This is Going to Get Very Dark

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Multiple news organizations are reporting that one of the suspected gunman, apparently the one who fired most of the shots, at Fort Hood is Major Malik Nadal Hasan, 39. He was shot dead during the shooting.

Late Update: The most recent statements seem to cast some doubt over whether there were multiple shooters or whether Hassan may have been the only assailant.

Latter Update: The fact that the primary assailant has an Arabic name and is presumably, though we don’t know this yet, of Muslim extraction if not a practicing Muslim, is going to be the focus of attention. That is an issue that speaks for itself. And I’m sure it will be the focus of much discussion over the coming days. But in some ways what’s more shocking to me is that the assailant was an Army Major. Whatever the motivation — ideological, religious, nationalist, mental instability, etc. I would far more expect something like this to done by a young soldier, perhaps an enlisted person. Needless to say this is no knock on enlisted personnel. But a lot of people cycle through the Army. Many have only been in service for a relatively short period of time. A major though is a lifer, usually I would think someone who’s been in for a couple decades or near to it more than a decade, who’s risen very high in the ranks.

Even Later Update: Late reports suggest that Hasan was an Army psychiatrist. That changes the picture somewhat. As TPM Reader BC points out, MDs can come into the Army as Captains. If popular culture is your reference, remember the doctors on MASH were Captains, even though they were drafted in for the Korean War. What that means is that Hasan might not have been in military all that long, which changes the picture somewhat.

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.
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