The Fort Hood shooter gets no sympathy from me for gunning down soldiers and ending lives, but the reporting about his motives deserves some attention. I have heard at least two MSNBC anchors briefly (and very generally) refer to "paperwork" issues as a possible reason for Ivan Lopez's shooting spree. Alex Witt literally brushed it off as "some paperwork" during one interview. her tone and demeanor unmistakeably dismissive as she quickly moved on to her next point.
But that paperwork wasn't just about filling out routine Army forms at Fort Hood, it was a prerequisite for Lopez before he could go home when his mother died, and again to take care of family business following her death.
In no way does this excuse him for murdering three people and wounding sixteen others, obviously. But the responsible thing to do would be to provide context and depth when describing what happened. It's imperative to tell the whole story, because... journalism.
That brings me to today's Los Angeles Times letter to the editor, because our voices matter:
The article states that investigators may never have a motive for Fort Hood shooter Army Spc. Ivan Lopez. Really? A soldier who was being treated for depression and anxiety was granted less than two days to go home to Puerto Rico for his mother's funeral five months ago; more recently, he was denied another temporary leave to return home to deal with family matters related to his mother's death.
This man was sent into harm's way to protect our country, and we can't give him compassionate leaves of duty during such a tragic time in his life? This is unconscionable.
Lopez wanted to go home to Puerto Rico; we sent him a lot farther away than that to defend our country.
Moira Niblo Obermeyer