Ft. Hood Suspect Paralyzed From Chest Down

Major Nidal Hasan had his first hearing in the Ft. Hood murder case. The hearing was held in the hospital. His lawyer says he is paralyzed from the chest down, incontinent and in severe pain.

He will be tried in a military court, and additional charges may be pending. Military prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty.

How barbaric that the military will seek to kill a man with no sensation in his body from the chest down. He might prefer it (I certainly would) but it's inexusable behavior for a civilized society and way beyond the pale of decency.

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    "Suspect"????" (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Banzel on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 12:23:12 AM EST

    I'm not in favor of the death penalty (5.00 / 9) (#6)
    by MO Blue on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 12:29:51 AM EST
    In fact, I would like to see it eliminated period. At the same token, I do not believe that a person who is disabled, particularly as a result of a crime, is entitled to be treated any differently than anyone else.

    Generally I know the (none / 0) (#7)
    by JamesTX on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 12:41:30 AM EST
    legal system is capable of doing "accounting" with punishment, such as when time spent sitting in jails for various reason prior to conviction is counted as time served toward a sentence after conviction. It seems perfectly reasonable to me, and only the hardest cases of retribution thinkers would disagree in that before the sentence the society is getting no "satisfaction" from the suffering. Why and when suffering in others causes satisfaction has to do with some evolutionary extra baggage, but ethics is the highest form of human aggression and we're not going to change that. To me, having one's spine severed in response to the crime seems to be a good start on "punishment already received". But then there is that missing satisfaction, and I don't know what to do about that.

    I have no idea what you mean (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by AlkalineDave on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 08:02:01 PM EST
    by ethics is the highest form of human aggression.  In fact your post seems skewed to sound intelligent without really justifying most of your claims - only making them.  In any respect, the severing of his spine was not punitive.  It was not punishment for his crime, and therefore cannot be treated as such.  His spine was severed as a result of being fired upon to stop his criminal act and to protect the innocent people he was killing.  There is a big difference between someone having their spine severed as a form of punishment and one being injured in the process of his crime.

    regrets... (none / 0) (#54)
    by JamesTX on Mon Nov 23, 2009 at 12:54:43 AM EST
    Hi AlkalineDave!

    I really didn't mean to obfuscate. I was just a bit tired and somewhat agitated by the whole affair, so I was sarcastic. I want you to know I really don't expect my rhetoric to "sound intelligent" when it isn't, especially in a forum like this. The population here is obviously above the mean in intelligence, and their discussions won't hold the attention of those who are not above average for very long. And, being somewhat rich in lawyers, they're not much swayed by such tactics! That is their business. I just speak my mind because it is one of the few forums where I respect the readers and writers because they often seem to be really fair minded people. As far as intellectual ability, I am likely on the low end of the distribution in this pond!

    My quip about ethics and aggression is an old tongue-in-cheek hypothesis of mine. It really isn't profound, but I should have explained it better. The idea is based in psychoanalytic (Freudian) theory. The term "aggression" is used in that sense. It is just a summary of my observation that people, for the most part, don't appeal to things like ethical reasoning unless they are criticizing the behavior of others -- arguing that the behavior of others is "wrong", and justifying taking some action against them because of it. It is the highest form -- the most refined expression -- of the basic instinct to fight. In this context there is no implicit value placed on the aggression -- good or bad. Psychoanalytic theory is ultimately mechanistic biology. It doesn't address ethical reasoning as such, only as a mechanism for the channeling of biological energy. There isn't a right and wrong. There is only biology. That many of our evolutionary counterparts are extinct is neither right nor wrong. It just is.

    Yes, I understand that this guy's injury was not properly or officially punishment for the crime. And I admit that your argument to that effect is somewhat appealing. I am not educated in the law, so I don't know if that matters legally or not. But there are cases where legitimate injury to a person which was not proper punishment is allowed to be counted as "time served". For instance, there is the current case noted by Jeralyn where an actually innocent prisoner exonerated and released from serving life for a wrongful murder conviction is seeking to apply the time served to another conviction. That seems fair to me, and Jeralyn seemed to imply it would likely succeed. I understand that there is a difference in the injury suffered to protect public safety in an emergency and an injury from a wrongful sentence, but in evaluating the effect on the person, it looks to me to be the same, or at least reasonably comparable.  

