Posts Tagged ‘fort hood massacre’


It has been nearly four years since Major Nidal Hasan was arrested for killing over a dozen Soldiers and military personnel at Fort Hood, Texas. During that time, he continued to receive his military paycheck.  That figure is now over $300,000. Members of Congress are trying the change that.

New legislation, called the “Stop Pay for Violent Offenders Act” was introduced Monday in the House of Representatives. It would authorize the military to suspend pay for Hasan and other members of the military for any capital or sex-related offense.

Currently there is no way to stop paying Soldiers as they sit in jail.  The Army cannot stop paying Hasan, who is still officially in the Army, at his usual pay grade unless he’s convicted.

The pay issue has garnered national attention for many reasons.  The long wait for a trial, no rules prohibiting or stopping military pay while in jail, and the large dollar amount continue to haunt the Army and its leaders.  While Hasan continues to draw about $80,000 per year, many of the Fort Hood victims say they’ve been denied financial and medical benefits due to the military’s refusal to categorize the massacre as an act of terrorism, instead trying to classify it as “workplace violence.”

The new legislation is cosponsored by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Virg.), Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.), and Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), who served in the military at Fort Hood before entering politics.

Hasan’s trial is set to get under way on August 6. He is charged with premeditated murder and attempted murder.

The long wait for action and moral outrage with military justice has also spilled over to sexual assault cases within the Department of Defense.  Frustrated with the high number of sexual assaults, a low prosecution rate, and few convictions in the military, many legislators are trying to change DOD policies to re-balance the scales.

The new legislation, which also targets those accused of sex-related crimes, comes after recent Congressional hearings derided the military’s response to sexual assaults.  A recent Pentagon report estimated 26,000 sexual assaults took place last year.

I can see plenty of reasons to be upset, frustrated, outraged, or just plain angry while reading this article.  No one would expect to lose a Soldier by the hands of another service member.  No one should wait four years for a trial to provide closure and healing regarding the loss of a loved one.  No one should expect the government or the Army to lessen that loss by classifying the actions as “workplace violence.” And who would ever expect that the shooter would earn over $300,000 during the wait for trial?  The issues at hand focus greatly on justice, making things right, responsiveness to military families and victims.

The story is truly upsetting.

Victims of violence and family members need our care.  The Fort Hood shooting and sexual assaults are two horrible injustices in our world.  These incidents should call the military community to be responsive and compassionate to those who have endured such atrocities.  As people of God, it is okay to feel outrage when wrongs are done, but there must be action to shine the light of Christ where victims feel no hope.  James chapter two shares that, “faith without works is dead.” There must be a spiritual call to action in the heart of believers.

Let us find ways to minister to the hurting families and victims of abuse.  Let us keep them in prayer as trials and testimonies recount days of heartache and despair.  Let us reach out and be responsive even when our government does not.  May God allow us to be a redemptive instrument in His world and respond to the injustice and hardship that we see.

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