D.C. Navy Yard Shooting: 12 Dead, 14 Wounded; What Comes Next?

The Washington Post this morning reports that 12 people were killed and 14 injured in yesterday's rampage at the Navy Yard by former reservist Aaron Alexis, who also died during the shooting.

Alexis's killing spree is the largest in the Washington Metro area since the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

“We don’t know what the motive is,” said D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D). The mayor said there was no reason to suspect terrorism. Other officials said they do not know whether Alexis’s [general] discharge [from the Navy Reserves] played a role in the shootings but said that is one line of inquiry.

The Navy Yard is a secure military installation, meaning that everyone on it needed a clearance permit, which Alexis, 34, apparently had.

Alexis had been working much of this year as a computer contractor for a company called The Experts and appeared to have a government-contractor access card that would have allowed him into the Navy Yard and other military installations, according to company chief executive Thomas Hoshko.

Alexis had a security clearance that was updated in July, approved by military security service personnel.

“There had to be a thorough investigation,” Hoshko said. “There is nothing that came up in all the searches.”...

Read the latest Post stories here.

The Post story concludes with a paragraph recounting other recent mass shootings:

The Navy Yard shooting marks the seventh time in the past decade that a gunman has killed 10 or more people in a single incident. The most notable incidents were the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting in which 32 died; the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting last year in which 12 were killed; the Newtown, Conn., school shooting last year in which 26 were killed; and the 2009 Fort Hood rampage.

President Obama commented on the shooting yesterday, saying, "We are confronting yet another mass shooting." Others in the government and commentariat have immediately - and understandably - begun discussion what sort of gun control measures would have kept the slaughter from happening.

As calls for new gun laws - including expanded background checks and casting a wider net for mentally disturbed individuals - get underway, it's important to recognize that however terrifying and devastating events such as the Navy Yard shooting are, they are not increasing in frequency. Neither is gun violence overall. As I wrote in January 2013:

The violent crime rate - which includes murder, rape, and beatings - is half of what it was in the early 1990s. And the violent crime rate involving the use of weapons has also declined at a similar pace.

None of that minimizes the pain and suffering that occurred yesterday - and a full investigation into how a gunman made his way onto a secure military installation deserves the highest level of investigation and understanding. But the larger picture about declining rates of gun violence surely also needs to stay front and center as calls for action and new restrictions on gun ownership grow.

Watch "5 Facts About Guns, Schools, and Violence":

 

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  • UnCivilServant||

    Umm... If your security clearance background checks didn't catch this guy, there's no point in widening that net, since it won't catch anyone else either.

  • Jon Lester||

    Seriously, why isn't a general discharge a red flag for the vetting process?

  • tarran||

    I think what they mean by General Discharge was that his term of enlistment ended. He did his six years and got out.

  • Rasilio||

    Nope, that would still be an honorable discharge.

    A General Discharge generally results from inappropriate conduct or actions not associated with your service, so getting caught using drugs or a couple of DUI's.

  • tarran||

    That's an admin sep.

  • Tomblvd||

    According to the Navy, he was honorably discharged, effective Jan. 31, 2011.

  • Rich||

    This.

    The guy shot up a car and an apartment, but I suppose those incidents weren't secrets.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    And this. With many examples of government incompetence in this guy's background from what I have read, it seems to hurt the more government argument.

  • tarran||

    The guy shot up a car and an apartment, but I suppose those incidents weren't secrets.

    When I was being investigated for my security clearance, the Navy asked several of my references about a baby they thought I had fathered. Untangling that one was fun:

    Basically, my best friend in college (a female physics major) married a aerospace engineer working at Goddard right after graduation. By the time Oct rolled around, she was visibly pregnant, and she visited the school for a party. One of my professors saw her and assumed (since she and I used to hang out together all the time) that I was the father, and mentioned this to the Navy investigators.

    The Navy was very interested in why I was keeping this relationship secret and pressed my references (and an expanding pool of people they decided to interview on their own) pretty hard in the interviews.

    It was hysterically funny; I had four friends call me and ask "WTF, you knocked up some chick?" The best part was that one of the people calling me knew my friend, but hadn't put 2+2 together.

  • Cas||

    Exactly! The laws on the books already should have enabled the "authorities" to prosecute this b@stard, which would have meant no security clearance, and no access to the secure military base.
    How much do you want to bet that NONE of the talking heads pushing "common sense gun control" will discuss THAT issue?

  • Don Mynack||

    CNN had a chyron up yesterday saying that Alexis purchased an "AR-15 shotgun" in Ft. Worth, which was so CNN.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Perhaps they meant a RAAC Akdal MKA-1919?

  • Swiss Servator, Spare a Franc?||

    A phase plasma rifle in the 40 watt range?

  • setTHEline||

    I'll bet he was using hollow-point, armor piercing, cop-killing, high-powered, 50 cal, 12 gauge, automatic fire, bought-from-the-interenet ammuntion . No doubt.