    The injury is something the society did to him in response to his act. I caused him great harm. It should count as punishment experienced.

    I am not saying the guy should get off. I loved those soldiers as much as anybody. I am just saying that we have already taken some measure of action against him. And it is action of the sort that is comparable to physical execution. It has some of the qualities of that consequence. If his spine is severed, his lifespan expectations have already been altered, and his quality of life is severely and irreparably depleted. I'm not burning any candles for this guy, but I am willing to acknowledge he has paid some sort of price that is more than zero. That cost might could serve as consideration for those who will call for his execution for reasons of retribution, even though the worse punishment would likely be a quiet, quick life sentence without possibility of release. That would turn him back into an anonymous statistic in federal prison rather than making him a V.I.P. for several years. Execution will place him in the limelight for years, and allow him to act as a martyr if we ever get around to executing him. My point is that he is already half executed in a sense that should provide some satisfaction to those who find justice in physical retribution (the basis of the satisfaction from the death penalty), and a death sentence will only be wastefully expensive serve no real purpose.


    He will remain in the public eye (none / 0) (#56)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Nov 23, 2009 at 09:04:15 AM EST
    only as long as people such as you opine and complain over his execution.

    I think not. (none / 0) (#58)
    by JamesTX on Mon Nov 23, 2009 at 10:14:22 AM EST
    I think it's a real money-maker for the mainstream media. Exciting stuff.

    Sorry, but this is just wrong (5.00 / 5) (#41)
    by hitchhiker on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 02:05:59 PM EST
    the military will seek to kill a man with no sensation in his body from the chest down. He might prefer it (I certainly would)

    My husband was paralyzed in a skiing accident 8 years ago.  Spinal cord injury SUCKS bigtime, in ways that most people can't even imagine.  

    But really -- worse than death?  Most of the people I know who live their lives from wheelchairs would laugh at that.  They don't want to be dead, they just want to stay healthy long enough for the science people to figure out how to help them.  In the meantime, they're a lot like everyone else.

    You know, working, having sex, raising kids, getting pissed off at politicians, being human -- and now, I guess, standing trial for murder.  Hasan didn't suddenly become sub-human when his cord was damaged; he might not be able to feed himself, but he's still a whole person in every way that counts.

    Like my husband.

    pertinence of his injury (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by diogenes on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 03:13:24 PM EST
    A defendant is convicted and sentenced based on the crime and penalty.  President Obama is welcome to commute a death sentence to life in prison due to Hasan's poor health if he so wishes.

    This is such (4.67 / 3) (#4)
    by JamesTX on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 11:58:16 PM EST
    an uncivilized place that I find it difficult to keep motivating myself up to participate in the society. I guess I have to. I am responsible for the kids. Most Americans would "execute" a corpse for the "principle" of the thing. They are just that child-like in their retributive thinking. The conservative movement reduced the level of cognitive development in the public to that expected of children prior to adolescence, and even prior to primary grades in most cases.

    are you planning to leave? (2.00 / 0) (#44)
    by nyrias on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 06:33:30 PM EST
    If not, you may want to resign to majority rule. The death penalty is quite popular here.

    And I am sure calling Americans names is really helpful in converting minds .... not.


    I am an (none / 0) (#55)
    by JamesTX on Mon Nov 23, 2009 at 01:33:09 AM EST
    American, naturally born, just as good as you, so please don't talk to me as if I am an outsider who simply can't understand the perfectly good common sense of the American public. It is part of the core values of our country that permit, nay, encourage its people to criticize. Because some of us do not like the shallow, contradictory, canned "values" which have been sold to Americans through a corporate media over several decades of affluence-driven apathy does not make us "outsiders". We are here and we are as much Americans as you, and we are not an insignificant minority -- statistically or otherwise. I have a right to despair when my country has gone terribly wrong. Your "love it or leave it" rhetoric misses the point and always has. To criticize popular opinions and rationalizations is not the same thing as "calling Americans names".

