Yesterday, however, stark reality of a very different sort intruded: News broke out of the shooting at the Fort Hood Army post in Texas. Soon enough, the full impact of the horror became evident: 13 dead, another 30 injured. The full details and investigation of the shooting — evidently by a base Army officer — will become clear in the days ahead.
It’s President Obama’s reaction to it that is disturbing. Networks reported that the White House had been notified of the early afternoon shooting. By late afternoon, word went out that the president would speak about the incident prior to a previously scheduled appearance. At about 5 PM, cable stations went to the president. But, instead of what might have been expected — a somber chief executive offering reassuring words and expressions of sympathy and compassion — viewers saw a wildly disconnected and, inappropriately “light” president making introductory remarks. At a Tribal Nations Conference hosted by the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian affairs, the president thanked various staffers and offered a “shout-out” to “Dr. Joe Medicine Crow — that Congressional Medal of Honor winner.” The president eventually spoke about the shooting — in measured and appropriate terms, but how could anyone have advised him to begin in this manner?
One thing that he could have noted is that Native Americans are disproportionally represented in the military. But that kind of fact isn’t very politically correct, although it honours those who were here first.