First off, Major Hasan, the Fort Hood Shooter is not dead. He’s in custody, wounded. Interesting how he was dead for much of the day yesterday. You’d think they’d get that straight.

Second, Hasan is not os “Muslim Descent.” There is no such thing. Islam is a religion. He is a Palestinian American.

Third, even though it is true that Fort Hood is the largest military base in the world, it is not (necessarily) true that it has “suffered a disproportionate share of losses” in the Iraq and Afghani wars. It is bigger. It has more. Proportionate means you adjust for size, stupid newsman.

Fourth, and this is on a different topic, the fact that unemployment has passed 10% does not mean anything different than if it passed 9.9% or 10.1 percent. If we were not decimal …. say we were octal …. the “magic number” would be different, right?

Fifth, all the rational sciencey people who complain about the 10 percent threshold are mainly doing so to make themselves look smart. But they will lose their smart cred the moment they turn around and resume their daily worship of 0.05 p-values (instead of 0.049 or 0.051).

Any questions?

Comments

  1. #1 Stephanie Z
    November 6, 2009

    How’s the coffee?

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    Actually, that was me before coffee.

  3. #3 Russell
    November 6, 2009

    Religions are passed across generations like other aspects of culture. Which means there can be Muslim descent, just as there is Christian descent and Hindu descent and Jewish descent. I’m an atheist with Christian descent. Maybe that would be more accurately described as acculturation. It’s not the same as ethnicity. But ethnicity is a somewhat muddy notion in any case.

  4. #4 Pierce R. Butler
    November 6, 2009

    … he was dead for much of the day yesterday.

    A resurrection? In less than 24 hours?

    It’s a sign from Gawd! (Jesus took 36 hours, after all.)

    Bow down (towards Killeen, Texas) and PRAY, ye sinners!

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    Russell: He is of Palestinian descent. Calling this “Muslim Descent” is exactly the same thing as calling an Irish Guy “Of Catholic Descent”

    Now, Jewish, that’s different. There is an entho-religious complexity to being Jewish that may make it possible for an Irish Muslim guy to be of Jewish Descent.

  6. #6 Sigmund
    November 6, 2009

    “There is an entho-religious complexity to being Jewish that may make it possible for an Irish Muslim guy to be of Jewish Descent.”
    Yes, but whenever he walks into a bar he gets asked
    “Is this some sort of joke?”
    As for Major Hasan, I read that he was both religious AND has a degree in biochemistry – although in his case I suspect he won’t be touted as another example of why religion and science are compatible.

  7. #7 Mike Dunford
    November 6, 2009

    Interesting how he was dead for much of the day yesterday. You’d think they’d get that straight.

    It was surprising that they didn’t have that right, but only mildly so. Mass casualty incidents are enormously chaotic, and when you’ve got patients going to several different hospitals plus transfers between hospitals plus the need to account for every active duty soldier on a base with a population of 50,000+ there’s going to be lots of confusion and lots of misinformation.

  8. #8 Russell
    November 6, 2009

    Now, Jewish, that’s different. There is an entho-religious complexity to being Jewish…

    Yes, but let’s be clear that’s only because those who are Jewish define it to be so. Jewish populations whose families have been in Palestine for generations are closer, in haplotype, to other Palestinians than they are to Azhkenazy. Would it then be correct to describe such Jews as of Palestinian descent? If not, you’re then saying that simply being Jewish precludes having Palestinian descent, which means that you’re wrapping religion up in that notion one way or another. Which is fine. As I said above, the notion of ethnicity is muddy. And you’re the one who, before coffee, was setting rules on its “correct” use. ;-)

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    Yes, but let’s be clear that’s only because those who are Jewish define it to be so.

    Indeed.

    Would it then be correct to describe such Jews as of Palestinian descent?

    The Palestinian Jews that I know particularly well do so, yes. But the also classify themselves as Jewish. And, typically, also as Israeli.

    you’re then saying that simply being Jewish precludes having Palestinian descent

    No where did I say or imply that, actually. It is not like one has to pick one label and stick with it!

    As I said above, the notion of ethnicity is muddy. And you’re the one who, before coffee, was setting rules on its “correct” use. ;-)

    I don’t think its muddy: It is complex and sometimes ambiguous. Sometimes the ambiguity is part of the process, as with my Jewish Palestinian Israeli friends who play on the ambiguity, or with my Irish friends from Boston who insist on no ambiguity. And, complexity and ambiguity does not preclude getting it wrong. The Irish Catholic example I give above is getting it wrong, and calling a Palestinian American a person of “Muslim Descent” is, I contend, also getting it wrong.

