November 19th, 2009
07:00 AM ET
5 years ago

CNN Poll: Could authorities have prevented Ft. Hood shootings?

 A fallen soldiers memorial is seen in front of the podium where President Obama spoke at the memorial service for victims of the Fort Hood shootings.
A fallen soldiers memorial is seen in front of the podium where President Obama spoke at the memorial service for victims of the Fort Hood shootings.

Washington (CNN) – A majority of Americans think that authorities could have prevented the deadly attack at Fort Hood, Texas, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicates that 64 percent of the public believes that federal law enforcement agencies or the U.S. military should have been able to prevent the shootings, with 31 percent saying the incident couldn't have been prevented.

Authorities say Nidal Hasan, a U.S. Army psychiatrist, opened fire at a military processing center at the Fort Hood army post, killing 13 people. Dozens of others were wounded.

"All major demographic groups seem to believe that the attack at Fort Hood was preventable," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "A majority of men and women, old and young, Democrats and Republicans - all think Hasan could have been stopped."


The poll's Thursday morning release comes as the Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman is scheduled to begin hearings focusing on what authorities knew about the alleged shooter before the November 5 incident, and whether military or law enforcement authorities missed signals that Hasan was planning an attack.

According to the survey, Americans are split on whether the attack was an act of terrorism. Forty-seven percent of people questioned say it was an act of terrorism, with 45 percent disagreeing.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted November 13-15, with 1,014 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Full results (pdf)

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: CNN poll • Fort Hood
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Jayson

    There is far too much evidence that those in leadership at Fort Hood and law enforcement were aware of his sympathies with those who justify acts of terror to further their ideological beliefs. This man is a terrorist just like those who would kill abortion clinic workers as a means to further their agenda. Terrorist acts involve the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. To try to claim that just because someone doesn't act as part of a larger group they are not a terrorist is ridiculous. Terrorism is about the means to an ideological end, not about the package in which it comes.

    November 19, 2009 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  2. No More Incumbents

    Can I get a collective "Duh"?

    November 19, 2009 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  3. Tony in Maine

    Of course they do. All the bloviators have rushed to the mics to say so.

    None of them has served in the military with the possible exception of McCain who will say absolutely anything to get a vote.

    Many of them are lawyers who would grab in a heartbeat a discrimination suit that easy. Many have also voted in the affirmative for laws that forbid discrimination.

    This is why politicians wither in the sunlight. As for the public – it goes a long way toward understanding why American Idol is popular.

    November 19, 2009 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  4. Jeff

    Of course it was preventable. We could have removed him from the military at the first inkling of potential wrongdoing. However, if we did that, we would probably remove many more valuable people, most of which would not have ended up doing something reprehensible.

    November 19, 2009 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  5. Michele

    Sure, let's start "profiling" all the soldiers (and don't stop there, what about cops, teachers, all government employees, truck drivers, steelworkers, plumbers, newscasters, ex-Governors with an ax to grind...) who don't fit the right's idea of a perfect citizen. This was a horrible event, but unless you are using an accurate crystal ball, bad things happen all over the world. Lots of people are depressed. Lots of people have access to weapons. Few of them ever hurt anybody. This is more fear-mongering, and will lead to more of Bush's spying, if you ask me. He made people believe that his illegal actions were protecting them (from whom, not from the government?) Palin and her ilk are after the same kind of government interference. That is far more abominable than even this tragic event.

    November 19, 2009 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  6. monitor the muslims closer

    I am not saying something that is crazy or over the top

    I have worked in computer labs and been around other areas where I have seen (not all) muslim youth gravitate to the extremist web sites etc., this doesn't happen with other religious or ethnic groups

    there is something about this group that is attractive and draws in impressionable youth (not the same) but maybe similar to rap music

    November 19, 2009 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  7. Silence Dogoode

    Could he have been stopped? Of course he could have. He was a militant muslim what had several people complaining about him. But let's keeped focused here. he is respnsible for his own actions. he is a terrorist and he commited a terrorist act on US soil just like Tim McVeigh. This was not a tragedy it was a pre-meditated attack by an Islamofacist. he should be cahrged with murder, treason and be tired in a military tribunal and if found guilty he should be executed. end of story. we are just all tiptoeing around calling him a terrorist. if McVeigh was a terrorist, so is Hasan.

    November 19, 2009 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  8. Right Leaning Independent

    Of course it could have been prevented! We need to do away with all of this political correctness which is devastating our country! Folks that promote political correctness are far right and left folks that live in a fantasy world. If you do not like something being politically incorrect, than leave!!

    November 19, 2009 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  9. Kevin in Ohio

    Hasan should have been charged with treason as soon as the first e-mail to Yemen was discovered. So, YES. It was 100% preventable.

