Guns / Firearms, Military / Military Law, Trials

Fort Hood Shooter Defending Himself, ‘Cause That Always Works

Major Nidal Hasan in less murdery days.

In the spate of shootings this country has suffered at the hands of noble patriots exercising their Second Amendment rights, people may have forgotten about the shooting rampage at Fort Hood way back in 2009.

Major Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, is charged with killing 13 people on post.

His trial is coming up and he just managed to get his court-appointed attorneys dismissed and now is asking the judge for a delay so he can mount his new defense.

Which is exactly the kind of strategy you’d expect from someone defending himself…

Take another gander at the picture of Major Hasan. He’s a psychiatrist. That means soldiers are expected to go to that guy and talk about their problems. No wonder there’s a rash of suicides in the military. Don’t worry though, rather than hire psychiatrists who aren’t scary murderers, the Army’s going to make a suicide prevention nasal spray.

So without further ado:

On Monday, one of Major Hasan’s first legal maneuvers had been to ask the judge, Col. Tara A. Osborn, for a three-month delay in his trial, scheduled to begin on July 1. His primary reason in asking for the delay was to change his defense to a “defense of others.”

So who was Major Hasan defending when he opened fire?

At a new hearing on Tuesday, Colonel Osborn asked him pointedly whom he was defending.

“The leadership of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban,” he said, specifically naming Mullah Muhammad Omar, the founder of the Islamic insurgent group.

His comments, delivered in a soft, matter-of-fact tone, stunned many in the courtroom. Seated in the gallery behind him were Army soldiers, military police officers and relatives of some of his victims.

Well, to his credit, those folks were in danger. Except the defense at issue doesn’t really apply to defending people like Mullah Omar, a man everybody wants dead anyway. Presumably his court-appointed counsel didn’t approve of this theory because they have stuff like “law degrees” and “experience” and “common sense.”

Even though this is a questionable strategy at best, Major Hasan did eventually avoid a common pitfall of pro se litigants and shut himself up:

Colonel Osborn then asked him to explain his defense, and Major Hasan asked for a recess to gather his thoughts.

When the hearing resumed a few minutes later, the judge again asked him to explain the facts supporting his defense, and he said he preferred to submit his thoughts in written form. “I don’t want to brainstorm in front of the court,” he told her.

Good point. Just brainstorming could lead to saying all sorts of stupid stuff in open court — like asserting a defense of others strategy.

Fort Hood Suspect Says Rampage Was to Defend Afghan Taliban Leaders [New York Times]

Earlier: Morning Docket: 06.04.13

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