William Long, victim of Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad’s jihad attack in Little Rock, Arkansas, richly deserves a Purple Heart. “Pryor Advocates for Slain Soldier’s Purple Heart During Congressional Hearing,” from Pryor’s website, December 7:
WASHINGTON, DC — During a joint hearing today by the Senate and House homeland security committees, U.S. Senator Mark Pryor received a commitment from the Army that they will reconsider U.S. Army Private William Long’s eligibility for the Purple Heart. Pryor also raised awareness about the Honoring Ezeagwula and Long (HEAL) Act, and said he will continue to work with U.S. Senator John Boozman and the delegation to advance the legislation.
During the hearing on homegrown terrorism, Pryor questioned witnesses about why two Arkansas soldiers were denied Purple Hearts after they were shot outside an Army recruiting center in 2009. Private William Long was shot and killed; Private Quinton Ezeagwula was wounded. Jim Stuteville, a Senior Advisor at the Army said the Army did not consider the attack to be an act of international terrorism, but he committed to taking the case up the ladder.
“Private William Long’s untimely death and Quinton Eqeagwula’s wounds demonstrate that there are no front lines when it comes to terrorism. They became targets because they were in uniform outside a military recruiting center.” Pryor said. “Given the circumstances, I believe they are deserving of the same recognition as their colleagues in a combat zone. I will continue to advocate for these families to see that they receive the Purple Heart.”
Daris Long of Conway, Arkansas and the father of US Army Private William Long, testified during the joint hearing about his disappointment with the actions taken by the Army. His son’s killer, Carlos Bledsoe, also known as Abdulhakim Muhammad, is serving a life sentence without the chance for parole after pleading guilty and admitting his motivation for the shootings stemmed from the United States” presence in the Middle East. Bledsoe converted to Islam, became radicalized in Nashville, TN and travelled to Yemen in 2007 where he was arrested by Yemeni authorities in 2008. Following his deportation from Yemen in 2009, he attacked the Little Rock recruiting center, killing Long and wounding Ezeagwula.
The strategic decision by terrorists to target military personnel is a growing concern. More than 30 plots by homegrown terrorists against domestic military targets have been disrupted and prosecuted since 2001. Two attacks — Carlos Bledsoe’s attack in Little Rock and Nidal Hasan’s attack at Ft. Hood — were successful in killing military personnel.