Life imitates SNL -

Life imitates SNL


From The New York Times, “Investigators study tangle of clues on Fort Hood Suspect”, November 15 2009:

WASHINGTON — When Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan took his two handguns and headed for Fort Hood on Nov. 5, he left behind in his spartan apartment his new business cards. Now they are one more clue for investigators of the 13 killings he is charged with, hinting at the road not taken.

On the cards, ordered over the Internet after Major Hasan was transferred to the sprawling Texas base in July, the 39-year-old psychiatrist omitted the rank he had achieved in the Army he had served for most of his adult life. Instead, he included the cryptic abbreviation “SoA,” apparently “Servant of Allah” or “Soldier of Allah,” perhaps marking a symbolic shift of allegiance from his military profession to his increasingly consuming faith.

In July, Major Hasan was sent to Fort Hood, the largest Army post, bustling with the work of war and surrounded by the scruffy trappings of an Army town: pawnshops and payday loan outlets, beer joints and tattoo parlors.

In his first weeks, Major Hasan seemed to be making long-term plans. He applied for a job as a liaison to Muslim soldiers. He printed up the business cards with his Fort Hood address for his moonlighting job as a therapist, permitted by Army rules as long as his superiors approved.

He became a regular at a Killeen mosque, frequently expounding on his view that Muslim soldiers should not be required to fight in Muslim lands. He prayed five times a day, people who knew him said. At some point, he learned he would be sent to Afghanistan.

By September, Major Hasan had purchased a handgun and had begun to visit the strip club next to the gun shop. The club’s general manager, Matthew Jones, said he stayed for six or seven hours the handful of times he visited, paying for lap dances in a private room.


From Saturday Night Live, “The Shooting of Buckwheat”, March 19 1983:

TED KOPPEL: (voice-over)

John David Stutts graduated from Unionville High School. His classmates called him “The Loner.” Stutts was a member of the Key Club, the Audio/Visual Squad, and president of the Future Assassins of America. It’s no wonder that his classmates chose him “Most Likely to Kill Buckwheat.”


Sure, I remember Stutts. He was a loner, but a real hard worker. I mean, he pumped the gas, checked the oil, he washed the windows. Nice kid.

TED KOPPEL: (off camera)

Do you believe he killed Buckwheat?


Oh, yes, definitely. That’s all he talked about. I remember one day, I says, uh, “Stutts, why’re you working so hard?” He says, “‘Cause I’m saving up to buy a gun, so I can kill Buckwheat.” (he shrugs his shoulders)


John was a quiet boy, a kind of a loner. But real polite. He always stood still when I hemmed his cuffs. Nice kid.

TED KOPPEL: (off camera)

Do you believe he killed Buckwheat?


Oh, yes, definitely. That’s all he ever talked about. Why, just the other day, he comes in and he says, “Saul, make me a new suit. I’m going to kill Buckwheat and I want to look good on television.

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Life imitates SNL

  1. This probably seemed better in your head than it looks written out.

  2. Has SNL also done a skit about how political correctness kills innocents?

    • Mark Steyn to the white courtesy phone, please. Mark Steyn, the white courtesy phone…

    • This is completely irrelevant. You are continuing your longstanding trend of nonsense.

      • Yes, how could the fact that Christian soldiers are antagonizing Muslim civilians (and killing them if they respond) possibly be relevant to a discussion of religion in the military? Andrew obviously has it right, a questioning or fervent Muslim is basically saying he intends to murder people. A fervent Christian, though, that's totally beside the point.

      • Why make a point, when you can write one line, and have readers guess at your point? Macleans blogs are full of this laziness.

  3. Clearly this individual had no business getting promoted to major, let along remaining in the military, yet the gods of diversity and political correctness decided to promote the lunatic. That's not a good sign, that someone as crazy as this guy, is not only flagged as a danger, but is actually promoted.

    • Know what I love about the internet? It allows people who have no knowledge of something to make assertions for which they have no reasonable grounds in an incredibly public manner.

      • Yeah, it's so much better than when they used to stand on the corner shouting incoherently.

      • So you believe that a guy with the predisposition to murder 13 innocent and unarmed colleagues is promotion material. And you call yourself coherent? How many dead people do you need before you raise an eyebrow? I'd hate to be working next to you, that's for sure.

        • Don't be obtuse. Mike T wasn't claiming that the killer was "promotion material", he was calling you out for leaping to the conclusion that he was promoted as a result of political correctness.

          You don't know that to be the case, and neither does Jolyon. Yet here you both are.

          • I did not say he was promoted because of political correctness. Learn how to read. His obvious flaws were ignored because of political correctness, which paved the way for him to be promoted. A guy like that has no obusiness being a major. He should not have been in the army at all, he should have been discharged.

          • Don't talk to me like that.

            The point is that you have no idea whether his flaws were obvious when he was being promoted. You have no idea whether political correctness played a part.

