Category Archive 'Nidal Malik Hasan'

11 Nov 2009

A National Rush to Therapy

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David Brooks is enough of a liberal himself that he dutifully identifies Islamicism as a fringe feature of the Muslim world. That fringe tends to do awfully well whenever opinion polls of Muslims get taken.

But even Brooks thinks the epidemic of political correctness following the Fort Hood massacre got out of hand.

(A) malevolent narrative has emerged… on the fringes of the Muslim world. It is a narrative that sees human history as a war between Islam on the one side and Christianity and Judaism on the other. This narrative causes its adherents to shrink their circle of concern. They don’t see others as fully human. They come to believe others can be blamelessly murdered and that, in fact, it is admirable to do so.

This narrative is embraced by a small minority. But it has caused incredible amounts of suffering within the Muslim world, in Israel, in the U.S. and elsewhere. With their suicide bombings and terrorist acts, adherents to this narrative have made themselves central to global politics. They are the ones who go into crowded rooms, shout “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great,” and then start murdering.

When Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan did that in Fort Hood, Tex., last week, many Americans had an understandable and, in some ways, admirable reaction. They didn’t want the horror to become a pretext for anti-Muslim bigotry.

So immediately the coverage took on a certain cast. The possibility of Islamic extremism was immediately played down. This was an isolated personal breakdown, not an ideological assault, many people emphasized.

Major Hasan was portrayed as a disturbed individual who was under a lot of stress. We learned about pre-traumatic stress syndrome, and secondary stress disorder, which one gets from hearing about other people’s stress. We heard the theory (unlikely in retrospect) that Hasan was so traumatized by the thought of going into a combat zone that he decided to take a gun and create one of his own.

A shroud of political correctness settled over the conversation. Hasan was portrayed as a victim of society, a poor soul who was pushed over the edge by prejudice and unhappiness.

There was a national rush to therapy. Hasan was a loner who had trouble finding a wife and socializing with his neighbors.

This response was understandable. It’s important to tamp down vengeful hatreds in moments of passion. But it was also patronizing. Public commentators assumed the air of kindergarten teachers who had to protect their children from thinking certain impermissible and intolerant thoughts. If public commentary wasn’t carefully policed, the assumption seemed to be, then the great mass of unwashed yahoos in Middle America would go off on a racist rampage.

Worse, it absolved Hasan — before the real evidence was in — of his responsibility. He didn’t have the choice to be lonely or unhappy. But he did have a choice over what story to build out of those circumstances. And evidence is now mounting to suggest he chose the extremist War on Islam narrative that so often leads to murderous results.

The conversation in the first few days after the massacre was well intentioned, but it suggested a willful flight from reality. It ignored the fact that the war narrative of the struggle against Islam is the central feature of American foreign policy. It ignored the fact that this narrative can be embraced by a self-radicalizing individual in the U.S. as much as by groups in Tehran, Gaza or Kandahar.

It denied, before the evidence was in, the possibility of evil. It sought to reduce a heinous act to social maladjustment. It wasn’t the reaction of a morally or politically serious nation.

11 Nov 2009

Different Reactions to Obama’s Fort Hood Speech

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Marc Ambinder thought Obama’s Fort Hood Speech was his best since the Inauguration, possibly his best ever. It was so wonderful that Ambinder admits that he experienced a classic Obamagasm.

I guarantee: they’ll be teaching this one in rhetoric classes. It was that good. My gloss won’t do it justice. Yes, I’m having a Chris Matthews-chill-running-up-my-leg moment, but sometimes, the man, the moment and the words come together.

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Dry Valleys, an English commenter on a posting by the Anchoress, was sympathetic to the One’s efforts, but detected a note of personal unease.

I think Obama is a bit like me, he feels uncomfortable around the sort of hard, assertive, no-nonsense types you find in the military. We are neither of us very “manly” in that regard, so he might feel a bit uneasy, suspect that they are better men than him, he couldn’t do that, etc.