    I could be wrong about that, but so far no Palestinian Muslims have shown up to tell me if and why.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    It was surprising that they didn’t have that right, but only mildly so.

    Indeed. And the perp data can be wrong too. When a small number of kids died in a mine here in the Twin Cities a couple of years ago (CO poisoning), the number of dead fluctuated from three to 12 as different reporters breathlessly reported seeing bodies removed. They were looking from disparate angles at a distant scene and not coordinating, and the bodies took several minutes to haul out of the cave, up the heavily wooded bluff, through various people’s yards, etc. So they got double or triple counted. Also, stretchers brought down but not used and brought back empty were being erroneously counted as well, It think.

    When a shooting happened in Montreal last year, the number of gunmen fluctuated from 1 to 3 (but was really 1) for several hours. I actually watched as MSNBC’s Van Zandt (sp?) … the former FBI guy … mis spoke and increased the number by one, which was then duly reported as the number for the next hour or so.

    But I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the gunmen reported as dead when he wasn’t. That’s an added twist that perhaps only the Army could pull off!

  11. #11 Ian
    November 6, 2009

    The whole “Muslim descent” thing bothered me as well. I’m “of Muslim descent” (my grandfather was nominally Muslim). Hasan, on the other hand is Muslim. Maybe they’re trying to stress that he’s not a convert?

    Something else that struck me was when he was asked about about reports that Hasan had been harassed because of his religion, the “expert” said something along the lines of “no, the army is very diverse, things like that wouldn’t happen”. Funny…I must have imagined Mikey Weinstein and the MRFF…

  12. #12 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    Other sources say he was harassed.

  13. #13 Alex
    November 6, 2009

    The BBC was reporting earlier that Hasan was paralyzed. I don’t whether that is true, but if it is, do they allow the death penalty of the paralyzed in Texas? I don’t think that will make US-Islam relations worsen in the slightest if they do.

    Interestingly, Wikipedia tells me that 60% of the world live under regimes that have this (at least what I thought was) medieval barbarism. I guess I was wrong.

    But I like it when those on the right have to justify their authoritarianism by dissing Europe as “socialist” and supporting what they do in freedom-loving patriots like China.

    Scratch that, I don’t like it at all. But irony is at least one small thing to smile about when there’s so many other things wrong that you have to grit your teeth through.

    On the Jewish thing, this is of interest currently in a UK court case about state-funded faith schools:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8325901.stm

    Meanwhile, the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has said his faith is “important”.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8346742.stm

    I can assure you that and stories like it are not at all related to the institutionalization of Christianity, nor is that related at all to the existence of Christian faith schools, nor is that at all related to the existence of faith schools of other religions.

  14. #14 Spiv
    November 6, 2009

    I suspect they reported him dead by assumption, because a local officer popped him a couple times. Most people don’t survive that.

    This is why you must be very very careful what you tell reporters, or especially police. What has been accidentally implied is often taken as part of the statement, and no one asks for clarity. In this case I’m sure someone said “The officer shot him 4 times to end the assault.” And a reporter assumed “shot to death.”

    Either way around here everyone seems very sure that because the guy is muslim that this is a terror cell thing. Which it may be, but there’s really no reason to believe that just yet. Given that there is also an office shooting thing going on in my city of residence right now, I’m inclined to think it might be something similar. However tragic. It seems unlikely that the news will report the perpetrator of our local crime as “catholic hispanic decent” (which of course I don’t know anyway, but given the area it’s probable they are).

  15. #15 The Science Pundit
    November 6, 2009

    I don’t whether that is true, but if it is, do they allow the death penalty of the paralyzed in Texas?

    My guess is that he’ll be facing a court martial for treason, so Texas law won’t be a factor in this.

  16. #16 Alex
    November 6, 2009

    Maybe they’re trying to stress that he’s not a convert?

    I can assure that that is not why they were saying he was of “Muslim descent”. They say it because they are either ignorant or islamophobic. There is a big part of Western society that doesn’t care about anything that is “different” to them. This runs the gamut from confusing “Muslim” with an ethnicity, and News readers reveling in a chummy ignorance with their viewers of things like quantitative easing or technology.

    I also seem to remember that they were assuming that Hasan was Muslim even before they knew that, just because he has a funny name.

