Weekend Edition April 4-6, 2014
Blowback in Central Texas
by JOSE MARTINEZ
First there was Fayettenam. Now there is Ft. Hoodstan. Fayettenam is the name still used that had its origin in Fayetteville, NC, being called so after soldiers would return after the culture of violence during the Vietnam War (the American War as the Vietnamese aptly call it) to inflict domestic violence and death on their spouses in said community and surroundings, with the Ft. Bragg military base located near the city. It is still referred to as Fayettenam because of the continuing domestic and other forms of violence and killings to the point that even Oprah was compelled to present a program on such not long ago.
From Afghanistan today, now we have Ft. Hoodstan. Obama bears the distinction of the war on Afghanistan being more so his baby, though on his watch American troops were kicked out of Iraq after the bloody mayhem they engendered there. His glum look today is of someone in particular and the U.S. in general realizing inevitable failure and that the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq have come home in a major way, twice now, in 2009 when 13 were slain at Ft. Hood, to now about 20 shot, with at least four dead.
At the time of “Fayettenam’s” origins, that war also came home, among other ways, in the military killings of students at Kent State University. Likewise the blowback (repercussions) as the CIA calls it, from Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted not only from these two Ft. Hood mass killings, but also there was the elaborate plan by another soldier recently to engage in a mass killing on the base before it was thwarted at the last minute. Otherwise it would have been three mass killings there, of what has been made public. The base generals and PR concern is with fronting a happy face instead, covering up much.
There is the blowback of spates of domestic killings, often murder-suicides of military spouses on or near Hood. There is the high rate of domestic spousal and child abuse (and deaths) there, both among the highest rates in the nation and even Texas. In fact nationally military domestic violence is 3-5 times higher than civilian rates. Moreover, military sexual assault is a prominent feature of the military as well.
The media will customarily focus on the personality of a killer without any reference to the social context. The social context is that the violence and murder rates in the U.S., to begin with, are and have been higher than European countries due to the higher levels of inequality here, not personalities. In Europe infants there are the same as infants here, but grow up in societies with more equality, with free provision of health care, with free child care, with free education and thus without the need for the worries and stresses in the U.S. and no need to violently vent frustrations on others much at all in Europe.
Speaking of overall violence, in addition to Ft. Hoodstan’s mass killings and attempted mass killings that have caught the attention of the nation, so did next door Killeen (Fayetteville’s counterpart) when George Henard did his mass killing of some 24 people there, and near Waco about 80 followers of David Koresh, men, women and children were massacred by law enforcement, all of this in the Central Texas area in recent history. It is as if Ft. Hoodstan, and Central Texas, and the country as a whole are OK with the bucket loads of blood on their hands, and also inflicting bloodshed on others around the world, not to mention the Iraq and Afghanistan 7,000 Americans dead and many more inflicted by Bush and Obama with blown-away limbs, PTSD, TBI (traumatic brain injury) by the hundreds of thousands and those psychologically messed-up, and many of these likewise attacking their families and communities. But then that is also what we wrought on them by sending them to Iraq and Afghanistan.
That is one heck of situation. We pay the price for the Bushes and Obamas of the world and so far we have OK’d those abominations and, now, Ft. Hoodstan as the blowback.
Jose Martinez is a university professor.