Both of Iowa’s United States Senators are exercising caution in speculating about the gunman who killed 13 at a military installation in Texas last week. Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat from Cumming, Iowa, cautions against jumping to conclusions.
“Like all Americans I am shocked and appalled and, of course deeply saddened by this senseless attack on our brave young men and women who are defending our country and my thoughts and prayers are with the 13 killed and the 30 wounded and their families,” Harkin says. “Now, there’s a lot of speculation about what may have motivated this attack. I don’t know what goes through the mind of any person who would commit such a horrendous action and crime.”
Harkin says it’s time for a “full” investigation of the Army psychiatrist who witnesses say yelled “God is great” in Arabic before he opened fire at Fort Hood last Thursday.
“I don’t know all the facts. All I know is there have been some reports about people who he has talked to in the past and it seems that there were a number of people that may have know that he was on the edge. You wonder: why wasn’t this reported? Or was it reported and no one took action? See, these are things we don’t know,” Harkin says. “Was this reported to his superiors, put in a file and just sequestered someplace or was it never reported at all? Well, I think we have to find that out.”
Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican from New Hartford, Iowa, is equally cautious. “I don’t know enough about that right at this point, but I have been briefed on the point that there was some concern through telephone conversations that were going on that there was some potential danger there,” Grassley says. “But I think I’d better wait ’til I get more information before I make a final conclusion.”
Grassley and Harkin made their comments this morning during telephone conference calls with Iowa radio reporters. Grassley opened the call by reading from a prepared statement that saluted active members of the military as well as veterans on the eve of Veterans Day.
“They put their own lives on hold in noble service to their country,” Grassley said. “We owe those who serve in uniform a debt of gratitude.”
Germany signed an agreement on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to end World War I. November 11 has been designated as Veterans Day in the United States since 1919.