A trio of Texas Republicans announced legislation this week to declare that the Fort Hood shooting was an act of terrorism, award the victims Purple Hearts, and make the victims and families eligible for special benefits similar to those offered to 9/11 victims.
It’s not the first congressional effort to get such recognition for victims of the 2009 attack, but it’s the first since Nidal Hasan was found guilty and sentenced to death for the massacre.
The Obama administration claimed it couldn’t change the designation from “workplace violence” because Hasan’s trial was still ongoing. Now that trial is over.
“We are a nation at war, and the location in which our men and women in uniform come under hostile fire from a terrorist should not unduly prejudice them and their families from receiving the full honors, recognition and benefits associated with their courageous service,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). “As a nation, we have a sacred obligation to take care of them.”
“Justice was served when Nidal Hasan was found guilty and handed the death penalty. But justice has not been served for the victims of this horrific shooting. This legislation will ensure the victims of this obvious act of terrorism receive the benefits they not only need, but justly deserve,” Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) said.“We cannot continue allowing the Obama Administration to turn its back on these men and women by failing to admit this was indeed a terrorist attack on American soil. If the administration had properly labeled and managed the Fort Hood shooting from the beginning, this legislation would not be required.”
The third sponsor, Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas), said, “The heinous attack on Fort Hood was a direct attack on the values and ideals our soldiers have sworn to defend. Nidal Hasan, the man who killed 13 and injured 32, said he switched sides in what he called a ‘U.S. war on Islam.’ This was not a disgruntled employee taking his anger out on coworkers, as the Administration would have you believe by labeling this an act of workplace violence. No, this was a terrorist attack meant to harm and kill U.S. soldiers who defend freedom and liberty for all Americans.”
“Because the President has placed more importance on political correctness than upholding his promise to take care of the victims, the victims have been neglected. This injustice must come to an end, and the Fort Hood Heroes Act is the right thing to do,” Williams continued. “It will restore the benefits, treatment and honor these men and women so rightly deserve.”
The trio announced their bill in Killeen on Monday with shooting survivors in the audience.
The bill also states the U.S. Government has a fundamental duty to our troops to safeguard them against avoidable harm, and the Fort Hood attack could and should have been prevented; the perpetrator, Nidal Hasan, had become radicalized while serving in the U.S. Army and was principally motivated to attack by an ideology of violent Islamist extremism; and Hasan proved himself to be not just a terrorist, but also a traitor and an enemy of the U.S.