That would explain a bit of awkwardness.

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Not everyone found the president’s remarks above criticism. Andrew McCarthy has a serious problem with Obama’s failure to recognize the reality of the character of Islam.

President Obama at Fort Hood today: “It may be hard to comprehend the twisted logic that led to this tragedy. But this much we do know — no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor.

Really?

McCarthy then quotes Andrew Bostom‘s survey of Islamic theological opinion, which starts with Nidal Malik Hasan himself, who back in June of 2007 delivered to Army doctors, not a medical lecture which had been scheduled, but instead a lecture on Islam and the religious perspective of Muslims serving in the US Military.

Nidal Hasan’s June 2007 presentation concludes, in full accord with classical (and unrepentant, let alone unreformed) Islamic doctrine regarding jihad war, (slide 49):

    “Fighting to establish an Islamic State to please Allah, even by force is condoned by (sic) Islam.”

Our immediate, urgent task is to understand the extent to which Nidal Hasan’s orthodox vision of Islam is a shared vision—and by which Muslims, in particular.

The seat of Sunni orthodoxy Al Azhar University—which functions as a de facto Vatican of Sunni Islam, repeats in “Reliance of the Traveller” its widely distributed manual of Islamic Law, which “conforms to the practice and faith of the Sunni orthodoxy,” circa 1991,

    “ Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and, is etymologically derived from the word, mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion [of Islam]…The scriptural basis for jihad is such Koranic verses as ‘Fighting is prescribed for you’ (Koran 2:216); ‘Slay them wherever you find them’ (Koran 4:89); ‘Fight the idolators utterly’ (Koran 9:36); and such hadiths as the one related by (Sahih) Bukhari and (Sahih) Muslim [NOTE: cited in slide 43 of Hasan’s 6/7/07 presentation] that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: ‘I have been commanded to fight people until they testify that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and perform the prayer, and pay zakat. If they say it, they have saved their blood and possessions from me, except for the rights of Islam over them. And the final reckoning is with Allah’; and the hadith by (Sahih) Muslim, ‘To go forth in the morning or evening to fight in the path of Allah is better than the whole world and everything in it.’ ”

Even more concrete evidence that this classical formulation of jihad is very much a living doctrine today is apparent in the openly espoused views, and sound Islamic arguments which conclude the contemporary work “Islam and Modernism,” written by a respected modern Muslim scholar Justice Muhammad Taqi Usmani. Mr Usmani, aged 66, sat for 20 years as a Shari’a judge in Pakistan’s Supreme Court (His father was the Grand Mufti of Pakistan). Currently Usmani is deputy of the Islamic Fiqh (Jurisprudence) Council of the Organization of the Islamic Conference—the major international body of Islamic nations in the world, and serves as an adviser to several global Sharia-based Islamic financial institutions. Thus he is a leading contemporary figure in the world of mainstream Islamic jurisprudence. Mr. Usmani is also a regular visitor to Britain. During a recent visit there, he was interviewed by the Times of London, which published extracts from Usmani’s writings on jihad, Saturday, September 8, 2007. The concluding chapter of Usmani’s “Islam and Modernism” was cited, and it rebuts those who believe that only defensive jihad (i.e., fighting to defend a Muslim land deemed under attack or occupation) is permissible in Islam. He also refutes the suggestion that jihad is unlawful against a non-Muslim state that freely permits the preaching of Islam (which, not surprisingly, was of some concern to The Times!).

For Mr Usmani, “the question is whether aggressive battle is by itself commendable or not.” “If it is, why should the Muslims stop simply because territorial expansion in these days is regarded as bad? And if it is not commendable, but deplorable, why did Islam not stop it in the past?” He answers his own question as follows: “Even in those days . . . aggressive jihads were waged . . . because it was truly commendable for establishing the grandeur of the religion of Allah.” Usmani argues that Muslims should live peacefully in countries such as Britain, where they have the freedom to practice Islam, only until they gain enough power to engage in battle.

