spree less than a month before he was due to deploy to Afghanistan.

I remember conversations I had with people online after Hasan's crime.  One woman, whom I used to bitch about quite frequently in this blog (the Voice of Reason) wanted to give Hasan the benefit of the doubt.  She criticized the military for being too anti-Muslim.  She seemed to feel that people in the Army asked to be murdered by one of their own due to the intense culture within the military and the fact that many of its members are Christian and don't respect Islam.

Maybe, if I weren't married to an Army officer who, thank God, wasn't at Fort Hood when Hasan opened fire, I might agree with her points somewhat.  However, besides the fact that the Voice of Reason was an insanely annoying person to me, there were many legal ways Hasan could have addressed his concerns without going on a shooting spree.  He didn't have to kill and maim people to make his point... although perhaps he was just crazy.  The fact that this man was a psychiatrist really shines a light on the quality of military healthcare... or lack thereof.

People in the military rely on camaraderie and brotherhood in order to survive.  Hasan was an Army officer and a doctor.  He was a trusted member of the community.  When he decided to kill his brothers and sisters that day, he did more than just commit mass murder.  He violated a sacred trust.

I really don't know what's going on in Hasan's mind right now.  He's apparently going on his strike to protest America's hatred for Sharia laws.  He must be crazy if he thinks most people in the military care about his decision to starve himself down to 99 pounds and maintain his weight at that level.  I doubt it will get that far, but even if it does, why should we care?  He's on death row anyway.  And even if he weren't on death row, what does self imposed starvation really do, other than make a person smaller and weaker?  Since Hasan was paralyzed when a Texas cop shot him, he's already smaller and weaker.

Count me among those who don't really care if Hasan decides to starve himself.  It sounds like he's not trying to die... he just wants to shame America.  Well, fuck him.

You go on and do you, Hasan.  It's time you went straight to Hell, anyway.


  1. I totally iagree. i read FROM HOUSEWIFE TO HERETIC and while I sympathized with some of Sonia Johnson's plight (I totally [retroactiveely] support the ERA but didn't believe everything she said in the book and think she has shown herself since then to be somewhat unbalanced), I thought her proposed hunger strike to protest Orrin Hatch's filibuster was ludicrous. Why would anyone who was opposed to the Equal Rights Amendment care if she starved and dehydrated herself to death on the steps of the capitol building? And while I support the plight of the U.S. farmworkers (and have even more sympathy for what they went through back in the day, when they had even fewer rights), Cesar Chavez's hunger strikes were nonsensical; people who opposed the rights of farmworkers didn't care if he ate or not. He hastened his death by going on so many hunger strikes. It would seem that preserving his health so that he could have fought the battle for longer might have been wiser. I think much of what Cesar Chavez did was great (I am the child of liberals who actually met Cesar Chavez and are very proud of having met him)but I think the hunger strikes were counter-productive. It's not totally unlike the child who holds his breath in attempt to get what he wants.

    Regarding Hasan, I'm good with his hunger strike. Go hungry and rid the world of yourself. And I understand why military families would feel even more strongly than I do. I have four first-cousins currently serving; they're in enough danger just based on where they might be deployed. The bad guys don't need help from traitors among our own forces. Let the bastard kill himself.

    1. Most of the comments I've seen are not very supportive of Hasan's hunger strike. It's ridiculous.


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