Don’t jump to conclusions

Published 8:21 am Friday, November 6, 2009

Just hearing the name of the alleged Fort Hood shooter has led many people to immediately jump to conclusions about the man’s motivations for opening fire on American soldiers, killing 12 and wounding 31.

In the days ahead, as details emerge, we urge readers to be wary of sensational media reports and fight the urge to cry “terrorism” because Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan has a Muslim-sounding name.

Hasan, a mental health professional, reportedly treated soldiers for post-traumatic stress disorder while at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

The Virginia native graduated from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg with a degree in biochemistry and went into the military, eventually moving into the psychiatric profession.

His family issued a statement Thursday night.

“Here is what we do know about our cousin,” the statement said. “Nidal was an American citizen. He was born in Arlington, Virginia, and raised here in America. He attended local high schools and eventually went on to attend Virginia Tech.

“We are filled with grief for the families of today’s victims. Our family loves America. We are proud of our country, and saddened by today’s tragedy.”

Our hearts go out to the soldiers and their families at Fort Hood. That should be the No. 1 concern as the nation comes to grips with yet another senseless act.