Top of the morning all...
You are now likely aware of the goings-on at the Washington Navy Yard. This one is personal for me, as you might imagine. My administrative requirements are handled at the reserve centre in DC. All DC-based Naval personnel had to report in yesterday (either by phone or by computer).
I wrote several months ago after the massacre in Connecticut that the nation had to have a conversation about this, and that not all of the answers could be connected back to having lenient gun laws. We had to discuss violence in movies and in video games. We had to have a conversation about mental illness. Failure to consider all of these issues will lead to a hollow reaction that will not address the problem.
It is turning out that yesterday's shooter had been hearing voices. As well, there are reports he had been spending as much as 16 hours a day playing violent video games. It is inconceivable to me that anything we might do 16 hours a day would not affect us.
I again say this: the laws in the US as regards procuring a personal weapon are simply too lenient. However, we must consider these other factors. People who wish to procure a personal weapon will do so, no matter the law. What motivates a person to load the weapon and squeeze the trigger is a separate set of questions. That separate set of questions yields a separate set of answers.
Had base security been on the ball, he would not have gotten onto the Yard with a weapon. Had his arrest record been determinant, he would not have been able to purchase a weapon. There are too many stopping points in the trail that led to yesterday's shooting. Had any one of them been given the necessary consideration, none of this would have happened.
On a separate note, the shooter had a police record and a discipline record with the Navy. He also had a job working as a sub-contractor for Hewlett-Packard. He worked on Navy computers, including our intra-net. It is shocking to me that he might have been allowed near those things with such a background. It really makes me question what a security clearance is actually worth.
In honour of the US Navy, I refer all to the singing of the Navy Hymn.