Maj. Nidal Hasan is making his way back to a Fort Hood courtroom today for another hearing.
Apparently, Hasan is also riding around on buses in San Francisco this week.
That’s right, Hasan — Fort Hood’s most notorious criminal — is on the sides of buses in the great city of San Fran.
Well, his official Army photo is, anyway.
It’s part of set of advertisements running on city buses that some are calling offensive and racist.
According to an Associated Press report, the ads are paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative and feature Osama bin Laden, the Times Square car bomber and the alleged gunman in the Fort Hood shooting.
The Hasan ad features a quote next to Hasan’s headshot: “Reloading, firing again, reloading firing again, while screaming Allahu Akbar,” — Victim of Major Nidal Hasan.
The ad goes on to say: “Fort Hood jihad mass murderer… That’s my Jihad. What’s yours?”
All the ads, including those with bin Laden and the Times Square car bomber, end with that last statement: That’s my Jihad. What’s yours?
San Francisco officials, including the mayor, denounced the ads, but said their hands were tied because to not allow the ads would be a violation of free speech. The city’s transit agency says it will give the $5,000 used to pay for the ads to the city’s Human Rights Commission to study the impact of discrimination on San Francisco’s Islamic communities, according to the AP.
Hasan also made headlines recently in The Duffle Blog, a news satire site similar to The Onion.
The fake news site reported that Hasan had been promoted to lieutenant colonel and had been moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
That’s not true, of course — Hasan is still nicely tucked into his cell at the Bell County Jail except when he comes on post for his hearings — but I got a call on Monday from a nice, old lady in the area asking if the promotion and move to Leavenworth were true.
She had a hunch it was a hoax, and I told her she was right.
The ads on San Francisco buses and the plethora of headlines — on real news and fake news websites — shows just how famous, or infamous, Hasan is.
The case has drawn worldwide attention, and the trial, set to start this summer, will likely be a frenzied media circus as the military puts on trial one of its own — a man who joined the Army as an officer, became disillusioned with his life and country, and for some reason, decided to kill as many American soldiers as he could.
I wasn’t at the scene of the shooting, but I’ve spoken with several survivors. All describe the incident as chaotic, mad ... and, well, full of terror.
It seems the whole world sees Hasan as a terrorist, except for the Department of Defense, which is increasingly under heat from political leaders, victims and others to call it an act of terrorism. The Defense Department is still labeling the shooting as “workplace violence,” which prevents military victims from a variety of benefits.
Apparently 13 dead and 32 wounded wasn’t enough for our top military leaders to call it an act of terror. I wonder if Hasan had killed 1,000, if that would have been enough.
Today, the judge and others at the hearing are expected to hear from a terrorism expert on reasons why Hasan could be classified as a “terrorist.”
Hopefully, someone from the Defense Department is also listening.
Jacob Brooks, a former Army tanker, is the city editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7468.