Terrorism expert: Fort Hood shooting exposes military weakness

Terrorism expert: Fort Hood shooting exposes military weakness »Play Video
Gary Perlstein made a 30-year career at Portland State University studying, writing and explaining violent conflicts.

PORTLAND, Ore. - It's hard not to ask how a shooting could happen twice at the same army post.

After Wednesday’s shooting at Fort Hood near Killeen, Texas, we took that question to retired Portland State University professor and terrorism expert, Gary Perlstein Ph.D.

Perlstein believes the latest shooting at Fort Hood exposes a weakness in U.S. military security protocols. He also believes the military is correct in not classifying the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism.

For 30 years, Perlstein studied, taught, and researched terrorism and violent conflicts at PSU. He retired in 2002. Like any person with a passion, he can’t give it up.

"Terrorism though academically and throughout its study is basically conflict and violence against people who cannot defend themselves,” explained Perlstein.

He tells KATU News Wednesday’s shooting at Fort Hood doesn’t fit into the definition of domestic terrorism because the shooter appears to not have had any political agenda. 

“Domestic terrorism is political terrorism but the victim is going to be somebody who isn't able to defend himself,” Perlstein said.

The military has said this shooting is not an act of any kind of terrorism. They’re calling it “soldier-on-soldier” violence.

It’s the second shooting at Fort Hood in less than five years. In 2009, Nidal Hasan, an Army major and a psychiatrist, shot and killed 13 people and injured 30 others.

The government also hasn't classified that as an act of terrorism because there's no proof Hasan's motive was political, even though he is Muslim.

So how can a mass shooting happen not once, but twice, at the same military post?

"There's nobody doing real checking. There's nobody doing real background investigations. There's nobody really looking in to things. It's obvious. I mean it's not something I’m making up. If you were on a military base this should never have happened,” explained Perlstein.

Right now, it's illegal for most members of the military to be armed at U.S. facilities. Perlstein supports a change in that policy.
 
"I definitely believe they should if we expect them to carry guns in foreign countries,” he said.

Perlstein also believes the military needs to an “honest evaluation” of its security systems in the United States. At the very least, he thinks military facilities should have security screening measures, similar to airports.