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Dear Editor:

Sonali Kudva’s Daily Kent Stater column “The Real Tragedy at Fort Hood” (Nov. 13) amazingly claims that the brutal massacre of 13 dead and 30 wounded is not the real tragedy. The real tragedy, according to Kudva, is that the shooter was a Muslim man and this “appears to have placed those of the Islamic faith in a position of unease, perhaps a defensive position.”

This is about the most appallingly insensitive piece of journalism I can imagine being written about the Fort Hood Massacre. It’s appalling because it minimizes the abject horror that took place on that day in order to leverage two political points against the media.

First, she states that the media “is especially wrong to pick on someone on the basis of what he or she believes.” Do you not think that what Nidal Hasan was thinking of up to and during the massacre is important? Do you not think these beliefs, whatever they may be, are important to understanding this event?

Second, the author criticizes the media for appearing to have already “tried and convicted” Nidal Hasan not on the facts of the event, for the author herself admits that Hasan was “The shooter…” Rather, her critique is of those in the media (she provides no examples) that have concluded that Hasan is a terrorist. Is this not at least a reasonable question to ask? He did commit an act of terror. Perhaps it was politically motivated.

This column does nothing to further debates about bias in the media or bigotry and hatred. The most likely potential of this article, if it has any, is to fuel the hatred of anti-Muslim bigots.

From soon after the moment of this tragedy it was apparent that Nidal Hasan is a disturbed person. The tragedy he wreaked on the Fort Hood personnel and their families will be felt for years to come. Sonali Kudva’s column is disgraceful. She owes an apology to the Fort Hood victims and their families.

I expect a higher level of journalism from the Daily Kent Stater, especially when opining on such an important and tragic event. This column gets an F on every measure.


Timothy J. Gallagher, associate professor of sociology