April 4, 2014
At the Gates of Fort Hood
Rocked by horror once again, there were relatively few pictures, such we haven’t seen before, to come out of yesterday’s Ford Hood shooting. This scene, from two different photographers, was probably the most widely circulated. One caption read:
Luci Hamlin and her husband, Spc. Timothy Hamlin, wait to get back to their home at Fort Hood after a shooting at the Texas Army post on Wednesday.
But we really don’t see Timothy, do we? Instead, he’s something between a live person and a pair of boots. The photos are sad and touching in the most basic way. Elemental, as they are, the pictures recall the fallen soldier’s battle cross. Or the reduction of life to the essence of love, duty, college football and Chevrolet.
The expression that immediately and overwhelming ran through my mind, though, was: “boots on the ground.” That’s in the sense that, in the shadow America’s commitment to militarism, soldiers like the now-deceased Ivan Lopez – with such profound emotional needs — aren’t seen so much as marched around.
The fact he only spent four months in Iraq makes the instinct to frame this shooting in terms of PTSD seem like something of a distraction. What is ultimately left out of the picture is the failure to invest in our men and women as compared to the overwhelming agenda to create fighting machines.
(photo 1: Tamir Kalifa/AP caption: Luci Hamlin and her husband, Spc. Timothy Hamlin, wait to get back to their home at Fort Hood after a shooting at the Texas Army post on Wednesday, April 2. Multiple people were killed and others injured when a shooter opened fire, a senior military official and law enforcement official told CNN. The officials said the suspected shooter was among the dead. photo 2: Deborah Cannon/Austin American-Statesman. photo 3: Ivan Lopez Facebook via NY Daily News)