On November 5, 2009, U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan opened fire on unarmed American troops at Fort Hood, Texas. His motive, had it mattered which it did not, seems to have been that these troops were preparing to depart for Afghanistan. Using handguns he had legally purchased, Hasan shot at point-blank range, yelling “Allahu Akbar” as he fired. When his victims attempted to run away he chased them down and shot them. He killed 13 and wounded 30.
Stephen Paddock killed 59 and wounded 500, shooting from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel. His 22,000 possible victims were sitting ducks from Paddock’s vantage point. The difference in numbers don’t tell the most important part of the story of these two mass murder rampages.
Stephen Paddock seems to have been a loner by nature and, as of now, there is no evidence that he colluded with anyone else. By all accounts that we have so far, Paddock did nothing to telegraph his intent to anyone before the day of his attack. Major Hasan, on the other hand, publicly claimed that he was a “Soldier of Allah.” To people of ordinary common sense that sounds like a warning of something to come.
Major Hasan also exchanged emails with Anwar al-Awlaki, a Falls Church, Virginia imam who had coached three of the 9/11 hijackers. In those emails Nidal Hasan mentioned to al-Awlaki that he might soon be killing Americans. Anwar al-Awaki encouraged him. We have since learned that Federal Intelligence Agencies had intercepted these communications and did nothing.
We have no reason to believe that U.S. Intelligence agencies or other law enforcement had any knowledge or suspicion that Stephen Paddock was planning an attack of mass murder. But suppose they did have such information and did nothing to stop it, can you imagine the outrage that would have poured out over the subsequent days and would still be front page news? We would surely be looking at the Las Vegas massacre in an entirely different light.
It’s safe to assume that Major Hasan must have announced his intentions in more ways and to more people. Stephen Paddock left most people who knew him surprised at what he did. Anwar al-Awlaki was gleeful and overjoyed that Major Hasan had “done his duty.”
Barack Obama, as commander in chief of the military had, or certainly could have had, access to all of the intelligence indicating what Major Hasan was planning to do. After the attack Obama made himself look like an idiot by asking aloud what Hasan’s motive could have been. Then he doubled down on his ineptitude and fatuousness by proclaiming the attack to be a case of “workplace violence.” He refused to call it terrorism or an act of evil, even though everyone with a lick of sense knew exactly what it was.
For those in the FBI and other intelligence agencies who had prior knowledge, or reason to know, what Hasan the “Soldier of Allah” was up to, it’s not unreasonable to call them accomplices.
Another major difference between these two murder rampages is that U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan did not kill himself. A military panel gave Hasan a death sentence In August of 2013. To date, it has not been carried out. Compare that to The Oklahoma City bombing Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. Timothy McVeigh was executed onJune 11, 2001. We ‘ll have to wait to see if Major Hasan is ever executed and we won’t be surprised if somehow he escapes that fate.
Those are the major differences between Stephen Paddock’s rampage and Nidal Malik Hasan’s murder of 13 of his fellow soldiers and the wounding of 30 others.