    As I am sure you are aware, the notion of majority rule is not the end of justice. That is why we have a Bill of Rights. Majorities are in many ways mobs, and they rightly have to have limits placed on them. Our government is designed to do just that.

    The majority endorsement of death penalty questions on surveys is often limited to groups who are ethnic majorities, also. For instance, the majority of African Americans do not support it. Obviously, this points to some problems with your simplistic concept. Those who are most likely to experience the injustices and flaws are against it, while those who are most likely to escape any consequence of injustice are for it. Just because those who are most protected from wrongful conviction are unable or unwilling to take into consideration the costs in their reasoning about the issue does not make those costs irrelevant. Majorities have to be tempered with justice.


    If this is not ... (none / 0) (#59)
    by nyrias on Mon Nov 23, 2009 at 11:09:52 AM EST
    "Most Americans would "execute" a corpse for the "principle" of the thing. They are just that child-like in their retributive thinking."

    ... calling American names, I don't know what is.

    Your second msg is more serious and at least attempt to put up an argument.

    Your first is not. You are calling ALL Americans supporting the death penalty "child-like" .. a demeaning term, without even attempt to understand or rebutt their reasons.

    I stand by my comment that you ARE calling American names. The fact that you are one does nothing to mitigate your stance.


    My message is (none / 0) (#62)
    by JamesTX on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 02:46:46 AM EST
    is more than "at least an attempt". It is a good argument. And your insinuation that it is some mere "attempt" is a direct insult against an identifiable person (me). My comments about the population are delocalized and general, and are typical of many comments by people on both the left and the right. Your use of such choice words to describe my opinion personally is inherently demeaning and insulting, so I don't put much stock in your criticism of me for what you call demeaning comments about Americans. I will not stop criticizing bad public policy and the people who make it and support it because you hold the fantasy that you somehow represent America and I don't. So much for my attempts to reconcile any offense, which wasn't called for to begin with, but simply represents my attitude of good will. Some people just can't stand peace and good will.

    I stand by my claim that to describe American public opinion as child-like is not name-calling. Richard Nixon did the same, as do many experts. It is a valid description in many ways. They have short memories, oversimplify issues to the point of incompetence, concentrate on the short term and ignore long term costs, ignore the rights of minorities, and we all suffer as a society for it. Just because you don't like the description and feel it is an attack on a favored opinion about the death penalty doesn't make it any less valid. The fact that our public does, collectively, behave as if they have limited cognitive development is more scientific fact than name calling.

    You may have good arguments about the death penalty. You may be surprised to find that I am human, and I naturally feel like the death penalty is deserved in some cases. I am not a deluded bleeding heart. I just feel like it is a bad public policy for many good reasons, and most of the civilized world seems to agree. The least problem is that we now have vast amounts of evidence that we are routinely executing innocents because of the public pressure for conviction and punishment, and the fact that minorities in poverty apparently have no effective defense in the legal system -- even in capital cases. Even in cases where no perpetrator can be identified, it seems someone has to be executed, because of the simplistic fantasies the population has about justice and their drive for retribution even when there is not enough known to solve the crime. You add to that the problem of racism, classism, and other injustices, and the death penalty in the U.S. begins to look like a very dangerous, unjust, carelessly done thing. Even if it could be justified morally in certain cases, we can't seem to use it responsibly, which makes it a lot like a loaded gun floating around a group of arguing drunks.