  • Steve G||

    hey pal, just what you see..

  • Atanarjuat||

    Huh. Cool vocab word.

    Speaking of news idiots, I heard somebody on NPR call Turkey an "Arab" country the other day.

  • Swiss Servator, Spare a Franc?||

    You mean Turkey isn't Arab, just like Iran?!

    /derp

  • fish||

    Speaking of news idiots, I heard somebody on NPR call Turkey an "Arab" country the other day.

    Oh please tell me that they pronounced it "Ayyyrab"!

  • SIV||

    Was the NPR person bitching about the "Miss Al Qaeda Pageant"? Regardless, this ignorant racist needs to be publicly shamed for life.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Others in the government and commentariat have immediately - and understandably - begun discussion what sort of gun control measures would have kept the slaughter from happening.

    You're not writing for the rubes here, Gillespie. There is no need to use mealy-mouthed rhetorical appeals to ethos.

  • Rich||

    what sort of gun control measures would have kept the slaughter from happening

    Well, apparently disarming the guards would have helped. Can we have *that* discussion?

  • SIV||

    Nick and Cato are working on common-sense libertarian gun safety measures right now.

  • Rasilio||

    You mean things like...

    1) all guns are loaded all the time, even ones you just unloaded yourself

    2) do not point a loaded gun (see gun control rule 1) at anything you are not willing to kill

    3) do not bring a gun into a conflict unless you are mentally prepared to use it without hesitation

    4) when discharging your firearm be aware of what is downrange behind your target

  • wheelock||

    The cardinal rules of firearms make perfect sense of course. The first one is no exception, but the bit about "even if you unloaded it yourself" always struck me as adding confusion to the situation. If that were true then one could never clean it or test the action right? Those are two things you cant do with a loaded gun. One of the first things I show people about guns is how to verify if it is empty and if not how to safely disarm it. Seems to me that should be higher on the list.

  • Killazontherun||

    Those rules are for pussies, and target practice is for socializing. Who needs training? You flip your hand around while pulling the trigger, you're bound to hit something. -- /copderp.

  • Muzzle of Bees||

    Don't forget: Finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire. Unless you're a SWAT officer doing a no-knock, then have that baby halfway depressed just in case you see a dog or old man with a flashlight.

  • PACW||

    I noticed that also and frowned.

  • KPres||

    """There is no need to use mealy-mouthed rhetorical appeals to ethos."""

    This can't be said enough. Not only is it embarrassing to read that pathetic shit from Nick, it also just strengthens the sensationalist garbage. None of these lying pricks care about the victims, because if they did, they'd be in an uproar over the thousands of pre-mature deaths that happen every day due to whatever untold variety of causes. Period.

    What people who have a voice like Nick should be doing is relentlessly calling out these manipulative pricks on their fucked-up appeals to their own manufactured emotionalism.

    I realize he has to avoid sounding callous, given the state of world we live in, but Christ, that doesn't mean he has to dive into the river of shit himself. Just mention the victims and move on, and focus instead on what shitty sub-human scumbags the animals that want to capitalize on their deaths are.

  • Jon Lester||

    At least the Syria thing is so recent that people will remember DiFi's support for indiscriminately killing Syrians for no real reason other than to "do something," as well as her desire to give fully-automatic variants of the scary guns to jihadist rebels. Then there's her defense of the NSA's large-scale domestic surveillance, too. Believe it or not, a large number of comments and up-votes at Raw Story this morning are saying the same things, though it's early, and the west coast readership aren't up yet.

  • Swiss Servator, Spare a Franc?||

    I see the same old calls for "common sense" gun control being trotted out, but it won't last as long as the last push.

    If this had been some white, teathuglican, the shrieking would be prolonged and thunderous.

  • Atanarjuat||

    The only facebook meme I've seen about it so far actually criticized Clinton for disarming servicemen on bases. Which I assume is true. I was in high school at the time.

  • Atanarjuat||

    It does kinda seem like this story should have ended more like the "stupid criminal attempts to rob gun store" you hear about every so often.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Makes one wonder what would happen if a group actually planned an organized attack on one of these places. From the examples so far we should expect everyone will shit themselves and lay on the floor.

  • Drake||

    A topic that nobody in the military likes to talk about.

  • tarran||

    Makes one wonder what would happen if a group actually planned an organized attack on one of these places.

    It would be a fucking bloodbath. Except for specific training evolutions and being out in the field, the ammo is kept locked up as are the guns, generally.

  • SFC B||

    It is kept locked up and in a location far remote from where the weapons are located. A coordinated action against anyplace BUT the ammo point will end poorly for the target.