Liberals insist that violence, intolerance, attacks on unbelievers, and aggression are not characteristic of mainstream Islam in defiance of reality precisely because of liberalism’s own internal theology.

From the viewpoint of liberalism, the only possible sort of evil that can exist is the evil of the rejection of liberalism, racist rejection of liberal egalitarianism, fundamentalist rejection of liberal secularism, reactionary rejection of liberal social welfarism. Muslims are typically persons of color, a protected class which cannot be criticized or disliked. Additionally, Muslims are typically citizens of Third World nations and consequently additionally privileged and protected as victims, victims of economic underdevelopment and victims of Western Colonialism.

A protected class like Muslims cannot possibly be the enemy of the liberal, so the liberal will perform any amount of conceptual gymnastics necessary to “prove” that violence and terrorist acts are only representative of a small atypical minority, and were probably provoked by something we did.

09 Nov 2009

Reporting an Islamically-Motivated Massacre

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Tim Blair describes the mental acrobatics performed by the MSM worldwide in order to avoid identifying Islamic fanaticism as the motive behind Nidal Malik Hasan’s deadly attack.

The ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)’s first significant report on the atrocity, presented at midday on Friday by Washington correspondent Lisa Millar, avoided any mention of the killer’s faith beyond references to his “family background”.

Somehow, Millar kept this up for nearly eight minutes. With those dodging skills, you’d back her to emerge bone dry after walking the entire length of a car wash.

By this stage, we already knew, via US television interviews with the killer’s cousin, that Hasan was “a pious lifelong Muslim”.

This minor point was quickly shoved aside by force of media consensus, which quickly settled on another, apparently more obvious, cause of Hasan’s deadly rage.

“A link to PTSD?” asked the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “Thursday’s deadly rampage raises a red flag over the issue of combat stress.

“The most common disorder linked to combat stress is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can develop after exposure to one or more traumatic events that threatened or caused great physical harm.”

Media worldwide grabbed hold of this helpful non-Islamic excuse with the same gasping desperation as a chain- smoking asthmatic reaching for his Ventolin inhaler.

One small problem: Major Hasan hadn’t spent a single millisecond in combat. Instead, he’d been based for his whole military career in the US, where lately he counselled troops returning from combat. He had no traumatic stress to be post of.

This technicality was dismissed by London’s Guardian newspaper, which invented a malady: post-traumatic stress disorder by proxy.

“Someone listening day after day to troops describing the tension and carnage in Iraq and Afghanistan could end up as damaged as those facing combat at first hand,” the Guardian claimed.

This is an interesting theory, especially considering Hasan had been in that role only since July.

Agence France-Presse signed on to it, too, reporting that Fort Hood was rife with speculation “as to whether the alleged shooter had snapped under the pressure of his job counselling thousands of war-weary troops”.

I don’t buy that for one minute, unless the report refers to certain journalists gathered at Fort Hood. Soldiers tend to be more sensible.

All of this served to minimise, for whatever timid purpose, the possible role of Hasan’s religion. Sadly for trauma theorists, his history of agitated Islamism soon began to seep through the media filter.

According to various accounts, Hasan had been cautioned for promoting Islam while dealing with patients when stationed at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center , some time before he’d begun duties at Fort Hood. A classmate during a public health course in 2007 recalled Hasan’s claim to being “a Muslim first and an American second”.

He complained about being harassed over his religion. He wrote on the internet of his admiration for Islamic suicide bombers. He was upset when someone scratched the “Allah” bumper sticker off his Honda Civic.

Hasan described the war on terror as a war on Islam. He was under investigation for six months following jihad-themed ravings. Last week, he gave his landlord a Spanish-language copy of the Koran.

On the morning of the murders, he fronted up at the local 7-Eleven in full Islamic gear.

Then he yelled “Allahu Akbar!” as he slaughtered 13 people (including pregnant 21-year-old Francheska Velez) and shot dozens of others (including teenager Amber Bahr).

