From Nick Druecke at Camp Taji, Iraq, roughly 6,339 miles from home in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.
Before we deployed, Ft. Hood was my duty station, and I will be returning there upon redeployment. When I heard about that shooting business, I thought they would blame the security guards or the MP's for what happened, and that simply isn't fair. Ft. Hood is one of the largest military bases on the planet. Every day over 60,000 people come and go to work on base, and there are only a handful of gates for people to enter. So in the mornings for the start of the day, the afternoons for lunch, and the evening for the end of the day, you have that many people driving through those gates. Yes they have guards stationed, and they check the ID of everyone in the vehicle. If you don't have an ID, you get turned around. If your vehicle doesn't have a military base sticker visible, you get turned around. If you have a visible weapon, you get refused entry and probably arrested. There isn't really a more strict way to manage a system that huge, while still letting the traffic through. So you can't really blame the guards, plus I heard the shooter was soldier anyways, so they would have been let in regardless. You also can't blame the MP's, because the base is bigger than most cities back home. Like I said there are over 60,000 individuals there during the working day, and at least 20,000 soldiers on post at any given time. There are 4 brigades of Cav soldiers there, 1 brigade of 4th Infantry Division soldiers there, the Air Cav Brigade out of west Ft. Hood, and countless other battalions and civilian based companies there. So getting around all of that is quite a task. The MP's run a regular work shift as well, so any of them in the area responded as quickly as possible.
I don't know the details, but I do know that the only people to blame are those who pulled the triggers. It's ridiculous to think that these people were so screwed up from deployments, that they decided there was no better way to deal with their situation than shooting innocent people. Other soldiers no less. The army has a mandatory pre/post deployment physical, and mental health health assessment. As well as countless self help programs for those who need it, there are pamphlets and commercials everywhere here and in the states. So anybody who doesn't get help, is just afraid to be judged by their peers. I think anyone who would do this is a fool and coward.
I feel sorry for the families, as well as those families not involved. My parents are seeing that broadcast, fearing for my safety upon returning from a combat zone. That's just not right.
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Continuing local coverage from the State Journal