Nidal Hasan is currently going through a hearing to determine if he will have a court martial for the Fort Hood shooting. It’s unfortunate that Hasan was only paralyzed during that incident, but the military justice system is likely to finish the job. His actions were disgusting, and the soldiers and police officer who fought back were honorable. In this article, though, I want to look at a few tangential points that the shooting brings up.
Have a look at the weapon that Hasan used:
The author of that review gushes over this piece, but the important points escape nonetheless. This gun is a .22–all right, .224. According to news reports, Hasan fired over a hundred rounds, killing thirteen and wounding thirty-two. I’m glad that he chose a weeny pistol. Imagine what would have happened if he had used the .357 that he is also supposed to have been carrying. The civilian police officers who stopped Hasan are said to have hit him with shots from 9mm Berettas, but that only paralyzed him.
What do we learn from this? Small caliber weapons require small targets or precision hits. In a firefight, the target is the bad guy’s center of mass, and for that, big bullets are the way to win. In the interest of full disclosure, I acknowledge that I carry a .32 on occasion (legally, in case you’re wondering) whenever that’s all that I can conceal, but I accept the lesson that when throwing an ice pick, I’d better be on point. A bowling ball gives a bigger margin for error. Our military and many police forces are saddled with 9mm pistols. This makes no sense, as those who are in uniform don’t often need to conceal their sidearms. .45 acp is a great round, and there are many good pistols that shoot it.
Beyond ballistic considerations, the shooting raises two other points. Hasan started his attack in a room full of soldiers. Clearly, unarmed combat training isn’t doing what it needs to do. As I wrote, those who fought back acted honorably, but our soldiers need to have the skills to take down an armed man when they are themselves unarmed. The job of a soldier is to kill the enemy (see the speeches of Patton), and any other duty is secondary.
But why were those soldiers unarmed in the first place? Apparently, those who serve in our armed forces are required to go unarmed on base. Gun control advocates argue that those who serve in the police and the military are the only ones who ought to carry weapons. Here we find out that even those worthy people aren’t to be trusted all the time. Imagine what would have happened if the soldiers in the room had all been armed. A hail of bullets, even be they 9mm, from trained shooters would have put the wacko terrorist down.
What we learn from this incident is that the bad guys will be armed, if not entirely ready, and they will commit horrific acts before they are stopped. We who are the good guys need to be able to respond effectively. We have the natural right, but we need the support of law.