    But I would give you a walk on the death penalty. I can entertain arguments in its favor, and I can accept those who do. What I resent is your rhetorical strategy overall. I am very familiar with that strategy. It is typical of many on the political right (although you may or may not be). It works by planting a subtle theme that you are "defending America and Americans" against your opponent, who is consequently implied to be "un-American". It is the classical rhetorical strategy of the Bush administration, and it is getting old and ineffective. But it still is insulting and demeaning to whoever is being called "un-American". To take that attitude as a premise is the worst of insults to someone who is just as good of an American as you, even though you may disagree with me. I have served my country in ways you know nothing about, and I just simply no longer sit still for that sharp and thoughtless insult. The strategy is typical not only of the political but the religious right, who tend to use the same maneuvering when they talk of God -- laying down the assumption that their opponents in debate are godless and that they themselves are "of God" and are "defending the people of God". The strategy itself is a strategy of theft -- claiming exclusive right to things that everyone owns, and attempting to deny such things to the opponent, such as good citizenship and being a child of God. I can criticize the country I love, and that country is built on the recognition that someone needs to do so -- regularly. We have something called free speech to make sure it happens.

    So, it's beginning to look like I am the real American here, and you are un-American. Would you stop criticizing us Americans? We're better than you, and we know more than you. We are also more moral.

    How does it feel?


    Really dumb question . . . . (4.50 / 2) (#1)
    by nycstray on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 11:35:29 PM EST
    How can he have "no sensation in his body from the chest down" and be "in severe pain" ?

    Not a dumb question (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 08:57:33 AM EST
    Pain is something that can't always be proven. That also makes it possible for a patient to claim it exists in search of sympathy. In Hasan's case, it's possible that it is psychosomatic, or maybe emotional.

    maybe his pain is above his chest (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 11:37:31 PM EST
    Wouldn't they call that out (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by nycstray on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 11:46:09 PM EST
    seeing as it doesn't make sense (at least to me) otherwise?
    And next dumb question:

    No matter how you feel about the death penalty, is it 'right' that a person who was shot during a shooting crime and is paralyzed via shot, get a reduced/,or more sentence because of a new disability? One they wouldn't have otherwise?


    Thank you for explaining (none / 0) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 10:47:56 AM EST
    ok, (none / 0) (#8)
    by cpinva on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 01:02:17 AM EST

    alleged. there, you happy now?

    No, I'm not. (none / 0) (#48)
    by Banzel on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 08:58:03 PM EST
    He's the perp.  The only thing open for quibbling is which high crimes he committed.

    I agree (none / 0) (#9)
    by kidneystones on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 02:33:40 AM EST
    I think the tax-payer should go on the hook for thirty of forty years of top-quality medical-care.

    This care, of course, must include rehabilitation for pre-traumatic stress from his work as a psychiatrist (call it damage done to his soul in the line of duty) and the post-traumatic stress that is certain to result from the firefight he initiated.

    Then, there are his legal bills. It seems unthinkable that he should get anything less than the best possible legal representation. After all, he's going to need it. And then, there's the entire question of him getting a fair trial. He's been 'hung-out' already.

    Hopefully, the government will do the civilized thing and negotiate a plea-bargain in which the US military pleads guilty to causing the Major's break-down, murderous rampage, and paralysis.

    He deserves millions of tax dollars in legal-aid and medical care.

    That would be the civilized thing to do.

    JAG will appoint a military (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by cpinva on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 05:40:15 AM EST
    attorney for his defense, unless he wants/can pay for a qualified civilian one.

    i'm going out on a limb, but my guess is that the death penalty threat is a way to get him to plead out, and avoid the (probably) bad publicity a trial will get. so many questions remain unanswered, with regards to why maj. hasan was even still in the service, given the concerns raised by colleagues and superiors.

    either way, he's not going anywhere, ever.


    The information (none / 0) (#12)
    by Fabian on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 06:06:17 AM EST
    that is trickling out just about Major Hasan's job performance is enough to make the Army look bad.  From the available evidence, Major Hasan would have been placed on probation in any civilian job, if not fired.  

    That's just for poor performance or non performance of his professional duties.  It doesn't even touch on any personal problems.  Where did he work?  Walter Reed.  The military still hasn't resolved the problems discovered during the Bush administration.

