Have you heard about the long awaited trial of the alleged Fort Hood killer, Major Nidal Hasan?  First of all, he has continually received his military salary since the November 5th, 2009 incident that left 13 people dead and 32 others injured.  Hasan has been paid a salary of around $ 75,000 a year and since the shooting, has been paid $ 278,000 while awaiting trial.  It appears that according to the Military Code of Justice, that his pay cannot be stopped until he is proven to be guilty.

On the other hand, if Hasan had been a civilian employee for the defense department, at the time of the shooting, the Army could have suspended his pay after just one week.  Personnel rules for most civilian government workers states that “when the agency or department has reasonable cause to believe that the employee has committed a crime for which a sentence of imprisonment may be imposed, they may be suspended indefinitely.

It has been almost 4 years since this incident and there have been delays after delays and through legal maneuvers, even a presiding judge has been removed.  Prior to the start of trial it was again delayed because Hasan fired his attorneys (for the second time) and announced that he was going to represent himself at trial.  So now he gets to question the victims of his terrible act on the stand and traumatize them all over again.

While Hasan is being paid, some of the surviving victims are still fighting to receive the same pay as soldiers, who are injured in combat.  The Army has not classified the wounds of the victims of the Fort Hood shooting as combat related and refuse to label it a terrorist attack, which makes them ineligible for Purple Heart retirement or medical benefits.  The Army has, instead, listed the shooting as workplace violence.  There is a push in Congress to provide benefits for those personnel who were injured, but I have to agree with the Army on this one.  A shooting on a military base, regardless of the shooter’s reasons for doing it, is not a theater of combat and though I feel for the victims and their families that would make all victims of violence, who live on military posts…victims of combat; which they are not.

I believe in the justice system and I would not like my rights restricted, but I think that we give too much legal rights to those people who would like to see our society destroyed.  If we are going to label this incident and others like it as an act of terrorism to justify benefits for the victims, then in the same tone, we should immediately try the person responsible, and if found guilty, then immediate public execution.  If you think my approach is too harsh, what do you think would happen, if the roles were reversed?  Unquestionable, it would be a bullet in the head and no trial at all.

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