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Fort Hood Shooting Victims Ultimately Sue U.S. Government
It was bound to happen, the only surprise is that it took so long to happen. The trial over Major Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist who faces 13 charges of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder for the Nov 5. 2009 attacks in Fort Hood, is dragging on and on. Sometimes, his trial is postponed over his beard, and sometimes for other reasons. Ultimately, last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces has indefinitely postponed Hasan’s trial pending further review.
While Major Hasan is dyeing his beard with berries from his breakfast, no one knows how the children of his victims are faring. But there is one assurance, while the children of his victims may not be sure of their breakfasts, Major Hasan is still on Army payroll and receiving his salaries.
So, it was bound to happen, and on Monday, 148 plaintiffs sued the U.S. government seeking damages and a ruling that Major Hasan’s attack in Fort Hood military base was a terrorist attack. A question, over which the U.S. government seems to be failing to make up its mind.
It is also not understood why Hasan’s attack should not be counted as a terrorist attack as he conducted his attack on soldiers preparing to deploy to Iraq, and he had been exchanging emails with al-Awlaki, the U.S. born al-Qaeda cleric killed last year, in a U.S. drone attack.
The lead plaintiff, Shawn Manning, an Army staff sergeant who had been shot six times, said, “The Army has refused to acknowledge this was a terrorist attack, and I have exhausted all other options.”
The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia claims that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other officials disregarded the safety of soldiers and civilians in Fort Hood. The defendants in the wrongful death suit include the U.S. government, the gunman Major Nidal Hasal, and the estate of the deceased al Qaeda leader, al-Awlaki. The lawsuit also includes allegations of civil conspiracy, gross negligence, assault and battery, due process violations, and intentional misrepresentations.
The attorney on behalf of the plaintiffs, Neal Shur, said, “The government seems to have gone out of its way to give the stiff arm to these victims. They have made their lives miserable.”