It is our mission to present safety information that helps folks stay safe at home, work, and while enjoying outside activities.  In an earlier article, “Violence in the Workplace”, we noted that homicide is the third leading cause of deaths in the workplace.  Yesterday, November 5th, what is thought to be the worst mass killing in history at a United States military base happened at Fort Hood, Texas, the largest military base in the world.

Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan is believed the be the lone perpetrator of a deadly shooting at Fort Hood, when he entered the Soldiers Readiness Center, and shot a number of military persons and two civilians.  The total count is 13 dead and 30 wounded, as of November 6th.  The Readiness Center is a large building where troops have medical and dental exams prior to deployment.  There are all types of comings and goings in the Center, as it even has restaurants.  He was shot by a female police officer, but is expected to recover.  She was shot, as well.

Major Hasan received his medical training at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in psychiatry, as an intern, resident, and last year a fellow in disaster and preventive psychiatry.  (Ironic?)   He received his M.D. from Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, in 2001.

During his time at Walter Reed, he received poor performance evaluations, and had problems that required counseling and extra supervision, according to authorities that could not give further information due to confidentiality.  Law enforcement personnel had been aware that six months prior to yesterday’s tragedy, Hasan had posted some disturbing thoughts on the Internet.  One of his web postings equated suicide bombers with soldiers that throw themselves on a grenade to save their comrades.  Federal search warrants have been issued to seize Hasan’s computer, and it will be interesting to learn of its contents.

As with any workplace violence, there are red flags that indicate problems that might occur.  Who knows if yesterday’s incident could have been prevented?  Hindsight is always 20-20, and it seems there were many red flags popping up in regard to this quiet man, whose job it was to counsel hundreds of soldiers who had returned from battle and recounted horrors they lived through.  Hasan had been ordered to go to Iraq although he was adamant that he did not want to go.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were innocent victims, their families and the entire military family.  It is sad to think that a base that trains soldiers to protect us has been added to the lists of other unlikely places that we never imagined something this terrible could happen: Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, an immigrant community center in Binghamton, N.Y., and Luby’s Cafeteria in nearby Killeen, Texas.

Governor Rick Perry ordered flags to fly at half-staff through Sunday.