Now it can be told: I knew some people in Fort Wayne whose son-in-law was shot in one of these incidents like the one yesterday. It was also at a military base; it was what’s come to be known as the Fort Bragg sniper incident of 1995.
Now it can be told because I didn’t tell it then. It would have been a fine localization for a national story, but not everything has to be localized, especially when a man is fighting for his life for weeks and months on end. From what I recall of their account, the soldier/shooter took a bead on a row of officers overlooking an athletic field and started moving down the line. The first man was killed, the second one paralyzed. I think my friends’ son-in-law had just enough time to react, and was shot in the abdomen. He nearly died, but he didn’t, and when he recovered he was transferred to a teaching position at West Point.
I wonder if they gave him a Purple Heart. I’ve come to think of these incidents as skirmishes in America’s war on…something, even as I know they’ve happened elsewhere in the world. They still seem so uniquely American.
I haven’t had the heart to really go looking for reaction to yesterday’s news from Fort Hood. This is one of those stories where I think I’m going to stick to the best of the official accounts and stay out of Blogland. Recalling the reaction to the Virginia Tech shootings, I don’t want to accidentally run across John Derbyshire calling American soldiers a bunch of cowards for not “taking him down while he was reloading,” which I recall was one of his gems of insight following Mr. Cho’s rampage. I’ve already heard that soldiers on the base don’t walk around armed, and I’m sure that even as we speak, some keyboard warrior is calling that policy pussified, that they need to be strapped at all times. I might even agree. When it comes to guns and violence and crazy, maybe the whole country is a war zone.
At this point it seems the decent response is to maintain respectful, alert silence while we wait for the fact-finding to find some facts.
And how convenient: This attitude meshes perfectly with my need to be at a meeting in 30 minutes, and get out of here early. May I just say before I go, however, how much I enjoyed all of your comments yesterday, about how you found yourselves here at NN.C, whatever path you took. One of the coolest things about this site, no, the coolest thing, is the comment chorus, and how my part is only prelude, like in “Henry V.” Last summer I had lunch with an out-of-town friend who said he never misses a day, etc.
“And how about those comments?” I said.
“I don’t read the comments,” he replied.
WhAAA? Rob, if you’re reading, you’re missing the best part.
Now to wash my face. Defeating Eric in the crossword will have to wait. I’m running late.