    I admit a certain personal bias towards laying blame on the military for enabling this disaster, but the evidence so far doesn't do anything to exonerate them.


    allways amazes me (none / 0) (#13)
    by nyjets on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 07:24:08 AM EST
    "I admit a certain personal bias towards laying blame on the military for enabling this disaster, but the evidence so far doesn't do anything to exonerate them. "
    It never ceases to amaze me how after cases like this blame is cast on everyone but the person who allegedly commits the crime.
    Only one person is ultimately responsible for what may have happened. The alleged shooter. Only he is responsible for his own action as we are all ultimately responsible for our own actions.

    The military (none / 0) (#14)
    by Fabian on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 08:55:01 AM EST
    has more information on and control over anyone's life outside of prison inmates.  

    Sure, Major Hasan did what he did without anyone's assistance, but I have to ask who in their right mind would willingly keep someone who was performing so poorly that one commenter on NPR described Hasan's actions as a "cry for help".  

    I think the military would have been much happier if Major Hasan had committed suicide in the usual way - alone.  It's the difference between yet another tragic death and a potentially embarrassing inquiry into the state of affairs at Walter Reed and the military.  

    Who could have predicted that a military desperate to keep its numbers up would retain poorly qualified, under performing and troubled personnel?  


    Fear of accusations of racism (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by kidneystones on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 09:20:41 AM EST
    This act of terrorism or 'cry for help', as some call it, is the responsibility of one person alone. There isn't much good that can come out of this sort of loss of life and I can only imagine how angry and sad those who suffered directly from this cowardly attack must feel.

    All of us who found ourselves accused of racism one year ago for opposing this President understand, I expect, exactly what was going through the minds of the military professionals faced with the choice of reporting the odd behavior of this lunatic.

    Officers are not ordinarily released from their obligations to serve and my understanding is that the Major made no formal request to be released from the service on any grounds.

    This is clearly a deeply-disturbed individual who has destroyed lives for his own twisted reasons. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't want to wind the clock back someone and stop him.

    He's going to get a much better chance than those he drew upon. That's the mark of a civilized society. He'll get first-class care, a trial, and if he's found innocent, he'll be released.

    More than fair.


    He did attempt to get out (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 10:59:36 AM EST
    by making claims that he had been harassed by other soldiers for being Muslim.  Which of course triggered an investigation.

    I can explain that (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 10:54:55 AM EST
    He had complained about being harassed due to being Muslim.  He wanted out of the military, but the military had about a million dollars in him in training and they are very reluctant to set a precedent of allowing anyone with such training to not "pay back" with their six year enlistment.  I can almost promise that his discrimination complaints went to the I.G., and when an I.G. investigation about discrimination takes place you had better not be caught "discriminating".  So everyone was doing everything in their power to be respectful of his Muslim beliefs......he is entitled to them so long as it does not interfere with his duty.  By his own choice they did.  Hasan's situation is one where I can't find serious fault with anyone except Hasan who took an oath, and then broke it.

    Wasn't his mental health (none / 0) (#52)
    by sallywally on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 09:56:06 PM EST
    clearly in question for some time?

    I haven't read anything (none / 0) (#53)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 11:21:33 PM EST
    about his mental health being questioned.  I have read that his beliefs concerned some of the other students.  I have not read anything recent for a few days though.

    He was kept (2.00 / 0) (#57)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Nov 23, 2009 at 09:13:35 AM EST
    because of political correctness. Listen to what he said:

    "And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that's worse."



    Article this morning on (none / 0) (#17)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 09:10:34 AM EST
    Mental healthcare will be substandard (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 11:11:08 AM EST
    until America is willing to embrace the cost of war on a majority who participate.  It changes you.  It changed my husband.  In some ways he became a better person and in some ways he does not sleep without jumping out of bed hearing every little noise without taking Trazadone.  My cousin married a Marine who has never seen combat.  The corp sent him to get his MBA and he fights desks.  When he heard that my husband was experiencing problems he attempted to shame the family.....asked me if my husband had been shotdown or something.  I told him no, but that just living in the environment seemed to have an effect on every single one who went.  The look he gave me.......what an a$$hole.  That was about five years ago now.  And soldiers who experience that level of stress don't ever talk about the whole experience as a whole that I can tell, at least not when it is as fresh as it still is.  My husband did have an aircraft failure there and landed the aircraft with he and his gunner safe, but it was a class-A crackup.  The aircraft could not be repaired.  He flanked convoys while IEDs blew the soldiers up on the ground.  He flew cover and flanked Blackhawks flying soldiers that died in air to hospitals.  He will never be the same.  Imagine what it was like on the ground.  I do think there is a different constant stress that helicopter pilots deal with that is perhaps not as accute as the soldiers on the ground, because they fly around pretty vulnerable.  If they have a lot of combat experience I can almost promise that there is a waiver in their files for some kind of antidepressant right now.