By late Sunday, the media were cautiously exploring the possibility Hasan’s faith may have played a role.

They’d have been speedier about it if the case involved a suspected Christian shooting up an abortion clinic, of course, but all religious motivations aren’t considered equal.

Hat tip to the Barrister.

09 Nov 2009

Nidal Malik Hasan Had Certain Ties

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Back in 1969, when Richard Nixon was trying to conscript me, part of the process accompanying physical examinations and aptitude testing was a lengthy background form.

The US Military was extremely conservative, since in 1969 it was still seeking assurances that prospective draftees were not members or associates of such examples of pre-WWII history as the German American Bund and the Black Dragon Society.

I was in a cranky mood that day, and being tickled at encountering such historical references in a contemporary document, I affirmed my own membership in the Kokuryūkai (Black Dragon Society).

I was perfectly confident that, if I got into any kind of trouble over this, I could easily prove that the society in question no longer existed and actually had not existed during my own lifetime, and I even gleefully scrawled some patriotic Japanese slogan like Hakkō ichiu (All the world under one roof!) or Tenno Heika Banzai (Serve the Emperor for Ten Thousand Years!) sarcastically in the form’s margin.

I was a trifle disappointed that no one noticed or ever mentioned my alleged sinister Oriental associations.

Presumably today, the contemporary version of the same form asks if you belong to, or subscribe to publications by, or sympathize with the goals of unsavory Islamic groups like al Qaeda and the Order of Assassins.

And clearly, today, just like back in 1969, the US Army does not look terribly closely into the sinister associations of potential inductees.

Take Nidal Malik Hasan, for example.

It turns out that he attended the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Great Falls, Virginia, presided over by none other than Anwar al-Awlaki, author of 44 Ways to Support Jihad and spiritual advisor to 9/11 hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi.

Anwar al-Awlaki, currently a resident of Yemen, has since endorsed his former congregant’s actions in a posting titled Nidal Hasan Did the Right Thing.

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The army was even warned about Hasan’s views by fellow doctors.

ABC:

A fellow Army doctor who studied with Hasan, Val Finell, told ABC News, “We would frequently say he was a Muslim first and an American second. And that came out in just about everything he did at the University.

Finell said he and other Army doctors complained to superiors about Hasan’s statements.

“And we questioned how somebody could take an oath of office…be an officer in the military and swear allegiance to the constitution and to defend America against all enemies, foreign and domestic and have that type of conflict,” Finell told ABC News.

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US Intelligence services were monitoring Hasan’s attempts to communicate with al Qaeda.

ABC:

U.S. intelligence agencies were aware months ago that Army Major Nidal Hasan was attempting to make contact with people associated with al Qaeda, two American officials briefed on classified material in the case told ABC News.

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan tried to make contact with people linked to al Qaeda.

It is not known whether the intelligence agencies informed the Army that one of its officers was seeking to connect with suspected al Qaeda figures, the officials said.

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During WWII, the issue of potential conflicting loyalties on the part of Japanese-Americans was taken very seriously. Japanese served in segregated units and were deliberately deployed only in the European theater. Today, the principal focus of concern is completely different.

Army Chief of Staff General George Casey has ordered his officers to be on the lookout to prevent “a backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers.” “It would be a shame,” the general said, “As great a tragedy as this was — it would be a shame if our diversity became a casualty as well.”

Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano is working to prevent “a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment.”

06 Nov 2009

She Shot Him Four Times, Though Hit Twice Herself

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Sergeant Kimberly Munley

The commanding officer of Fort Hood, Lt. Gen. Bob Cone, reported today that a civilian police officer was responsible for ending the massacre at the Army base.

Fort Hood police Sgt. Kimberly Munley and her partner arrived in under three minutes after receiving reports of gunfire on Thursday afternoon. According to General Cone, Sgt. Munley shot Nidal Malik Hasan four times and brought him down, despite being wounded by him twice during their exchange of fire.

