Unbelievable. Major Nidal Hasan, the alleged Fort Hood killer, has been paid $278,000 while awaiting trial. The November 5, 2009 shooting killed 13 and injured 32. In the time that has elapsed, Hasan has been paid a salary somewhere in the neighborhood of $75,000 a year. It would seem that his pay cannot be stopped until he is proven guilty due to the Military Code of Justice. NBCDFW reports:
The Department of Defense confirms to NBC 5 Investigates that accused Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan has now been paid more than $278,000 since the Nov. 5, 2009 shooting that left 13 dead and 32 injured. The Army said under the Military Code of Justice, Hasan's salary cannot be suspended unless he is proven guilty.
If Hasan had been a civilian defense department employee, NBC 5 Investigates has learned, the Army could have suspended his pay after just seven days.
Personnel rules for most civilian government workers allow for "indefinite suspensions" in cases "when the agency has reasonable cause to believe that the employee has committed a crime for which a sentence of imprisonment may be imposed."
NBCDFW, who broke the story, was able to secure this information through the Freedom of Information Act. More than 3 years since the massacre, some of the victim/survivors are still fighting to receive the same pay as their counterparts who are injured in combat.
Retired Army Spc. Logan Burnett who was shot three times at the Fort Hood Massacre nearly died in the incident, yet his family struggles to make ends meet while the likely perpetrator continues to receive his normal salary. According to NBCDFW:
Burnett is now fighting a new battle; only this one is against the U.S. Army.
The Army has not classified the wounds of the Ft. Hood victims as "combat related" and declines to label the shooting a "terrorist attack",
The "combat related" designation is an important one, for without it Burnett and other shooting victims are not given combat-related pay, they are not eligible for Purple Heart retirement or medical benefits given to other soldiers wounded either at war or during the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon.
As a result, Burnett, his wife Torey, and the families of other Fort Hood victims miss out on thousands of dollars of potential benefits and pay every year.
To Burnett the shooting felt like combat.
"You take three rounds and lose five good friends and watch seven other people get killed in front of you. Do you have another term that we can classify that as?" asked Burnett.
The Army has categorized the shooting as a case of "workplace violence."
"Sickens me. Absolutely sickens me. Workplace violence? I don't even know if I have the words to say," said Burnett.
This is another prime example of a country with policies that are totally out of alignment with what is right and just. I can genuinely understand that a man is innocent until proven guilty. But in light of the fact that Hasan is being paid you would think that someone would find their way clear to expedite this matter. It has been almost 4 years since the incident. The trial was set to begin on May 29 but there has been yet another in a series of delays. According to The Killeen Daily Herald Hasan just fired his lawyers and will be representing himself at trial:
FORT HOOD — With one week left until the start of accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan's death penalty court-martial, Hasan fired his lawyers and asked to represent himself at trial.
In response, the presiding judge delayed the start of jury selection to June 5. A pretrial hearing scheduled for Wednesday will take up the matter.
It is not the first time Hasan has fired an attorney. In 2011, he fired his civilian counsel, Belton attorney John Galligan.
Hasan has since been represented by military-appointed counsel, who have been successful in securing multiple trial delays and having a judge thrown off the case.
What would you like to bet that Hasan finds new representation and pulls off another delay? It would surprise no one at this point. Again, it has been nearly four years now and we haven't even made it to trial. If Hasan truly decides to defend himself it will be quite interesting to say the least.
Congressman Frank Wolf of Virginia has taken note of the struggles of the victims and their families and introduced an amendment to The Military Construction/VA Appropriations Bill that would offer the benefits that they so desperately need and deserve in light of The Pentagon's failure to classify this as what it was. It was an act of terrorism and these families should not have to suffer financially in the wake of this tragedy. This was not "workplace violence" as it has been classified. Workplace violence is where a co-worker punches another co-worker in the face. Workplace violence doesn't tend to leave 13 dead and 32 wounded. Mr. Wolf's amendment can be found here.
In light of The Pentagon's classification on such a high profile story, you have to again assume that everything in this world is about money. When the military cannot take care of its own then who can we trust? If it is not about money then it would certainly stand to reason that it is about the Islamification of America. We have so many people in Washington D.C. wearing "Hug a Jihadist" t-shirts that they may be giving the orders here and keeping the military from classifying this as terror.
This entire story is an embarrassment to the Department of Defense and just serves as another shining example of what is wrong with a system that is so heavy on politics and red tape, yet so light on common sense. Kudos to Frank Wolf for trying to get the families the relief they deserve, but that's only half of the story here, and the fact that it has taken almost 4 years to address the needs of the victims is ridiculous by anyone's definition.
Well, by "anyone" I am talking about those who are not involved in the nasty political game at the top. Stories like this are exactly why I starting blogging six months ago and exactly why I cannot allow myself to stop.
God Bless the victims and their families. Please continue to pray for them. Hopefully a little relief is on the way.
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