Saturday, November 14, 2009

Major Hasan

This guy has a history. It's not easy to grow up as an "outsider", even if you are talented. I feel certain Hasan experienced a lot of discrimination and harassment as a Muslim in America. That has got to have a significant and lasting effect on one's persona, but it does not justify a mass killing. Hasan took out his frustrations in an unjustifiable manner.

In my view, this mass murder had little to do with Islam. Radical Islam was just a hook onto which Hasan hung his own problems. Hate needs company, and he found it there. He could have gone another way, but he chose the way of vengeance.

Why was Hasan not identified as a psychotic and a dangerous person? There were more than a few significant indicators, and his future in his profession and the Army was debated several times by smart people. What was lacking was the decisiveness to do the right thing with him, to go through a painful and time-consuming process to remove him. Supervisors always consider trade-off's about dealing with problem employees, simply because discipline takes lots of time and energy. In this case, their lack of stomach resulted in a failure to do the right thing, and lots of people died.

In my experience, even following the rules for disciplining or firing an employee often results in far more problems than it should. Here in New York, too many government agencies go overboard in their attempts to stand up for employee's "rights". Employers also have rights, in my view including having employees who show commitment to act in the employer's best interests and follow the rules. When they fail to do so, they should be dismissed after appropriate warning. But, too often the fear of incurring large legal fees and a potential reversal or settlement drives supervisors to overlook extremely negative behavior.

Hasan was terribly wrong. Our employment laws are wrong, too. Hasan will get his just deserts, but will government loosen up it's stranglehold on employers?


Anonymous said...

I live in Texas, where the unions have been castrated and employees are powerless. Wages are low, there's no health care or retirement plans, and job security is nonexistent. It's great for the shareholders, it's great for the plant owners, but is sure sucks for the rest of us.

Lifehiker said...

Sorry, Thomas. Texas is a strange place.

I live in New York, where an employee who got fired for punching out his boss in front of 50 witnesses gets a sympathetic hearing from the "State Department of Human Rights".

Somewhere in the middle, between Texas and New York, would be fine with me.