    Interestingly, “Hassan” (of which Hasan is a variant it seems) is not only an Arabic name, but also a Jewish and an Irish one (which links in nicely with the discussion above), assuming Wikipedia is correct of course.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hassan_(surname)

  17. #17 Spiv
    November 6, 2009

    Not that it’s relevant, but apparently they now know who the Orlando shooter is(was?). Someone named Jason Rodriguez, who apparently previously worked with some of the guys in the next building over from me. Lovely.

  18. #18 Alex
    November 6, 2009
  19. #19 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    Treason? I would think murder.

  20. #20 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    Alex, that link is very interesting reading. Apparently you can be executed for having sex.

  21. #21 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    Oh, and without any further information, the number shot has jumped to 10.

    Simple math:

    1 dead, maybe more plus maybe seven shot.

    This translates to 1 or 2 dead, seven shot.

    This then translated to 8 shot.

    This then translated to 2 dead and 8 shot.

    Again, with no new information. The official word from the police press conference of a moment ago is “We’re not saying”

  22. #22 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    OOOPs, it is now 6 peole shot, four in very serious condition in surgery, no one dead. Plus one.

    And they interviewed a guy who knew the shooter. Of the shooter, he had this to say: “Oh, I never met him. I heard he used to work here. I don’t know”

  23. #23 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    Oh, it just went to 8 wounded and two dead.

    This is real time reporting, folks.

  24. #24 Pete
    November 6, 2009

    How do you know he is a “gun nut”?

  25. #25 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    Nope six victims. No official indication on someone being killed but maybe.

    Basically, when the cops talk, it is six people shot but they’re not really saing, when MSNBC anchor speaks the number fluctuates between 8 and 10.

    So maybe three?

  26. #26 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    Now, the MSNBC anchor is claiming that MSNBC knows where the perp is, but they need to not say it out loud.

    And, now we have one confirmed dead and eight people shot, despite the fact that the police just said six shot. These people can’t even listen to each other!!!!!

    Oh, and the guy’s age keeps fluctuating by about 10 years as well.

  27. #27 Alex
    November 6, 2009

    Anyone who turns up and randomly starts shooting people is a gun nut. There was a gun. And it was very very “nutty”. Or is that a normal thing to do, Pete?

  28. #28 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    Ha! Yet another version has emerged!

    NINE people taken to hospital

    Four in surgery, one more about to go to surgery

    Two dead

    One with heart attack, not shot.

  29. #29 Pete
    November 6, 2009

    It just makes all of the rest of us gun nuts look bad.

  30. #30 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    Oh this is rich: “Now, let’s talk to so and so who was there”

    Then “Oh, I work for the same company, but in the Jacksonville Office, this shooting happened in the Orlando Office”

    “SO, what do you know?”

    “Ah, nothing really”… (paraphrasing)

  31. #31 Alex
    November 6, 2009

    Now, the MSNBC anchor is claiming that MSNBC knows where the perp is, but they need to not say it out loud.

    Because he might be listening and run away? These anchors aren’t very smart. If he’s listening to them, he will now know people know where he is. So he knows he shouldn’t stay where he is. Morons.

    And, now we have one confirmed dead and eight people shot, despite the fact that the police just said six shot. These people can’t even listen to each other!!!!!

    The cat is both alive and dead.

    BBC: “Reports that two people killed” “8 injured” but they are skeptical of these numbers because of chaos, like chaos yesterday. Equally, the BBC could have said “Reports that X people killed” and replaced X with whatever single digit number they felt like, they almost certainly have been reports of this.

  32. #32 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    Newest info: One person is dead and the body is still inside the building. That’s pretty specific. But that does not make it more likely to be right.

  33. #33 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    OK, this is REALLY funny: They just interviewed a breathless worker on the 12 floor who is hiding with 6 or 7 other people on teh 12 floor. They are waiting to be rescued by the cops.

    Meanwhile, they are reporting that the cops have taken down the crime scene tape and are leaving the area.

    Maybe in a day or two they’ll figure this out.

  34. #34 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    Oops.. they are converging on an apartment complex somewhere at which the suspects car has been spotted, people have heard a single gun shot. Of course, if you know this area you may not be surprised to hear a single gun shot now and then….

    Oh, now we see on TV the cops walking away with someone in hand cuffs. But that could be some random person they just happend to arrest.

  35. #35 Spiv
    November 6, 2009

    huh. Apparently they picked him up at his mum’s place.

  36. #36 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    New information from actual official person:

    Five shot, one cardiac, and among them, one is dead.

    Which makes sense because MSNBC reported, at maximum, 10 shot and 2 dead. Divide by two.