Munley is hospitalized and in stable condition.

General Cone described Munley’s gunfight with the killer as “an amazing and an aggressive performance.”

06 Nov 2009

The Liberals Will Not Blame Islam

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How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy.

–Winston Churchill, The River War, 1899.

As the commentariat sharpens its pencils and waits for further information on the motives of the Army doctor responsible for the Fort Hood massacre to emerge, it seems safe to predict that the liberals will not identify Islam’s propensity to inculcate fanaticism, xenophobia, and murderous violence as the key factor.

Most likely, they will blame guns and, following several leading liberal social scientists, insufficient American domestication and statism. If Americans just bowed to Socialism and accepted the complete universal authority, supervision, and direction of the paternalist state along with Max Weber’s Gewaltmonopol des Staates, and gave up retarditaire habits of owning weapons and relying in extreme situations on self defense, then we would be civilized like Europeans.


Jill Lepore
quotes some leading authorities in the New Yorker:

The United States has the highest homicide rate of any affluent democracy, nearly four times that of France and the United Kingdom, and six times that of Germany. Why? Historians haven’t often asked this question. Even historians who like to try to solve cold cases usually cede to sociologists and other social scientists the study of what makes murder rates rise and fall, or what might account for why one country is more murderous than another. Only in the nineteen-seventies did historians begin studying homicide in any systematic way. In the United States, that effort was led by Eric Monkkonen, who died in 2005, his promising work unfinished. Monkkonen’s research has been taken up by Randolph Roth, whose book “American Homicide” (Harvard; $45) offers a vast investigation of murder, in the aggregate, and over time. Roth’s argument is profoundly unsettling. There is and always has been, he claims, an American way of murder. It is the price of our politics. …

Pieter Spierenburg, a professor of historical criminology at Erasmus University, in Rotterdam, sifts through the evidence in “A History of Murder: Personal Violence in Europe from the Middle Ages to the Present” (Polity; $24.95). In Europe, homicide rates, conventionally represented as the number of murder victims per hundred thousand people in the population per year, have been falling for centuries. Spierenburg attributes this long decline to what the German sociologist Norbert Elias called the “civilizing process” (shorthand for a whole class of behaviors requiring physical restraint and self-control, right down to using a fork instead of eating with your hands or stabbing at your food with a knife), and to the growing power of the centralizing state to disarm civilians, control violence, enforce law and order, and, broadly, to hold a monopoly on the use of force. (Anthropologists sometimes talk about a related process, the replacement of a culture of honor with a culture of dignity.) In feuding medieval Europe, the murder rate hovered around thirty-five. Duels replaced feuds. Duels are more mannered; they also have a lower body count. By 1500, the murder rate in Western Europe had fallen to about twenty. Courts had replaced duels. By 1700, the murder rate had dropped to five. Today, that rate is generally well below two, where it has held steady, with minor fluctuations, for the past century.

The American homicide rate has been higher than Europe’s from the start, and higher at just about every stage since. It has also fluctuated, sometimes wildly. During the Colonial period, the homicide rate fell, but in the nineteenth century, while Europe’s kept sinking, the U.S. rate went up and up. In the twentieth century, the rate in the United States dropped to about five during the years following the Second World War, but then rose, reaching about eleven in 1991. It has since fallen once again, to just above five, a rate that is, nevertheless, twice that of any other affluent democracy.

What accounts for this remarkable difference? Guns leap to mind: in 2008, firearms were involved in two-thirds of all murders in the United States. Yet Roth, who supports gun control, insists that the prevalence of guns in America, and our lax gun laws, can’t account for the whole spread, and a few scholars have argued that laws allowing concealed weapons actually lower the murder rate, by deterring assaults. Some Europeans suspect that Americans haven’t undergone the same “civilizing process,” as if, unmoored from Europe, Colonial Americans went murderously adrift. Spierenburg speculates that democracy came too soon to the United States. By the time European states became democracies, the populace had accepted the authority of the state. But the American Revolution happened before Americans had got used to the idea of a state monopoly on force. Americans therefore preserved for themselves not only the right to bear arms—rather than yielding that right to a strong central government—but also medieval manners: impulsiveness, crudeness, and fidelity to a culture of honor. We’re backward, in other words, because we became free before we learned how to control ourselves.

