To the Editor:

RE: KDH front page Saturday 19 September 2020, article headlined, “MEMBERS MEET… Fort Hood must address systemic problems from top down, Congresswoman says Friday”

Paraphrasing the text, six Congress members from several committees or subcommittees responsible for oversight of military personnel administration and safety met with Fort Hood leaders on Friday to see what could be done to address what they called “systemic problems” on Fort Hood.

Admittedly, Fort Hood has had an inordinate number of tragic soldier deaths in the recent past. Some from training accidents and some from more nefarious events of soldiers being murdered or unexplained disappearances “on Post and off.” It is often hard to remember that Fort Hood is a large city with a diverse population, and subject to all the good and bad things that happen in all cities, large or small across America.

I believe our federal tax dollars would be better spent if congressional investigations and inquiries were prioritized to address systemic problems in our nation’s cities in some order of criticality. For example: more people are violently killed in one weekend in some of our cities than an entire year at Fort Hood.

Fort Hood does not have fires and looting in the street; homeless people living in squalor with feces on the sidewalk; police being vilified, killed or injured; a severe housing shortage; overwhelmed health care system; badly decaying infrastructure; unsafe drinking water; billions of dollars in public debt.

Fort Hood has been “The Great Place” for my family since 1968. It has provided us careers, safety, constancy, and pride. It still does!

Where would you rather live and raise a family today — on Fort Hood or in Baltimore, Chicago, San Francisco or Portland?

George Van Riper

Harker Heights

(1) comment

thegreenlife99

Respectfully disagree with your assessment of Killeen. Deflecting the issues of Killeen into the national arena - suggesting federal dollars would be best spent elsewhere is a weak argument as is comparing this town to large urban cities such as Baltimore or Portland. Killeen is got to where it is for better or worse because of Fort Hood and all the military personnel and civilians that work within its expansive cantonment.

While there may not be rioting in the streets it does not mean that this town is safe or unencumbered by serious issues which you broadly skirted around within your fluff piece. Perhaps you should actually compare it to a town of comparable size with a base and see what results you come up with.

This town directly benefits from the salaries of the military personnel stationed here and should do more to create a safe environment in which all members of the community can benefit vs. a few. All you have to do is drive down rancier or hood street to see how broken this town is - with pawn shops, strip clubs and countless other below the radar businesses - not to mention the serious grifting that goes on at local car dealerships.

Congress was completely right to send a team here to exam both the base and the town as the majority of murders and other incidents occur within the city limits not the Fort Hood cantonment area.

Lets get the facts right - Killeen is a town - not a city - and while not a terrible place it is definitely not 'the Great Place' it claims to be. If the city would like to actually get serious about fixing its problems instead of publishing fluff articles such as yours it could actually accomplish something.

This town has been a mess for a very very long time - it is know as a trouble spot across the military - and not because of Fort Hood but because of the local population and criminals in your community.

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