    Suspect is in custody. He was at his mom’s house.

    That gunshot was apparently not a gunshot, or not related to this.

  37. #37 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    … Or, maybe it is 5 shot and wounded, 1 cardiac, one shot and killed, determined dead at the scene.

  38. #38 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    Latest on ftHood:

    “The suspect is now alive” (that’s a quote)

    There is a press conference about to happen in case you want to tune in to your favorite live action misMedia outlet.

  39. #39 Spiv
    November 6, 2009

    Cardiac was apparently across the street, as in someone who heard shots and had some chest pains.

  40. #40 Alex
    November 6, 2009

    OT:

    Guy on BBC News just said that the Taliban is fighting us in Afghanistan to remove us from their country, therefore we (UK) should produce an exit strategy and get out of there.

    I literally don’t understand that logic. They want us to leave, therefore we should oblige? WTF?

    There are good reasons to stay or leave, but that is not a reason for anything, let alone a good reason.

  41. #41 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    There is now a Military Moment of Silence going on at ft Hood. Which apparently involves a lot of talking.

    Oh, I get it. A moment of silence for everybody while somebody prays.

    Report: Some of the wounded from yesterday are very seriously wounded and not all are expected to live for sure. (13 dead for now, though that number just actually fluctuated a bit as the reporter screwed it up.)

    Anyway, yes, there will be a press conference in a few minutes.

  42. #42 Alex
    November 6, 2009

    I’m guessing there’s been no speculation that the Orlando shooter has been doing this because of his religion? If we found out he was a Muslim though…

    I don’t know if this has been happening in the US, but over here there has roughly been the same number of Muslims as White neo-Nazis arrested under terrorism offenses from what I know. And yet rarely does the media focus on the second lot, but the first lot will be all over the front pages when it happens.

    “The suspect is now alive” (that’s a quote)

    This one was resurrected too?

  43. #43 Alex
    November 6, 2009

    Did a journalist really just say there was trend of the sort of thing that happened at Fort Hood?

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone extrapolate from one data point before. Two, yes. But one…?

  44. #44 Alex
    November 6, 2009

    Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch offers the UK a Michael Jackson seance.

    http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/tv/news/a185532/derek-acorah-jackson-will-enjoy-seance.html

  45. #45 Alex
    November 6, 2009

    OT:

    Peter Hitchens on BBC offers this metaphor for leaving Afghanistan:

    “If you put your fist in a bucket of water it occupies the space, but then you have to remove it”.

    WHAT??????

    His reasons for leaving Afghanistan are that the place is unconquerable because it has been so in the past, and that Afghanistan will always be corrupt.

    There’s no reason for the first reason to apply for all time, and I’m sure David Hume will have something to say about it, and moreover it simplifies past conflicts in the region by absurd amount.

    The second reason again has no evidence for it, and contains a vast undercurrent of racism, and I would’ve said neo-colonialism if it wasn’t for the fact he was arguing for the UK to get out of Afghanistan.

    I’d almost forgotten why I hated Peter Hitchens. It also always amazes how different he and his brother Christopher are, yet still how hateable they both are.

  46. #46 Darth Dog
    November 6, 2009

    Quite a post and thread Greg. You find humor in some unusual things. As someone who has a family member who serves in the army at Ft. Hood, I didn’t get the same enjoyment out of the confused early reports coming out of the incident yesterday. Let me say that you really are an insensitive jerk.

  47. #47 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    Darth, there is nothing humorous about this, about Ft. Hood or Orlando (most of the comments above are about Orlando regarding accuracy, and yes, there is some laughing at the stupidity of the press in that instance). I have a strong preference for not ignoring the media’s fuckups. If you keep ignoring them, they just become more common, becuase it is cheaper to engage in inaccruacies mixed with blatant fear mongering. Which, in turn, enhances some of this violent behavior (though maybe not in this particular case). Your reaction to me is not about you thinking I’m trying to make fun. Tell me the truth: It’s about my comment about the silly praying.

    My current theory on Hasan, BTW: I think this may well have been a politically motivated attack on the US Army. It may be that the FBI was on to him, there are indications of this. If he picked up on this, this action may have been timed to get it done before they moved in.

    That is wildy speculative at this point but things are starting to add up in that general direction.

  48. #48 ALex
    November 6, 2009

    I didn’t realize we had to be sensitive to the press.

    I mean, when a big news story comes around the press themselves are always so sensitive, right?

