Many may not have seen a gripping New York Times story on last Saturday’s front page where the journalist, James McKinley Jr., does some deft reporting in uncovering and then retelling what one eyewitness saw. Mr. McKinley’s report suggests that Sgt. Kim Munley — the officer heralded as a hero by the brass at Fort Bragg in the immediate aftermath of the shootings — may not have been the one who brought Maj. Hasan down.
Instead, her colleague, Sgt. Mark Todd, a 25-year law enforcement veteran, rounded a different corner at the time of the Hasan and Munley exchange and took Hasan down. “I just relied back on my training,” he later said in an interview. “We’re trained to shoot until there is no longer a threat. And once he was laying down on his back, his weapon just fell into his hand and I’m, like, ‘OK, now’s the time to rush him and secure him.’ ”
What an incredible story of heroism itself. Yet when asked about this different account by an actual eyewitness, officials at Fort Hood pointedly refused to release any further details on how the shootings occurred, according to the New York Times story.
That boggles my mind. Is the military so desperate to find and label a hero that they choose to ignore basic facts? Sure, Sgt. Munley should be honored for her own selflessness. But the truth must come out if that’s what actually occurred. Give the brother credit. If Sgt. Todd stared evil in the face and brought Maj. Hasan down, then he rightfully deserves that distinction and recognition. And the U.S. Army and all involved should respond accordingly.
Sgt. Todd doesn’t strike me as the type of guy who stares at medals or works for the admiration of others. In his own words, he was simply doing his job. But I’m more worried about what this says of our institutions. Didn’t the military learn its lesson in the wake of the Pat Tillman friendly-fire episode years ago? Isn’t the truth always the best approach, even if it doesn’t neatly fit a storyline the Army wants to peddle?
Let’s honor a hero this month, and acknowledge the intrepid account of Sgt. Mark Todd.
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