    There has been so much (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 06:45:21 PM EST
    written on the levels of post traumatic stress disorder in U.S. troops sent to Iraq and Afghanistan, and much of it is in the form of solid studies carried out using recognized scientific methods & statistical analyses; some of the studies have been conducted over several years.  The rate of PTSD, as I recall, increases with soldier's exposure to combat, presence during injury of others, handling of dead bodies, etc.  The nature of combat in Iraq & Afghanistan adds to the level of stress/trauma experienced by soldiers (and civilians in a combat zone) because of the difficulty of distinguishing friend from foe, of knowing where the next attack will come from and the need to be on constant alert as a result; all of this means that the human fight or flight mechanism designed to assist us in dealing with threats of imminent & serious danger are called into play a huge portion of the time.  The results of the steady production of high cortisol levels can cause damage to the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, the brain area associated with judgement, attention and higher reasoning, as well as to the hypothalamus, which is associated with memory, among other things.  In short, the constant presence of stress in these combat zones has demonstrated effects on psychological make-up, at the base of which are physiological changes.  
    The point:  It is so disturbing to read statements that deny the short or long-term effects of combat on our soldiers, especially when these effects are, by now, so well known. In addition, the shortage of troops and multiple tours of duty, etc. exascerbate the effects of combat exposure on our troops.    

    I agree (none / 0) (#25)
    by jbindc on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 11:14:16 AM EST
    There is a huge problem in our military with those suffering mental illness and they need help - especially those who have been in combat (which Maj. Hasan was not, if I recall correctly).

    That being said - how many members of our armed services suffer with mental illness, PTSD, etc., and don't go into a deployment center and kill 13 people?


    About half of them right now :) (none / 0) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 11:15:29 AM EST
    We have soldiers going over there (none / 0) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 11:20:08 AM EST
    on fourth and fifth deployments volunteering.  If you ask them why they will tell you they can't stop thinking about the situation there and that is the only place they feel "normal".  If that isn't PTSD I don't know what is.  We are still in a fight though so their symptoms aren't abnormal in certain parts of the world at this time and they go there to function.  They don't do things like this though.  And when they do come home there had better be some help waiting for them and it had better be adequate.

    Doonesbury nailed that one (none / 0) (#37)
    by Fabian on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 01:11:10 PM EST
    but good when B.D. came back.  

    The sad part is that research has shown that living under that kind of stress causes changes to the brain, possibly permanent ones.  I'm not sure if I should call it "damage" or not, but it's hard to call the changes positive ones unless you are planning to live the rest of your life under combat conditions.  


    My spouse told me before he left too (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 01:56:21 PM EST
    that some new study came out saying that when we send the kids in in their early twenties, their frontal lobe is still wiring itself.  When we had problems with our daughter in her teens we had doctors tell us about this and we used to have a private joke about praying for frontal lobes to come in.  But new research seems to indicate that when someone goes into a sitaution like that while the frontal lobe is still maturing, that that stress gets hardwired in in a way that it would not do in an older person.

    THe male brain continues to develop (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 06:50:22 PM EST
    through age 25; female brain development generally "ends" a few years earlier.  The age 25 issue is why I think it is so dangerous to give young soldiers psychotropic medicines to help them deal with the effects of stress so they can remain in combat; some of the medications are not recommended for very young "adults".