    November 19, 2009 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  10. the muslims need to speak out more

    being quiet does not help

    you need to condem this man, he did a deplorable thing

    your silence makes the world think you don't have standards

    November 19, 2009 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  11. Obama = WORST president EVER

    This traitor sent up enough red flags that even a PC blinded idiot should have seen them...threats, anti-American comments....but, heaven forbid someone in the Army take action against a Muslim terrorist...we don't want to offend anyone!

    November 19, 2009 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  12. Steve, New York City

    . . . and of course, the majority of the public is "perfectly versed" in arms protocols for officers, on US military bases.

    This is a stupid poll.

    November 19, 2009 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  13. Debby

    Yes as Palin said there should be more profiling on men and women wearing the US uniform. Dr's especially therapists listening to soldiers back from the war, should be examined to make sure they aren't getting burnt out by the horrific stories they hear.

    November 19, 2009 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  14. Chris From TX

    I don't see how they could have prevented it. This coward was a major in the military. he was trusted. He had clearence.

    November 19, 2009 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  15. Tram

    It's possible it could have been stopped "that day." But if this guy wanted to shoot out a blood bath and go out in his version of a blaze of glory, he'd have found another way, another time and another venue to do it in. The guy needed to be stopped when things started looking rather hinky. It's the military, for crying out loud. Call in CID and have them see if there's was a need to worry.

    November 19, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  16. Lynne

    For all the people trying to place blame with the Obama Administration instead of trying to find the cause please note that the memo was sent in 2007....long before January, 2009!!

    November 19, 2009 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  17. Ed Tallahassee

    I don't think it was an Act of Terrorism. I think it was the act of a lone crazy man. I think that if everything was the same except his religion this would not be a topic. If Nidal Hasan had been Christian or Jewish this topic would be about Post Traumatic Stress, how people handle it, and if the Military was doing enough to help our troops after they return.

    I do believe that all of the Dead and Wounded Deserve a Purple Heart, and all the benefits that go with it. I believe that we need to do more to prevent something like this from happening again. Our troops do everything they are asked, are under paid, and rarely complain.

    November 19, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  18. Mike in LR

    My stint in the military was nearly four decades ago but in my day I can assure you "malcontents" were shown the door. Of course after they received much punishment. In today's age of political correctness this is what you get. Lost lives to a terrorist within our own military.

    My position is all muslims should be discharged immediatley and no new enlistments would be allowed. That would solve this problem. We cannot afford to train terrorists in our own army.

    I said we would be attacked again soon after our indecisive, limp-wristed, weak leader was sworn in. I love to be right.

    November 19, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  19. German,Irish American

    Welcome to political correctness. If they would have discharged him, the ACLU and left-wing radicals, and Obama belongs in this category regarding political correctness, would have went nuts screaming racial profiling, religious bias, illegal wiretapping, etc. Well, great move, his "rights" weren't infringed on, the wiretapped calls and e-mails were ignored, his increased radical religious views were ignored, we showed him that we are a "changed" nation with our new leader Obama, with tolerance for all and we are good people that just want to understand you extremists and get along. Well, that line of thinking only got 13 soldiers murdered in the first terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11.

    November 19, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  20. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    There is no way the authorities could have prevented this crime anymore than they could have stopped the VA Tech slaughter or any number of other mall, school killing sprees.

    This man was motivated by the same unfathomable factors that all the above were affected by.

    We may never know why, but it would appear he too, did not expect to survive.

    Bring him to trial and issue the harshest punishment available. Here in Texas he will get to meet Allah pretty quickly.

    November 19, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  21. Karen

    This is the perfect example of political correctness going to far!

    November 19, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  22. ran

    Yes they could have by discharging him and making him go to Afghanistan and renouncing his US citizenship. Seeing that is what he wanted to do any way.

    They should do this for ever person who wants to get out of the service if that person would rather live under a hateful group then live under freedom.

    November 19, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  23. Brad

    I suppose all the people being polled were there? Hind sight is 20/20. We can try to prevent future incidents, but nothing now will bring those people back and polls like this just seem absolutely ridiculous.

    November 19, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  24. Mark from Louisiana

    sure they could have been prevented, every muslim in the military should be watched closely and all phone and e-mail activity should be monitored. If the muslims don't like it they need to find a new career.

    November 19, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  25. Brett from Oriskany,VA

    Well he certainly came up on a lot of radar screens. Sometimes we see American Muslim rights violated because of the fear of fundamentalist Islam. Yet, the Army didn't seem to be able to recognize the signs. There is some negligence somewhere in the chain of command. But you probably won't see any general officer discipined, they'll find some lower rank scapegoat and retire the general with a nice pension. Thats the way the Army does business these days.

    November 19, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
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