Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the man accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, last week, is awake, according to CNN.
I’ve had this thought in the back of my my head since that shooting that Hasan’s alleged actions go beyond murder — that his cowardly surprise attack on our soldiers and civilians warrants him facing trial for treason against the United States of America.
I say this with some trepidation as I am not a lawyer, just a writer. The most frequent use of the word "treason" these days is in poorly written speeches and hatchet jobs by political operatives. I do not know the legal test that would determine if the charge of treason is warranted in this case, which is why I’m asking. (And I’m not the only person asking)
Let’s start with the Constitution. Article III, Section 3, lays out the rules for what constitutes treason:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
I look at those lines and I think the words "levying War" applies rather clearly. But still I am not sure. So here is what U.S. Law says, according to the Cornell University School of Law’s Code Collection:
Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
So, again, we’ve got "levies war." Also, now that I think of it, physically harming the U.S. military in this fashion does sound like "Aid and Comfort" to me. So I’m really leaning toward "yes, charge him with treason" at this point.
What do you think?
Note: I found some of this source material from the Wikipedia page on treason.