            Of course he shouldn't have been in the military and shouldn't have been a major. But you're assuming 1) his psychological problems were obvious and 2) they were ignored due to political correctness.

          • I can see your think skin showing again.

            It doesn't take a microscope to see a whale.

          • Right. You're making assumptions so you can climb on your little hobby horse and complain about political correctness.

            You have no way of knowing that the "signs were obvious" at all except in retrospect. These sort of shootings happen all the time and typically follow this pattern. But no, you claim that this one guy was showing "obvious" signs but the military ignored them out of political correctness.

            You're talking out your *ss, as usual.

          • So far I haven't even seen any signs which go all the way to being "obvious" even in retrospect.

          • Geez, folks…read the post again, instead of each other's comments. The entire point of the piece is the denial of the obvious: for God's sake, the first four paragraphs chronicle, in detail, the "signs" you apparently cannot see. The issue is, how can such obviously alarming cues be ignored? Political correctness? perhaps…don't know…at least, however, some people here are getting the point, and speculating about the reason. In denying the obvious, Mike, you're playing the part of Ted Koppel. You really can't see this?

          • he had some religious based concerns about his military work. Some people who worked with him thought he was a little weird, some didn't like the thrust of his presentations. Some co-workers thought he was OK. "Obviously" mass killer? Get real. Giving away his possessions and buying a gun did not happen until very very late in his life.

          • Thrust of his presentations?

            The guy contacted members of Al Qaeda.


            He was supposed to give a medical Grand Rounds presentation, which is supposed to be about medical science…

            "But instead of that, he – Hasan apparently gave a long lecture on the Koran and talked about how if you don't believe, you are condemned to hell. Your head is cut off. You're set on fire. Burning oil is burned down your throat."


            Not only that, I never said this identifies him as a killer. All I said was this should have identified him as someone unfit for the miltiary, someone unfit for promotion.

          • And this is where perhaps that article you keep sputtering is irrelevant might be a useful comparison. I don't know the exact nature of what does and definitely doesn't flag you as an obvious risk in the US army, and I don't know the exact nature of his actions or his performance reviews. But unlike you, I don't pretend to.

          • The fact that this was part of his authorised research might explain why he contacted these people and spoke about Islam.

            As the Harper's article points out, many soldiers in senior ranks espouse radical Christianity so it's odd that speaking about religion suddenly becomes an announcement of an intention to murder colleagues.

          • You can talk about radical Christianity all you like, but there are no Christians gunning down fellow military officers. To make the comparison is absurd. You atre trying to invent an equivalence that is not there. There are no radical Christians gunning down officers, nor radical Buddhists, nor radical Jews, not radical Shintoists, nor radical atheists, nor radical Hindus. Almost all events of mass murder, such as gunning down military officers, flying planes into buildings, bombing trains and subways, almost all such events are committed by radical muslims.

          • Oklahoma city. "In Baghdad last May, for instance, a despondent Army sergeant was accused of killing five fellow soldiers at a clinic." Are most people who "go postal" Muslim? What gave you the impression that most terrorist attacks are by Muslims? Why should that be relevant to the career of a single Muslim soldier? "Clearly this one committed mass murder in the name of his religion." – this is still not clear.

            Why should we take his religious comments and his social awkwardness as a clear statement of an intent to murder when we overlook more fervent religious remarks from many other soldiers? I'm surprised that Andrew Potter thinks being Muslim and withdrawn is the same as saying you intend to kill your coworkers.

          • Firstly, I did not ask you to find a counter-example. I never said that all terrorist acts are Muslims, I said *most*. And you've found one for which the bomber never idnetified his Christian religion as having any part in his motives. Instead, McVeigh was motivated by a hatred for the government.

            As for the claim that most terrorist attackes are Muslim, that is plain, simple fact. Around the world almost every day, there are Muslim terroist attacks, the most recent being in Pakistan. Apart from the obvious examples I have given, there have been numerouos others in places like the Philippines where there is a Muslim insurgency, Indonedia where there was teh Balim bombing, Egypt where there were bombings at tourist resorts, the Mumbai attackes where hotels were attacked and Jews were tortured, Somalia where there are endless battles, and the list goes on, without counting the obvious incidents such as the shoe bomber, the terrorist caught crossing Canada to the US to bomb LAX, the WTC, the London bombings, the Madrid bombings, the USS Cole, and so on. The list is endless. Most events are not even reported, they are so numerous. You have to be living under a rock not to notice.

            Thirdly, why on earth can we not discuss this one mass murder which happened last week, without apologists like you referring to a bombing in Oklahoma City that happened in 1995, 14 years ago!

            We are talking about Hasan, at least I was talking about him. Yet you feel the need to talk about an even that occured 14 years ago.

          • I particularly enjoy Mr. Hitchens' remark that "Proselytizing in uniform, for example, is already banned by a general order. " Just because it so readily links back to the Harper's article that shall not be discussed…

            The rest of his essay is as informed and coherent as any since 2001, so we'll just move on.

