I agree with Joe: That this tragedy happened at Fort Hood adds an extra level of significance and sadness.
Last night, I had a brief conversation with Congressman Chet Edwards, who is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies. More importantly, he represented Fort Hood for most of his career in Congress, until he was redistricted. (Fort Hood’s current Congressman is John Carter)
“This is an installation where a lot of soldiers have given an awful lot,” Edwards told me. He recalled that on a recent visit there with Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, he encountered one soldier who had been deployed to Iraq six times, and a couple who had lost two sons within nine days of each other.
Edwards had praise for the work that the military–and particularly Fort Hood’s recently reassigned commander Rick Lynch–has done to help soldiers with the after-effects of the sacrifices that they have made, though he acknowledged there is much to be done. He said Fort Hood currently has three behavioral sciences centers (which they are hoping to consolidate into a new single hospital) that have been seeing 1,000 individuals, for a total of 4,000 sessions a week.
The Houston Chronicle gives us a good picture of the challenges they face.