Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Another Mass Shooting, This One Close To Home

Happened a few miles from where I work. To absolutely no one's surprise, it turns out the shooter was mentally ill:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The former Navy reservist who slaughtered 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard had been hearing voices and was being treated for mental problems in the weeks before the shooting rampage, but was not stripped of his security clearance, officials said Tuesday.

Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old information technology employee with a defense contractor, used a valid pass to get into the highly secured installation Monday morning and started firing inside a building, the FBI said. He was killed in a gun battle with police.

The motive for the mass shooting — the deadliest on a military installation in the U.S. since the attack at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009 — was a mystery, investigators said.

U.S. law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that there was no known connection to international or domestic terrorism and investigators have found no manifesto or other writings suggesting a political or religious motivation.

Alexis had been suffering a host of serious mental problems, including paranoia and a sleep disorder, and had been hearing voices in his head, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the criminal investigation was still going on.
During this treatment (he was getting treatment!!!) he was able to keep his security clearance, and probably buy a gun.

The gun he had with him, the AR-15 assault rifle, is the same one used in the Newtown shootings and Colorado movie theater shootings.

Walking to work I saw a pickup truck speeding down the street with 5-6 dudes in army gear with assault rifles in the back, and figured something bad was going down. When I checked twitter and found out about the shooting, the saddest part was that I wasn't even surprised. I've become so desensitized to stuff like this I didn't even change much about my day, or stay glued to news reports. Reacting to a shooting has become almost a morbid routine, anticipating gun nuts saying something stupid, watching politicians and commentators to find ways to idiotically blame video games, finding out that the killer was dealing with serious mental health problems and so on and so on. This is going to have to change, but if it isn't going to change from Newtown, I'm just not sure what will make a difference. The two state senators who went to the mat for gun control just lost elections... in fucking Colorado of all places. I don't mean to sound to pessimistic but I really do wonder sometimes if there is something rotted in our culture when it comes to guns. Any time an issue like this becomes a culture war flash point rather than a normal policy issue, we're usually fucked, and guns seem no different. It's not that this is impossible, but I think this might go in the bag of issues like major immigration reform that can only be passed under a Republican president.

I hope I'm wrong, but somehow if the last several years of gun violence don't wake this country up, I doubt one more tragedy will make a difference.


  1. The nice thing about a democracy is that everyone (theoretically) has an equal voice in government, so you get a government which is responsive to the wishes of the people.

    The not-so-nice thing about a democracy is that sometimes, the vast majority of people are really, mind-numbingly stupid.

    1. Yeah, exactly, I mean I take solace that on the vast majority of issues, people are on our side. This, sadly, is not one of them.