            The point about Oklahoma City is that it was the worst terrorist attack on American soil until 2001, and it was committed by a white protestant. You may remember that it was difficult to determine who bombed Madrid because there is another terrorist group very active in Spain, again not a Muslim group. And the London bombings were shocking, but Islam will have to keep that up for twenty years if it wants to match the (Catholic) IRA.

            Finally, see this Foreign Policy article:
            It is de rigueur to suggest that…Muslim males are the most likely population to become terrorists or to support terrorism…this claim is false. Consider the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka. They are the world's single largest group of suicide bombers. Their cadres are not Muslim, but Hindu by religion and nearly 40 percent are female.

          • The article looks interesting. At first glance (can't read it til later), some of the points being made I agree with whole-heartedly, particularly the point about poverty and its correlation (or lack of) with terrorism.

            I don't know if there is a definitive measure somewhere regarding whether Muslims are more susceptible or inclined to resort to terrorism. To me it seems obvious. Of course, there are the Tamils, IRA, Basque separatists, and so on. But my understanding is that almost everywhere in the world where a majority Muslim population rubs up against another group, there is trouble, and it typically results in acts of terrorism.

            Also, I find that the Basque terrorists and groups like the IRA did not intend to target random civilians (but in some cases, civilians were killed regardless, especially in the Ulster bombing). Anyway, it seems that with both groups the acts of terrorism may be effectively over.

          • "I don't know if there is a definitive measure somewhere regarding whether Muslims are more susceptible or inclined to resort to terrorism." The Foreign Policy article says the evidence goes against this.

            "groups like the IRA did not intend to target random civilians". The IRA had a wide, and ever-widening, definition of "military" targets. They bombed subway stations, pubs and hotels. Civilian deaths were far from incidental.

            The question is why, with all these groups contributing terrorists to the world, would anyone assume that being Muslim was equivalent to saying you intend to shoot your coworkers.

          • "why would anyone assume that being Muslim was equivalent to saying you intend to shoot your coworkers"

            Nobody has ever said. You are twisting words.

            What people do say, is what Hitchens said "I do not say that all Muslims are terrorists, but I have noti:ced that an alarmingly high proportion of terrorists are Muslim"

            I agree with him.

          • And the actual article Andrew links to deflates most of these "obvious" sings. For example, the business cards may have been targeting business in the Muslim community, which was his professional specialization in the military. How do the strip club and shooting range visits even fit in as worrying signs? Are these really rare behaviours in the military? Andrew's post is pretty tasteless to begin with, scf"s contribution is tangential.

          • Thanks toguer, for your reasonable contribution. These other commenters are apparently declaring certain discussions off limits (why? political correctness?), which is exactly the point Potter and I have been trying to make. We are apparently forbidden from speculating whether it is reasonable that this person was promoted, despite the overwhelming evidence that it was not in the slightest bit reasonable.

          • Your own behaviour in this thread shows a taciturn nature, anti-social tendencies and a wild-eyed adherence to unreasonable theories. BY YOUR OWN LOGIC, you are obviously a clear danger to be a mass murder and should be removed from positions of responsibility.


            Frankly, you are twisting what I said. Badly. Maybe you might actually read what I wrote rather than go off on crazy tangents.


          • Well, it was more the assertion that the poster knew with absolute certainty the persons nature at all times, based on a short newspaper article written after the fact. The "it's obviously the fault of political correctness!" bit that did add the little soupcon of lunacy, though.

          • There is a lot more than a short newpaper article. I really don't have the intention of doing your leg work for you, there is a lot that has come out showing how deranged this individual was, PRIOR to the attack, yet nothing was done about it.

          • Yup – just like the Virginia Tech shooter, just like the Columbine killers, just like the Montreal Massacre. The signs were clear in *retrospect*.

            You have no evidence whatsoever that political correctness was a factor in his promotion. And does his rank matter? The lowest-ranking grunt could have walked into the same room, pulled the same trigger and killed the same people.

          • You keep on repeating yourself.

          • As do you.

          • Why do you say anything at all? You never add anything to a discussion. At least TJ writes a few words. You're just a drive-by insult machine.

      • So you believe that a guy with the predisposition to murder 13 innocent and unarmed colleagues is promotion material. And you call yourself coherent? How many dead people do you need before you raise an eyebrow? I'd hate to be working next to you, that's for sure. I can assure you, in my workplace, the lunatics and the mass-murderers would not last long, before they can inflict damage on their colleagues. A guy like this would fail his first evaluation, based on the fact he was clearly an unstable and angry person – the signs were everywhere.

    • minus one billion.

    • How many times do you intend to post the same link? It reads the same now as when it was posted before by someone else.

      • You dismissed it as irrelevant, but haven't explained why. I worried you hadn't read it.