Myself, I agree with Fred Boynton in Barcelona (1994):

0:25 into the 1:50 trailer

It’s not that Americans are more violent than Europeans. It’s just that we’re better shots.

06 Nov 2009

Fort Hood Shootings

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Nidal Malik Hasan

The Roanoke Times offers background on the Army psychiatrist who ran amok yesterday at Fort Hood, killing 13 and wounding 30 others.

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of shooting 12 people to death and wounding 31 others at Fort Hood, Texas, on Thursday, was the son of Roanoke merchants and restaurateurs, lived in Vinton and graduated from Virginia Tech.

Hasan was born in Arlington to Palestinian immigrants from near Jerusalem who later settled in Vinton.

Neighbors on Vinton’s Ramada Road remembered him as a “studious” boy who went by “Michael.” …

Hasan’s father, Malik Awadallah Hasan, immigrated from Palestine to Virginia in 1962, when he was 16, stories in the Times’ archives show. He moved to Roanoke in 1985, with his wife, Hanan Ismail “Nora” Hasan, following in 1986. Neighbors on Ramada Road said they moved to the Vinton neighborhood in the early 1990s.

The Hasans ran the infamous Capitol Restaurant on the Roanoke City Market from 1987 to 1995. It was a dive beer hall and diner with a bad reputation and a lot of down-and-out regulars. The Hasans closed the Capitol to open the short-lived, Mediterranean-themed Mount Olive on Jefferson Street.

The Hasans also owned the Community Grocery Store on Elm Avenue in Roanoke. …

Hasan’s father died in 1998. Neighbors on Ramada Road said he died of a heart attack in the house. Hasan’s mother died three years later. Neighbors said she had kidney disease.

The Garlicks said Nidal Hasan went to Virginia Western, and The Roanoke Times archives show he graduated from Virginia Tech in 1995.

He went on to the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences’ F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine in Bethesda, Md., where he finished in 2003. He did his residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., through 2007.

He was also a fellow at the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress at the Bethesda military medical school, where he was a fellow in disaster and preventive psychiatry.

The Associated Press reported he commissioned in the Army as a captain and was promoted to major in May. ….

“He would tell us the military was his life,” Hasan’s aunt, Noel Hasan of Falls Church, told the Post. He “did not make many friends.”

He was unmarried and had no children. Colleagues at Walter Reed reported he shied away from contact with women.

He remained a devout Muslim, praying daily at the Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring, Md., sometimes arriving in his Army fatigues.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the aunt said, he had been harassed about his Muslim faith and sought to be discharged from the military.

He went as far as retaining a lawyer to see if he could get out of the Army before his contract was up, The Associated Press reported.

While an intern at Walter Reed, Hasan had some “difficulties” that required counseling and extra supervision, said Dr. Thomas Grieger, who was the training director at the time. …

Others reported Hasan was plain-spoken about his opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He told a former Army colleague, Col. Terry Lee, “Muslims should stand up and fight against the aggressor,” Lee told Fox News.

Hasan was also deeply distressed by his impending deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan, family members said.

While he worked to aid people scarred by war, that work in turn scarred Hasan.

“He must have snapped,” Noel Hasan said. “They ignored him. It was not hard to know when he was upset. He was not a fighter, even as a child and young man. But when he became upset, his face turns red. You can read him in his face.”

Photo slideshow from the scene.

CNN 10:40 video of Major Nidal Malik Hasan buying breakfast at the local Fort Hood 7-11 convenience store yesterday morning around 6:20 AM.


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