Fort Hood On My Mind – Again

A view of the 1st Cav Museum, Ft. Hood, Texas

A HWWMV (left) and US armored personnel carrier at the 1st Cav Museum, Ft. Hood, Texas. Image credit: Adam Bartlett/Wikimedia

It was a few years ago that I last wrote about Fort Hood, Texas. That, too was because an armed person went on a rampage there. I spent considerable time during the 1980s and 1990s in that area, and have visited several times since. That makes it extra hard to read something like this:

CBS News identified the shooter as Ivan Lopez, 34.

He was reportedly in uniform at the time of the shooting.

Fort Hood has confirmed the shooting, but has issued little other information.

“Fort Hood’s Directorate of Emergency Services has an initial report that a shooter is dead but this is unconfirmed,” the post said in an updated statement at around 6:30 p.m.

The Associated Press earlier quoted a U.S. law enforcement official as saying the suspected gunman is believed to be dead.

Some of the wounded were taken to Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center on post and others to Scott & White Hospital in Temple.

Four Dead And 14 Injured In Fort Hood Shooting

It’s still early, so there are conflicting reports about what happened. At the moment, I don’t even take that death toll seriously. When the news agencies and officials have a chance to double check things, then we can believe what we’re told. On Twitter today, someone posted this handy checklist of how to treat early reports of an incident like this, where people are frightened and they and the news are taken by surprise:
Image credit: On The Media (PDF)

Image credit: On The Media (PDF)

This is why I won’t write anything more than to extend my condolences to the families and friends of the victims.

UPDATE/Afterword: Apparently, another person with a gun is loose at Kent State University, Ohio. All that seems to be known at this point is that at least one shot was fired, and the campus is locked down.

Hopefully, this will be all the damage from that incident.


The Mythical Mountain

When I first moved to the Pacific Northwest, I had a co-worker who called Mt. Rainier the mythical mountain. He called it that because for the first few months he was here, he never saw it. That was during the winter, when the days are short and the clouds are usually low. It’s rare to see it like this, as I did today:

Mt. Rainier, partially obscured by clouds

Mt. Rainier, partially obscured by clouds, as seen over the Federal Way School District’s maintenance facility. Dec. 11, 2013. Image credit: Taken and processed by Cujo359

As someone once said about his nephew’s head, the thing is big enough to have its own weather system.

Dana Hunter wrote recently that in this part of the world we live with the reality of active volcanos all the time. We get to know their moods and try to live with their occasional outbursts. I’m sure Dana would explain that Mt. Rainier is a stratovolcano, which gets its lovely pointy peak from various violent eruptions that were recent enough that the peak hasn’t been eroded away. As with nearby Mt. St. Helens, it could one day erupt catastrophically, and if the eruption is in the wrong direction, it could devastate a good deal of the southern part of Puget Sound.

Like many beautiful things, it’s also very dangerous. Still, on days like today, it’s hard to think about the danger when you see that big mountain wrapped in its own clouds.