    To clarify CPinVA's comment (#11) (none / 0) (#22)
    by Peter G on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 11:06:24 AM EST
    Under Rules 405(d)(2) and 506 of the Manual for Courts Martial -- warning! 981-page PDF -- a member of the military facing trial on military criminal charges is entitled to the free assistance of a JAG defense attorney (indeed, military defense counsel of the defendant's choice, if reasonably available) whether or not s/he elects to hire civilian defense co-counsel in addition.  This right substantially exceeds the rights of the accused to counsel in a civilian court, state or federal.

    And (none / 0) (#23)
    by jbindc on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 11:10:59 AM EST
    The death penalty works in Hasan's favor, if you will.  Under the UCMJ, it will take a unanimous verdict of all 12 jurors to convict him of the crime(s) he is charged with if it is a death penalty case.  If the death penalty was not asked for, it would only take 9 jurors to convict him of the crime(s) charged.



    (a) (1) No person may be convicted of an offense for which the death penalty is made mandatory by law, except by the concurrence of all the members of the court-martial present at the time the vote is taken.

    (2) No person may be convicted of any other offense, except as provided in section 845(b) of this title (article 45(b)) or by concurrence of two-thirds of the members present at the time the vote is taken.
    (b) (1) No person may be sentenced to suffer death, except by the concurrence of all the members of the court-martial present at the time the vote is taken and for an offense in this chapter expressly made punishable by death.
    (2) No person may be sentenced by life imprisonment or to confinement for more than ten years, except by the concurrence of three-fourths of the members at the time the vote is taken.
    (3) All other sentences shall be determined by the concurrence of two- thirds of the members at the time the vote is taken.
    (c) All other questions to be decided by the members of a general or special court-martial shall be determined by a majority vote, but a determination to reconsider a finding of guilty or to reconsider a sentence, with a view toward decreasing it, may be made by any lesser vote which indicates that the reconsideration is not opposed by the number of votes required for that finding or sentence. A tie vote on a challenge disqualifies the member challenged. A tie vote on a motion for a finding of not guilty or on a motion relating to the question of the accused sanity. is a determination against the accused. A tie vote on any other question is a determination in favor of the accused.

    So all his defense attorney needs is to convince one member of reasonable doubt.  If there were no death penalty on the table, the defense would need 4 votes.


    i also don't think (none / 0) (#27)
    by jbindc on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 11:17:26 AM EST
    Any defense attorney would like the odds of convincing 4 members of a jury to acquit this guy.

    Not his peers (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 11:20:40 AM EST
    Army officers will make up the jury (none / 0) (#31)
    by jbindc on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 12:43:16 PM EST
    Or did you mean "peers" as those who also have shot up a large area with lots of people in it?

    You know I meant (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 12:46:28 PM EST
    a jury of soldiers.  Or maybe you didn't.  That is what I meant though.

    I know (none / 0) (#33)
    by jbindc on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 12:49:07 PM EST
    I was being snarky - sorry. It was uncalled for.

    But you're right - it will be by people who actually may have been in combat (as opposed to Hasan), and they will understand what military people go through.


    I think in this instance (none / 0) (#35)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 01:00:53 PM EST
    being judged by his peers is the worst thing that could happen to him.  Last week my husband was bragging that among everything he and those with him does he cleaned the vacuum cleaner that was provided to them to attempt to maintain some sort of cleanliness. He said it probably hadn't been cleaned in the five years it had been there.  He was very proud of himself for being so "ultra" responsible until I told him that continuing to struggle to be more responsible than everyone else in the military around him at this time causes me to question his ability to stay sane :)  I can't find many people who have remained in this fight to even put into the "irresponsible on occasion" column.

