When Hassan Malik Nadal, an active duty U.S. Army psychiatrist awaiting deployment to Iraq from Fort Hood, Texas, was found guilty of shooting and killing 13 soldiers and wounding 32 others, the federal government labeled the shootings workplace violence. They denied customary awards, such as Purple Hearts to those killed or wounded in action. The government’s decision was found offensive to many Americans given the shooter’s avowed support for radical Islamic causes. Public opinion caused the Department of Defense to reverse itself and ultimately award Purple Hearts to those who earned them at the hands of a terrorist at Fort Hood. The Foreseeable Risk Analysis Center agrees with the awards ultimately made to our troops and only regrets that the decision to award needed to be based on public pressure. In addition to the Order of the Purple Heart awards, the victims have become eligible for medical care and disability benefits for their combat injuries. It took 5 years for the White House and Defense Department to honor the nation’s debt to these soldiers.
When riots and public disorders break out, it is not unusual for police officers and fire fighters to be met by angry protesters armed with rocks, broken bottles, and burning garbage thrown from street level and even from the tops of buildings. In the past, it has not been unknown to have small arms fire directed at unarmed fire fighters and EMS personnel as part of a protest as well; now automatic weapons are far more likely. Recently there have been instances where fire fighters responding to a fire have been deliberately ambushed before they arrive on the scene in an attempt to discourage them from controlling the blaze set to entrap on their way. Events such as these not only put our first responders in position to be injured or killed, but also delay the response that the public is relying upon to preserve life and property.