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Carnage at Washington Naval Yard Involved Mental Illness

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 17, 2013

AlexisThe Country has once again must deal with a mass murder, this time occurring yesterday at the Naval Yard in Washington DC.  According to reports, the shooter was Aaron Alexis, a contractor hired by a Hewlett-Packard Enterprises called The Experts to work for the government.  After entering the Naval Yard, Alexis killed 12 innocents before being shot by Washington police.

Even before the shock of the killing had sunk in, some attempted to use the tragedy for political advantage.  President Barack Obama took off after Congress for not moving forward on gun control stating:  “The fact that we do not have a firm enough background-check system is something that makes us more vulnerable to these kinds of mass shootings,” and “ultimately this is something that Congress is going to have to act on.”  This presumptuous statement was made irrespective of the fact that as a contractor working for the Navy, Alexis was subject to two background checks including one this past June that only turned up a traffic violation issue.

Initial reports indicated that an AR-15 assault style rifle was used in Alexis’s attack.  This was false.  The tool of the carnage was a 12 gauge Remington pump shotgun, the type typically used for hunting birds and small game.  During the heat of the gun debate after the Sandy Hook massacre, VP Joe Biden infamously suggested that women should protect themselves with shotguns that he inferred did not require the type of restrictions been suggested for assault style rifles.

Yesterday’s tragedy a Washington shows that Biden and others who attack one particular style of gun ignore the reality that it is the shooter who is dangerous to society irrespective of their weapon of choice.  This reality is purposely skirted as related discussions would lead to the causes behind the growing numbers of mass murders in the United States.  Such discussions would likely lead to negative connotations relating to some of Progressive social engineering programs.

According to NBC, there were warning signs concerning Aaron Alexis, his mental state and violent tendencies.  The NBC report concluded:

  • Alexis reported to have heard voices in recent weeks.  Newport, R.I. police said that Alexis called them at a local hotel in early August complaining he was being followed and people were after him.  His complaints included that his adversaries were using a microwave machine to keep him awake.
  • One of Alexis’s friends in Texas reported that Alexis was threatening to leave the Country because of his dissatisfaction with life in general and more specifically the way he was treated as a veteran.
  • Alexis was reportedly seen by the Veterans Administration a mobile occasion for issues relating to his mental well-being.
  • Alexis has twice been accused of issues involving firearms including accidentally firing a bullet into an apartment and shooting the tires of another person’s vehicle.
  • While Alexis received an honorable discharge from the Navy, it is reported he had eight violations on his record including insubordination and disorderly conduct.  How such an individual received an honorable discharge and later a security clearance is unconscionable.

The Country faces a severe problem relating to mass murders.  It is also a fact that guns are often the weapons of choice for perpetrators.  However, making laws that offer tactical restrictions on certain types of firearms and/or or implementing stronger background checks will do little to address this problem.  In the case of a Washington Naval Yard massacre, the gun used is not included in anybody’s list for restricted firearms.  The perpetrator, Alexis, was subject to significant background checks that failed.  Finally, we have spent five decades fighting the “War on Drugs” with little to show for it.  In fact, it is likely that this war has increased the violence, given the power and money available through the illicit drug trade.

The discussion of guns and the role they play in violence is legitimate.  However, it should to be only one part of the much broader discussion that includes among other issues: 1) the violence glorified in the entertainment and gaming industry and their effects on society, 2) the effects of psychotropic drugs on individuals, 3) the breakdown of the family and effects on children, 4) the mental health industry and its success / failure rates, and 5) HIPPA and involuntary commitment laws and how they have affected societal violence.  Those that focus on only one or two of the issues seek a political agenda, not real solutions.


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