Fort Hood Planning Foreshadows the Way of the Gun

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If press reports are accurate, the young soldier arrested for allegedly planning to shoot troops near Fort Hood was inspired by Major Nidal Hasan, who slaughtered 13 people at Fort Hood in November 2009. Pfc. Naser Abo, 21, also had in his hotel room bombmaking materials and a copy of an article from Inspire, published by al-Qaeda’s Yemen branch.

It also turns out that a bloodbath may have been averted in this case because the police in Killeen, Texas got lucky. A local gun store owner grew suspicious of Abdo’s odd behavior when the soldier came in to buy smokeless gunpowder, shotgun shells, and a magazine for a semiautomatic handgun. The store was Guns Galore, the same place Hasan bought his gun used in the massacre.

What is perhaps scariest is that terrorists working alone or in groups have figured out how remarkably easy and deadly it is to use guns to wreak terror. They are easy to get, hard for authorities to track, and, of course deadly. There is no need to try to get through airport security.

Ask the Norwegians. Anders Behring Breivik killed eight people with his spectacular bombing in Oslo, but was able to murder 68 with gunfire. The 2008 terrorists in Mumbai managed to kill 164 people and wounded at least 308, mostly by gunfire.

I was in Washington in the fall of 2002 when John Allen Muhammad and his teenage accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo used one sniper rifle to keep millions of people buzzing with stress and fear for three weeks in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. I was probably more likely to get struck by lightning than a bullet from Muhammad’s gun, but I was looking over my shoulder when I went to put gas in my car. It was scary.

The gun is just too easy and too deadly. Terrorists have increasingly figured that out. America should get ready for the way of the gun.