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The tragedy at Fort Hood should absolutely be condemned. It was absolutely wrong.
According to the system of morality adopted by the military-industrial complex–and perhaps our culture at large–the actions of Major Nidal Malik Hasan were morally acceptable.
I realize that this statement sounds preposterous. Allow me to explain.
The system of morality embraced by the military-industrial complex upholds that when one cannot imagine any other way to resolve a conflict, it is appropriate to respond by asserting one’s way forcibly and violently over others.
When Saddam Hussein refused to cooperate with our demands, we responded in violence. When Osama bin Laden orchestrated attacks on innocent civilians, we responded in violence. When Timonthy McVeigh bombed a government building in Oklahoma City, we responded in violence. When we are attacked, threatened, or simply challenged, we respond in violence. Our culture does not condemn violence. In fact, our culture glorifies violence. Examples of the glorification of “moral violence” can be seen in action movies, yellow ribbons on car bumpers and capital punishment in our ‘justice” system.
Leviticus 24 states, “If anyone injures his neighbor, whatever he has done must be done to him: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.”
“An eye for an eye.” In the case of our culture, an eye for a potential eye–or perhaps even a dirty glance.
If we believe that violence may be justified, glorious, even moral–as it is with the military–then we cannot condemn Major Hasan. He was acting according to the moral code espoused by the armed forces.
In 2006 in Pennsylvania Carl Roberts killed six people including himself in an Amish school shooting. The Amish response to this tragedy was strikingly beautiful. They reached out to Roberts’ family, offering forgiveness and comfort. Amish families visited Roberts’ family, comforted them and even set up a charitable fund for his family.
It’s a bold statement, but one that I believe our culture desperately needs to hear. As long as violence is permitted as a solution to problems, events like the tragedy at Fort Hood will persist. Reconciliation, not retaliation, must be our ultimate goal.