I follow @TravelSavvyKayt on Twitter. She writes hilariously about her travels with her son Chet – that’s them in the picture. Yesterday she twittered that she’d been asked to write a piece for the Washington Post about the awful shootings at Fort Hood, Texas and I found it particularly poignant. Here’s what she wrote.
Freelance writer and military spouse living in Bedesbach, Germany
As details about the shootings streamed across the Web, I noticed how the nature of the messages changed over time. Initially, some military friends lamented that they no longer felt safe on Army posts. But once Maj. Nidal Hasan was identified as the lone gunman, many focused on his name, rank and faith. The fear that had been so palpable diminished. Few of the messages were explicit — one simply said, “A single shooter and a Muslim?!” But their meaning was clear — that Hasan’s Islamic faith explained what had previously been an unfathomable act of violence. No longer could his actions be attributed to his experiences in the military or some kind of post-traumatic stress disorder. I don’t believe most of my fellow military spouses are bigots or hate-mongers. On the contrary, most are the biggest-hearted people I’ve ever known. But I think some need to believe that an incident like this has to be about something Muslim, Jordanian, terrorist — pick your label — something foreign to touch us where we are supposed to feel most safe. The alternative — that this war, or even the idea of this war, might make our cherished ones desperate and nearly unrecognizable, that the Army that vows to protect us while our soldiers are away may not be able to keep that promise, that we need to worry about our soldiers even when they are not deployed to combat zones — is too much to bear. The ideas are disheartening, yet as a military spouse, I can’t deny that I understand it.