  • Killazontherun||

    Someone did try to rob an Italian eatery and got his brains splattered over a decade ago here. I can vouch they were Old World even though the joint was a well known franchise (Unos), neither English nor Spanish was spoken in the kitchen. I liked their on tap beer selections back in the day, and parked myself up to the counter to listen in.

  • Drake||

    Pre-Clinton I only has a rifle AND ammo while on guard duty OR at the rifle range.

    Post-Clinton, only at the rifle range.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    If your security clearance background checks didn't catch this guy, there's no point in widening that net, since it won't catch anyone else either.

    It pretty much makes a mockery of any pretension that "enhanced" background checks will do anything but make it harder for people who pose no threat to get weapons. Which is, of course, the explicit endgame for Mayors Against Legal Guns.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Neither common sense not any measure of intelligance will be displayed in the hysterics coming over the next few days. Just more retarded misinformation about how it's easier to buy a fully automatic machine gun to spray cop killer bullets at pre-schools than it is to vote.

  • Swiss Servator, Spare a Franc?||

    Oh, I am sure that fierce defender of the 2nd Amendment (the Lightworker) will be out front making sure people do not cynically try to cash in on this to restrict liberty!

    /94 on purity test

  • Lord Humungus||

    purity of essence....zss..zss.zz

  • fish||

    Oh, I am sure that fierce defender of the 2nd Amendment (the Lightworker) will be out front making sure people do not cynically try to cash in on this to restrict liberty!

    TIME FOR EXECUTIVE ACTION...........

  • Drake||

    A "secure military installation".

    In other words, once past the gate guards, a gun-free zone. Military bases are so completely disarmed, outside police had to be called in to handle a single shooter.

  • db||

    This is questionable, as I point out below, police are saying he used a pump shotgun to kill his first targets, who were armed, and and acquire their weapons. He was later found with an AR15 and a Glock pistol.

  • Drake||

    It is questionable what weapons he brought versus what he grabbed at the gate. Once past the gate, he had unarmed targets until outside cops showed up.

  • fish||

    ....police are saying he used a pump shotgun to kill his first targets.

    So it is....as I always assumed it would be...Shotgun Joe Bidens fault.

  • db||

    An important counter to the calls for "assault weapon" bans that have already come out of this is that police believe the shooter brought a Remington 870 pump action shotgun in with him and gathered his other weapons from his first victims. While he shot some people with an AR 15 allegedly, that gun was already present on site, likely as part of the security detail's weaponryy.

  • Drake||

    The "Castle Wolfenstein" loophole!

    http://booksbikesboomsticks.bl.....layup.html

  • fish||

    An important counter to the calls for "assault weapon" bans that have already come out of this is that police believe the shooter brought a Remington 870 pump action shotgun in with him and gathered his other weapons from his first victims. While he shot some people with an AR 15 allegedly, that gun was already present on site, likely as part of the security detail's weaponryy.

    More gun loving wingnuttery....everybody knows that in the presence of a 9mm Beretta a guy toting the 12 gauge shotgun always goes prone in complete and immediate submission.

  • Drake||

    In other words, he grabbed an actual M-4 or M-16. Maybe the Navy should ban them.

  • fish||

    Maybe the Navy should ban them.

    It's just common sense.

    /feinstein

  • Dankee||

    You mean it wasn't violent video games?

  • setTHEline||

    Can't it be both?

  • Dave Krueger||

    Given the success of the war on drugs, I propose we start a war on guns. That way, after twenty years or so, they will be even more plentiful and cheaper than ever.

    It seems like the only way you can have a free market anymore is to get something outlawed since it immediately eliminates all government regulation and taxation of an industry.

  • Restoras||

    Well there has been a de facto War on Guns since The One was elected, hence the run on guns and ammo nationwide for the past five years.

  • tydas||

    So the question is, do we have too little guns or too much..both sides argue that their solution would minimize events like this...no easy answer...

    Also, I love the theme I just saw on a news cast being why aren't all military personnel armed, as if this was something dictated by the evil left…I’m sure the military has good reasons for their policy…

  • Invisible Finger||

    These shootings are taking place at government facilities.

    But no talk of reducing the number of government facilities.

  • Chmee||

    I think that it might be worth mentioning that this guy didn't sneak in armed to the teeth. He stole all the weapons he used from the police once he got inside. Not amount of bans would have stopped that.

    Hmmm, maybe we should restrict the police from ownership of assault weapons then.

    Latest (unconfirmed) report is that there wasn't an AR-15 involved. All of the MSM outleta seem to be making sure that they say there is though.

  • Robert||

    The violent crime rate - which includes murder, rape, and beatings - is half of what it was in the early 1990s. And the violent crime rate involving the use of weapons has also declined at a similar pace.

    None of that minimizes the pain and suffering that occurred yesterday


    In fact it increases it because misery loves company.

  • San Diego Employment Lawyer||

    I never believed that it was feasible to accomplish something like that until after I looked over your post.

  • craigslist posting service||

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