  49. #49 Raging Bee
    November 6, 2009

    “He is of Muslim descent” is a perfectly true and reasonable thing to say, at least to the extent that religion influences culture and culture affects who we are. I’m not Christian now, but it makes perfect sense to say I’m “of Christian descent,” because I grew up in, and was greatly influenced by, a culture in which Christian religion and teachings held a prominent place. Other Christians wouldn’t consider this a big deal, but put me in a very different culture, and my Christian influence will make me visibly different from my new neighbors.

  50. #50 Alex
    November 6, 2009

    it makes perfect sense to say I’m “of Christian descent,” because I grew up in, and was greatly influenced by, a culture in which Christian religion and teachings held a prominent place

    If you had an adopted sibling, would they therefore also be of “Christian descent”?

    If you became Muslim tomorrow, would you still be of “Christian descent”?

  51. #51 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    Language is funny. I really do not want to say that “of Muslim Dissent” is wrong. You CAN say this. But, it is not how we DO say it. So, when the reporter says it, I think “Oh, this reporter is making new inroads into the linguistic symbology of ethnicity and religion” … then I think maybe “This reporter is confused”

    And I pick the latter.

  52. #52 katydid13
    November 6, 2009

    Was anyone else bothered by the way everyone kept saying “this does not appear to be terrorism?”

    The incident did not appear to be related to foreign terrorism, but there appears to be some level of political motivation and there were lots of dead and injured in what appeared to be an act meant to create terror. I’m not sure what else need to happen to make it terrorism if that doesn’t do it.

    There is a good chance that this is domestic terrorism, which we have seen before. Like in Oklahoma City. Domestic terrorism is a real issue and we seem to ignore it. People who are calling for violence in response to political issues are calling for domestic terrorism. That shouldn’t be ignored, even if they are Members of the House of Representatives.

  53. #53 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    katydid13: It is just people being stupid. In a good way, in the sense that assuming it is terrorism because the guy’s name is similar to… oh, I don’t know, our Commie President’s name for instance …. is at least recognized as a bad automatic reaction.

    Then there is the technical question: This can never be terrorism, in that terrorism is violence directed against civilians. (legally defined as such, apparently.)

    We might need to come up with a new name for this. I do want to know if this guy is a gun nut, though.

  54. #54 Onkel Bob
    November 6, 2009

    Ft Hood, may be the largest Army Base, but I believe Eglin AFB is the largest military installation at least in terms of area. You need to be more specific what you mean by largest.
    As to units losing personnel – I’d suspect in terms of proportion, a guard unit or two probably lost far more personnel as a relative proportion.
    And Greg is right the crime would be murder, and it is very doubtful that the military would defer jurisdiction. A guy that worked for me murdered his wife and kid, and the Germans invoked their jurisdiction (under SOFA) to prevent the Americans from trying him and meting out a potential death penalty. Since this happened on US soil, the military has first dibs.
    Yes, you can indeed be hung for the crime of rape under the UCMJ. (So much for the misogynist label attached to the military. It would be used in cases of mayhem) Doubtful, that any other type of sex would garner that punishment.
    WAY WAY off topic, but in the vein of Military Justice, LtC North would have been easily convicted under UCMJ. His little shredding session would have stripped him his rank and earned him a BCD at minimum. Three questions: Were these documents under your control? Can you produce authorization to destroy these documents? Can you produce the documents? He couldn’t have invoked article 31 as none of those questions compel self incrimination. Punishment for destruction of classified material is really tough. Congress really f’d up when they compelled his testimony and allowed him to bypass courts martial.

  55. #55 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2009

    You need to be more specific what you mean by largest.

    What I mean, specifically, is that every single time Ft. Hood is mentioned by anybody on the TV box or the Radio Box or the Internet Box, they say it is “The largest.”

    Probably, somebody early on said this and everyone else is repeating it.

    Yes, you can indeed be hung for the crime of rape under the UCMJ.

    The law says “rape or carnal knowledge” … my reference to “sex” was to the carnal knowledge part. Which reminds me of when I was a kid and I heard people talkinga bout “Cardinal Knowledge” and I was confused.

  56. #57 MPL
    November 6, 2009

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Salman Rushdie are “of Muslim Dissent”.

  57. #58 Pierce R. Butler
    November 7, 2009

    Onkel Bob @ # 54: Congress really f’d up when they compelled his testimony and allowed him to bypass courts martial.

    Please don’t tell me you think the considerately wide-ranging questions when LtCol O. North was testifying under his de facto guarantee of immunity (through double-jeopardy laws) were uncalculated…