45 caliber

The Fort Hood shooting and the truth about veterans

WEDNESDAY, AROUND 4 p.m. A tranquil Texas afternoon was shattered by the sound of a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun. In the chaos that followed, three lives were taken, 16 other victims were injured.

And that was just the beginning.

Fort Hood, the sprawling Army facility in Texas where the shootings took place, went into lockdown mode. By all accounts, communication both inside and outside the base was efficient, because the facility had experienced tragedy before.

The trajectory

But in a horrifying display of déjà vu, the shooter was efficient, as well.

He traveled by car from one building to another, firing as he went. When, finally, a female military police officer confronted him in a parking lot, the gunman shot himself, bringing the death toll from his shooting spree to four.

It took hours for military and civilian investigators to determine that the base was safe.

It will take longer for the rest of us to fully engage with the soldiers coming home from our wars.

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