Original Letter (that I submitted, not the Trib's edited version), dated 12/14/09:
Diane Schrader’s Nov. 7 letter asks “when are we going to stop letting people from the Middle East into our wonderful country?” This kind of ignorant attitude is typical of people who cannot separate their own personal prejudices from an isolated incident of violence. The atrocities committed by Major Hasan were not the actions of an ideology or of any ethnic group, but of one mentally disturbed and severely misguided individual. Attributing this type of incident to anything more than the violent hatred of one person is unfair to Middle Easterners and goes against the fundamental idea that persons should not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. It troubles me greatly to imagine that something like this could happen here, but it troubles me almost as much to know that some will use a horrific event like this as an excuse to fan the flames of their misplaced hatred of Muslim-Americans. To Schrader’s query about when we’ll stop letting Middle Easterners into our country, I have my own question: When will people like her start leaving?
Justin Tapp, WacoAnd the response:
The term “terrorist” has become rather narrowly defined. It is now used to describe only those who work directly for Osama bin Laden. Others who perform unspeakable acts of mass murder in the name of Allah are described as deranged. Isn’t that a bit like requiring an athlete to be on the Yankees roster before he can be called a baseball player? Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan on Nov. 12 was charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder in relation to the Nov. 5 Fort Hood shootings. Screaming “Allah Akbar,” he allegedly began shooting defenseless people. But, according to Justin Tapp’s Nov. 15 letter in the Sunday Focus, Hasan is not a terrorist. The poor fellow simply became unhinged. And we wonder how Hasan was allowed to slip through the cracks. Why doesn’t the Muslim community rise up in righteous indignation when one of their own becomes “deranged?”
Joe Walker, LorenaMy only contention is that I never actually said that this was not an act of terrorism or that Maj. Hasan was not a terrorist, only that the actions were not representative of any particular group or ideology, least of all the entire population of Muslims in our country. Maybe Joe Walker didn't pick up on that part, but my guess is that this argument would fall on deaf ears, as it seems like he's already made up his mind. At any rate, it's a good idea to Google yourself every so often, as you never know what you'll find.