    The defense is not likely (none / 0) (#30)
    by Peter G on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 12:12:57 PM EST
    to be that they arrested the wrong guy.  It is much more likely to be that Hasan was legally insane, that is, what is called in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Article 50a, the defense of "lack of mental responsibility."  The defense focuses on whether the defendant, by reason of a severe mental illness, is "unable to appreciate the nature and quality or the wrongfulness of the acts."  It is an "affirmative defense," so (unlike ordinary defenses, where the prosecution retains the burden beyond a reasonable doubt to persuade the jury) a majority of the members of the court martial must make this finding, based on a preponderance of the evidence, to generate an acquittal.  If the defense fails to persuade a majority of the court martial jury to acquit, that evidence is still valid as potentially "extenuating or mitigating" the defendant's culpability under MCM Rule 1004(b)(3) for purposes of weighing whether to impose capital punishment.  A verdict of death must be reached unanimously, on the basis that any aggravating circumstances "substantially outweigh" (Rule 1004(c)(4)) any mitigating circumstances.

    I have a sense that the insanity plea (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Cream City on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 01:04:26 PM EST
    might not go over well with military, either -- admitting that an insane man under investigation was allowed to continue as a mental health professional?  This will inspire novels about this war that will rival or even surpass Catch-22.

    He need only have been "insane" (none / 0) (#39)
    by Peter G on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 01:53:29 PM EST
    in the special legal sense at the time of the killings, or in this case during the several days before that, when he was allegedly buying extra ammo, taking extra target practice, giving away his worldly goods, telling everyone they would never see him again, and otherwise planning the military equivalent of a "suicide by cop."

    Of course. Just like Jeffrey Dahmer. (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Cream City on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 02:39:41 PM EST
    But how it plays in the headlines matters.  And I can tell you that headlines stating that Dahmer was sane did not go well with families of many slain, or others of us who knew some of them. . . .

    Just saying that some on a military jury may have some difficulty with such a determination as well, even if not factoring in the public perception.


    Right (none / 0) (#34)
    by jbindc on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 12:51:08 PM EST
    But, as I read it, with this being a death penalty case, a verdict of guilt must be unanimous.  If this wasn't a death penalty case (regardless of Hasan's affirmative defense), but instead say a LWOP case, it would only require 9 votes to convict.  Right?

    Isn't a trial the civilized (none / 0) (#10)
    by ding7777 on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 05:18:20 AM EST
    thing to do?  


    Thinking? (none / 0) (#49)
    by Potfry on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 09:13:55 PM EST
    I can only infer from your post that you think it would be less barbaric to kill the man if he was not paralyzed.

    It therefore follows that you believe disabled people who commit crimes should be given more lenient punishment.

    The liberal mind in action.

    you would be wrong (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 09:46:03 PM EST
    if that is what you infer.

    That doesn't follow at all. (none / 0) (#51)
    by Peter G on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 09:49:48 PM EST
    "It ... follows that you believe disabled people who commit crimes should be given more lenient punishment."  Jeralyn's post referred to the physical disability that Hasan apparently suffered in the course of his apprehension.  His disability at the time of commission of the act was mental, it seems, not physical, so your attempted snark misses its target entirely.  In fact, our legal system does sometimes declare that the severely mentally disabled are less morally culpable for their acts than others.  

    If you follow this site much at all, I think you will have noticed that TL is quite capable of expressing her opinions clearly and directly, whether you agree with them or not.  It is entirely unnecessary for you to "infer" or imagine what she thinks, but did not say.  In fact, from your comment, it appears that any effort of that sort by you would be unsuccessful.


    Nah ... (none / 0) (#60)
    by nyrias on Mon Nov 23, 2009 at 11:14:59 AM EST
    "How barbaric that the military will seek to kill a man with no sensation in his body from the chest down. He might prefer it (I certainly would) but it's inexusable behavior for a civilized society and way beyond the pale of decency."

    It is more barbaric to kill a healthy man since he has more to live.

    Plus, the charge of being barbaric-ism never stops the killing, whether it is capital punishment or war.

    And what you call "inexcusable" (and my fav "vengeance" is what other calls "justice". It is just a word. It is just an opinion. I don't see your opinion is more valid than all the Americans who have no problem executing a mass murderer.

    Its also tragic that we kill ophans (none / 0) (#61)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Nov 23, 2009 at 11:58:17 PM EST
    just for Mudering their parents.