According to the first reports, there were at least two shooters, and perhaps a third. This is not typical of the psychiatric mass murder incidents that we have grown accustomed to over the last thirty years. I would be very, very surprised if this doesn't turn out to be a terrorist attack--and if so, you can be sure that the mainstream media will do their best to downplay any connections to Islam.
UPDATE: From ABC News:
With that name, obviously part of Aryan Nations.
The suspected gunman was identified by ABC News as Major Malik Nadal Hasan.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-Texas, told Fox News that military sources informed her that the gunman was about to be deployed to Iraq.
UPDATE 2: Curiously enough, not a psychiatric mass murder--a psychiatrist mass murder. Dr. Hasan was a psychiatrist, a Muslim, born in Virginia, who became increasingly upset after 9/11 about the prospect of being shipped overseas, at least according to Nader Hasan, a cousin of his interviewed on Fox News.
If he was upset about the prospect of being in danger, I could at least ascribe a non-political motive to his taking such an action. There are people who joined the military in peacetime, and were a bit surprised to learn that the job might be dangerous. But psychiatrists aren't front-line soldiers. It makes more sense to think that he was upset about being part of the war against fellow Muslims.
Dr. Hasan claimed that he was being harassed by fellow officers because of his Middle Eastern heritage. When the Fox News anchor asked Nader Hasan about that, Nader suddenly had to get off the phone because a family emergency. (Sounds suspicious, but can you think of anything more likely to provoke a family emergency than having a relative commit a crime like this?)
I would like to think that Dr. Hasan's fellow officers would know better than to harass him because of his ancestry. (Suspicious, especially in light of his anger about having to deploy to Iraq, I can understand, but harassment is utterly not okay.) I would like to think that they would know better, but I used to go to church with a woman of Lebanese Christian ancestry, who grew up on a military base in the South, where she and the other Arab-Americans were commonly called "sand niggers." It is also possible that Dr. Hasan's problems with his co-workers had more to do with Dr. Hasan; it is very easy to imagine other motivations when the alternative is to look within yourself.
One odd aspect: Dr. Hasan was apparently not married (maybe never married). That seems a bit odd for a 39 year old Muslim man.
Fox News also reported that AP had just reported based on anonymous sources that the other two soldiers taken in for questioning had been released, and that Dr. Hasan was the only shooter. That makes it double hearsay (triple, by the time you repeat this to someone else) from anonymous sources. If this fact were currency, it would have been depreciated down from one dollar to two cents by that much indirection.
UPDATE 3: From Associated Press:
Definitely not in any way related to Islamofascist terrorism. No question about it.
FORT HOOD, Texas – Soldiers who witnessed the shooting rampage at Fort Hood that left 13 people dead reported that the gunman shouted "Allahu Akbar!" — an Arabic phrase for "God is great!" — before opening fire, the base commander said Friday.
Lt. Gen. Robert Cone said officials had not yet confirmed that the suspected shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, made the comment before the rampage Thursday. Hasan was among 30 people wounded in theand remained hospitalized on a ventilator.
UPDATE 4: From the November 6, 2009 Kileen Daily Herald:
Neighbors described Hasan as a quiet man who began wearing "Arabic clothing" in recent weeks.Dr. Hasan isn't an immigrant. He was born in America. Is this clear enough?