There is no question that the Fort Hood shootings were the product of evil and terror. It is incomprehensible that someone who is trained to save lives would act in a way that takes lives. From the Texas tower shootings in the 1960s to Columbine and Virginia Tech, forensic psychologists continue to search for answers. "Islamic terrorism" is too simple an answer to give as the sole motive to explain Maj. Hasan's actions. -- After all he was someone who had experienced the best and worst that America has to offer.
The papers and airwaves have been filled with speculation about why Hasan opened fire on innocent servicemembers at Ft. Hood. The New York Times recently ran an article with the headline: "Tangle Of Clues at Fort Hood: Suspect as Misfit, Radical or Both." I propose that in addition to his own peculiar psychological pathology and religious fervor that as a Muslim American in the military, post 9/11, he suffered what Ackerman Family Institute CEO and President Lois Braverman calls "micro-aggressions".
The American Psychological Association says that these micro-aggressions can take the form of micro-assults ( Hasan's car was keyed in a anti-Islamic assault) as well as micro-insults and micro-invalidations. They say that racism is so subtle that neither the victim nor the perpetrator may entirely understand what is going on andthat it is especially toxic for people of color. Lois Braverman says that these micro-assaults get amplified when other people such as colleagues do nothing to recognize or address the situation.
I would never have believed that these micro-aggressions could take their toll until I spent a year and half commuting to Dubai. There I encountered local people constantly saying that 9/11 was a conspiracy created by President George W. Bush and the Jews as well as taking simple liberties such as cutting in line at the grocery store because they were the locals and I was simple a white American. I was fortunate in that I was able to travel back and forth to the United States during this time but many Americans are not and they are stuck being less than equal in a culture that treats them as second class citizens. Does that make me a potential killer? Certainly not! -- But someone with a different psychological makeup could react in a different manner.
We do not know how many soldiers came back from Iraq and were treated by Hasan -- a Muslim -- and how many expressed hate or anger for the Muslims that wounded them. We do not know how many times Hasan heard anti-Muslim remarks from soldiers who were trained to kill the Muslim enemy. We do not know how his personal makeup of loneliness, anger and depression dovetailed with the micro-aggressions he clearly experienced. This was a man who was given all the opportunities that America can give -- a free medical education at one of the best medical schools, an opportunity to advance in the United States Military, a Masters Degree in Public Health. He also most likely saw America at its worst with racism and anti-Muslim sentiments. He dropped unconscious hints about his state of mind, such as his presentation on Muslim extremism. No one heard the cry or gave heed to the warning signs.
The military must become more aware to prevent further murders and acts of aggression. It is the only way to prevent more carnage.
Ellen Ratner is Washington bureau chief for Talk Radio News Service and a Fox News contributor.