Monday, October 18, 2010

Terrorists Are Stupid, Ft. Hood edition.

Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, also known as the Fort Hood shooter, faced testimony from his victims last week.

On November 5th, Maj. Hasan went through Ft. Hood with a handgun, equipped with a laser sight, and went on a shooting spree.

Not too long ago, I mentioned that Terrorists Are Stupid. I even reposted it as a note on Facebook.

The more I learn about Maj. Hasan, the more evidence I have.

For those of you who are not familiar with the technology, a laser sight is supposed to show you where the bullet is going to land. A commercial laser pointer will guide you to bullet points on your PowerPoint presentation. A laser gunsight will guide your bullet to the point on the target you want to shoot.

Part of his rampage included going through a processing center on the base. If it's laid out like other offices, I can only imagine it as shooting fish in a barrel. His path also took him through a soldier-readiness center (go there, get a checkup and sign your will before heading to a war zone). The Military Police had no bullets in their weapons, making one conclude that their rifles are only for clubbing people over the head (note to army: I hope someone has rescinded whatever stupid order armed your MPs with empty guns).

One of Hasan's first attempted victims was a Sergeant Alonzo M. Lunsford. Sgt. Lunsford was in the readiness center when Hasan stood, shouted “Allahu akbar,” and opened fire.

Sgt. Lunsford was shot five times, at least once in the face, requiring reconstructive surgery and has resulted in the loss of eyesight in his left eye. At least one of Hasan's bullets obviously hit him in the head.

Sgt. Lunsford is alive, at least in part, because Hasan is obviously an idiot.

Major Hasan “Chop,” terrorist idiot, killed thirteen people, and shot thirty-two others.

It is most likely my mindset for creative havoc that leads me to think: Only thirteen? Hasan “Chop” had the shooting equivalent of training wheels on his handgun, shot up a bunch of soldiers in the midst of paperwork, and he had no armed resistance, AT ALL, until the local police arrived. He could only kill a baker's dozen?

Pretend that you are a terrorist … if it makes you feel better, pretend I am a terrorist … you now have the ability to hit what you aim at. Your mission is to kill as many people as possible. You have surprise on your side. One victim you shoot in the head, emptying five bullets into him; would he have survived the first bullet?

From the point of view of a terrorist attack, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, had “the right idea.” If a terrorist is doing it right, they should spread, well, terror. If al-Qaeda wanted to wage a campaign, they would have recruited a dozen other Major Hasans, and have a day of shootings.

I am not worried about inspiring al-Qaeda, by the way. If this idea can be thought up a guy in the back end of Queens, NY, who has never even seen a gun up close, I suspect that someone in the AQ hierarchy just MIGHT have thought of it by now.

However, let's take a closer look. Because, even if al Qaeda decided to wage such a campaign, it would be proof that terrorists were ineffectual bunglers, who only manage to kill people if they get lucky.

Maj. Hasan shot forty-five people, and killed thirteen. He couldn't even assassinate one-third of the people he shot at.

He fired over one HUNDRED rounds of ammunition and only HIT forty-five people?

Let's do some basic math.

13 (Killed) + 32 (Wounded) = 45 (Shot).

13 (Killed) / 45 (Shot) = 28.8% (Of victims died.)

Hasan had all of the advantages on his side, and had a rather pathetic “success rate.” If success for a terrorist is mass casualties and widespread panic, Hasan is a complete and utter failure.

A twenty-three-year-old college student with a history of mental illness did a “better job” at Virginia Tech, and he was an utter nutbar: 58 shot; 33 dead; 25 injured. That caused fear and trembling all over the place, and was a cause of conversation for weeks, at least on college campuses.

When I applied to be an Air Force historian, I was told that I would have weapons training, even though I would be a civilian employee. One can assume that someone doesn't get to being a Major in the U.S. Military without something like basic weapon's training, no matter the position.

And yet this wannabe terrorist couldn't even outperform a schizophrenic college student at Virginia Tech.

Hasan's rampage was an attack waged by an idiot, full of sound and gunfire. He had all the advantages one could have, and still managed a paltry outcome.

However, for all that, thirteen people still died.

Which leads to the same conclusion I had at the end of my last “Terrorists Are Stupid” article.

Even idiots can get lucky.

1 comment:

  1. I read recently a thriller of sorts that had large numbers of casualties for terrorist acts. (not yours) For some reason, the numbers they listed in each event seemed wildly inflated. 113 people killed in a bombing of a 3 story apartment building. I couldn't figure out why it felt unrealistic. The writer was decently talented, and had sold quite a lot in the course of his book. The introduction scenes to each event were well written. Yet, when the numbers rolled around, I felt underwhelmed and skeptical. I started wondering if the writer was picking the numbers specifically to be more horrific, and quotes by Stalin came to mind. Perhaps a subconscious knowledge of the idiocy of terrorists was what killed my suspension of disbelief.

    Did you see the Mythbusters "zombie apocalypse" edition? A number of their tests were bunk, but they did have an interesting test of what happens when you have a target rich environment from all sides but no real cover. They averaged about eight to thirteen kills before they were overwhelmed by sheer numbers of unarmed people. It would be interesting to know if the similarity of number is a coincidence or not.


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