When Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan yelled “Allahu akhbar” and opened fire on his comrades in 2009, leaving 13 people dead and more than 32 others wounded, it was clear, at least to the National Counterrorism Center, that this was indeed a terrorist attack and was labeled as such the day after. Then, as you well know, the massacre was deemed “workplace violence.” Now that Hasan has been found guilty and sentenced to death, however, Texas lawmakers are planning to introduce legislation that would formally classify the shooting as an act of terrorism, making victims eligible for additional benefits, according to Fox News.
Lawmakers, as well as Fort Hood victims and their families, are renewing the years-long push now that Hasan has been found guilty in the deaths of 13 people and received his sentence. Among the arguments the government had made for not awarding Purple Hearts to victims was that it could negatively affect the trial.
Families, though, have said that by treating the deadly November 2009 shooting as a terrorist attack, victims would get the same benefits as those killed or injured in combat.
The new legislation, called the "Honoring the Fort Hood Heroes Act," would do that by labeling the attack as terrorism, giving victims the same status as that given to victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack and making them eligible for the Purple Heart.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas; Rep. John Carter, R-Texas; and Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, plan to announce the legislation in Killeen, Texas.
"Now that Hasan is convicted and has been sentenced,” Carter said in a statement, “I promise to pursue every avenue to promote the cause of our soldiers and their families. As the federal representative for Fort Hood, I will not abandon this fight until it is won."
Staff Sgt. Shawn Manning, who was shot several times during the attack, said not calling the shooting what it was—an act of terrorism—“is like a slap in the face.”
"Hasan yelled 'Allahu Akbar' as he attacked Americans and claimed his rampage was in defense of the Taliban," Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement. "His attack was an act of terrorism, not simply workplace violence, and we must continue to pursue justice for those wounded and the families of those killed by not only seeing this sentence carried out, but also by ensuring they receive the full benefits they deserve."