Survivors of the 2009 Fort Hood massacre believe that the government betrayed them in the three years since the incident, and failed to provide adequate care for the victims after the national spotlight faded. Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan is still awaiting trial for the shooting spree that killed 13 and left 32 wounded at the Texas military installation. Former Sgt. Kimberly Munley, who was shot three times after confronting Hasan, told ABC’s Nightline that survivors of the shooting have been forsaken by the government.
“Not to the least little bit have the victims been taken care of,” Munley said. “In fact, they’ve been neglected.”
Munley and her partner, Sgt. Mark Todd, have been credited with stopping Hasan’s rampage, with Todd’s shots bringing the attacker down while Munley lay wounded. Survivors of the incident have been denied Purple Heart awards, which are designated for soldiers involved in conflict against foreign threats. Evidence has linked Hasan to al-Qaida, but he is an American citizen and former serviceman. Military leaders fear that presenting survivors with Purple Hearts would mark Hasan as an international prisoner, compromising his trial.
The survivors have filed a lawsuit against the government for their failure to designate Hasan as an extremist, and for classifying the incident as workplace violence rather than a terrorist attack. The designation prevents the victims from receiving full military health care benefits, according to the lawsuit. It also makes mention of the significant attention the case received from government officials, including President Obama. Survivors claim that military and administration officials promised them the highest level of medal care and assistance.
“These promises disappeared into the ether when the television cameras left Fort Hood. Many of the seriously wounded and injured plaintiffs were left abandoned to their own means and devices to obtain decent medical care,” the lawsuit states.
Officials who spoke to Nightline denied an intentional lack of support for the victims, and said they were not aware of the deficiencies. The report comes on the heels of Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday. Munley was one of the Fort Hood survivors present at the 2010 State of the Union address.