I’m working on another post on chivalry now and was looking for an example of a woman who acted as a protector. The police officer who shot the Fort Hood terrorist came to mind, so I searched for a story I could link to. I googled “who shot fort hood terrorist”, and the number one result was: Fort Hood hero is a mom – shot terrorist Hasan four times:
A police officer and mother of one was hailed a heroine yesterday after it emerged that she almost single handedly ended the massacre at America’s biggest military base.
That seemed to fit what I recall reading, but I was hesitant to link to Mommy Life and I was thinking I had read some controversy following the initial reports. So I looked for another article. Scrolling down a bit, I found a Nov 13 2009 article from the UK paper The Times titled Who really shot the Fort Hood killer?
It was a feel-good hero story that for several days gave Americans some comfort after the murder of 13 soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas…
Initially it was claimed that a slightly-built female police officer, Sergeant Kimberly “Mighty Mouse” Munley, opened fire on the suspect…
But at least one witness now claims that… it was her partner, Senior Sergeant Mark Todd… who actually felled [Hasan]
13 people were killed and many more were wounded. How was this a feel good story? And if so, why was it only a feel good story when they thought it was a woman who shot the bad guy? Either way the Times story doesn’t really solve the case one way or another, so I kept looking. Eventually I found a more recent Oct 20th 2010 story from CNN. They seem to go out of their way to be murky about who did what, but it sounds like the source in the previous Times story had it right:
Munley, who was widely praised for her role in ending the shooting, admitted that she did not know how many times she had hit the gunman.
“I did not see him fall from my shots. No,” Munley said.
Then on to several paragraphs of detail on the courtroom and Munley’s medical leave before the author tells us:
Asked whether he knew if he hit Hasan, Todd replied, “I see [sic] him wince a couple of times.”In the end, Hasan fell to the ground, and Todd ran up, kicked his gun away…
I don’t see any other way to read this than:
- She was the first to confront Hasan, and fired her weapon.
- She doesn’t know if her shots hit him or not, but he shot her three times before walking over and disarming her.
- Officer Todd fired multiple times and several of them struck Hasan.
- Some time after Officer Todd shot him Hasan fell to the ground and Todd disarmed him.
None of this would seem to challenge the fact that Sergeant Kimberly Munley acted heroically when she ran into harms way in her effort to save the lives of the Fort Hood soldiers. If two men had responded and one had been shot three times and the other had taken the bad guy down, we would rightly call both heroes. But it seems to me that the press has been far more interested in spinning a feminist myth rather than reporting the news accurately. This is a profound shame, since the heroic story of both Munley and Todd deserves to be told and to be told accurately.