All the warning signs were there, clear as day. It was obvious that Nidal Malik Hasan was dangerous. This man openly stated his support for murder in the name of Islam. He referred to himself as a "soldier of Allah." He even attempted to contact Al-Qaeda. It's not as if he were some evil mastermind hatching his plot in the shadows. It was all out there in the open. People knew about it. And did nothing.
The obvious question is, "why?" Was it the fear of being labeled a hatemonger? Was it fear of being accused of profiling? Fear of an ACLU lawsuit? Whatever the Army and the FBI's reasons for inaction, it seems to me to have been based in fear.
One of the things we pride ourselves on in this country is our openness. We want to believe the American dream is open to everybody, regardless of their religion or ancestry. We want to believe the best about our fellow Americans. It is one of the strengths of our country. However, it is exploited by terrorists as a weakness. They will use our assumptions of human decency against us. In Hasan's case, there wasn't much more he could have done to make us aware of his intentions. But no action was taken.
So what are we to do, then? Should our basic trust in humanity give way to paranoia or suspicion? No. But neither should we allow ourselves to be naive. We fear to be thought of as prejudiced, biased, and judgmental, and rightly so, because ideally we are none of these things. But when we are confronted with an unpleasant truth, we must act upon that truth rather than pretending it isn't real. To paraphrase Fulton Sheen, let's not be so open minded that we let our brains fall out.