It is hard not to compare the press coverage of Jared Loughner’s Tucson rampage with that of Major Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood. Hasan killed and wounded twice as many as Loughner, and the fact that he was an officer in the United States Army would seem to give his attack a particular significance as well as a unique horror. Moreover, Loughner was just a nut, while Hasan was part of a worldwide movement. Yet, for whatever reason, the press has been far more interested in the Tucson shootings and in the fate of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords than in the servicemen and women who were shot by Major Hasan.
It’s nice to get daily updates on the condition of Ms. Giffords, but I don’t believe I had even heard of Staff Sgt. Patrick Zeigler until today. Sgt. Zeigler had just finished a tour of duty in Iraq and was at Fort Hood in preparation for beginning Officer Candidate School when he was randomly targeted by Hasan. Hasan shot him four times, once in the head. That shot wiped out twenty percent of his brain and left a large hole in his skull. Eight brain operations later, Sgt. Zeigler has made what some consider a miraculous recovery:
For the past 8 ½ months, Zeigler has looked death in the face and refused to blink. He’s battled back from eight brain surgeries and diagnoses that labeled him everything from “comatose” to “permanently disabled.”
Zeigler was one of 32 who was injured on November 5, 2009 when accused gunman Army Major Nidal Hasan opened fire inside the Soldier Readiness Center at Fort Hood.
Thirteen people died that day, and Zeigler came very close to adding to that number.
He was airlifted to Scott and White Hospital in Temple with four gunshot wounds, including one that shattered his skull. The bullet left a hole the size of a softball.
Zeigler’s family and fiancée were warned that he may never recover.
He has since fought a battle that he refused to lose. And on Friday, a major victory: Zeigler walked out of the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
That was in July. A few months later, Zeigler and his fiance, Jessica Hansen, were married. She has maintained a rather remarkable blog since shortly after the shooting. In it, she details Sgt. Zeigler’s slow, painful and still incomplete recovery. She also offers this observation on Hasan’s Fort Hood attack:
All politics aside, November 5th was an act of war. It was an attack on U.S. soldiers in uniform on a military base. It was the harsh reality of the world we live in and of the Global War on Terror (or the “Overseas Contingency Operation” as some prefer to call it). I don’t mean to cause controversy or persuade anyone of anything… not with this post, anyway. But that’s just the mindset we have about November 5th, it wasn’t one man, it is a global war that we are fighting.
As such, it is a little hard to see why Major Hasan’s Fort Hood attack, and the havoc it wreaked on Sgt. Zeigler and many others, has been of so little interest to the liberal press.