I knew it was going to happen, and it did. As soon as the news hit that there was a shooting going on at a DC Navy shipyard, liberal commentators the world over began renewing their calls for gun control.
There’s some reality that we need to look at here, though.
The shooter was identified as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis. According to news reports throughout the day, we’ve discovered that on May 6, 2004, Alexis flew into a rage and shot out the back tires of a Honda Accord parked in a driveway next to the house he was living in. He was about 25 years old at the time. According to police reports, there had been some kind of dispute with a nearby construction site about parking in the area – but the Accord wasn’t even parked in HIS driveway. Witnesses say that for several days, he stared and glared at workers passing by his house. He was later arrested and Seattle PD pressed charges.
Shortly before his 28th birthday, Alexis joined the US Navy Reserves. How he was able to do this with a violent felony on his record I don’t know. He was not active duty – he served in Ft. Worth and worked at a Thai restaurant while he was there. In September 2010, Ft. Worth police responded to a 911 call of shots fired from Alexis’ apartment. He was 28 by this time. When police first arrived, he didn’t answer the door. As they prepared to make a forcible entry, he finally did answer – he claimed that he hadn’t answered because he “thought it was his neighbor.” He reported having a “contentious” relationship with the woman. He then claimed that the gun had discharged accidentally; he said he’d been cooking, his hands were slippery, and as he cleaned the handgun it discharged by accident. The neighbor, however, says she was terrified of him because he frequently got angry over the noise he said she made.
It hasn’t been confirmed yet, but it is believed that he was not accepted for re-enlistment because of the second shooting incident. At least one senior defense official has commented that he had a history of misconduct.
Here’s my problem with this picture. In the 2004 incident, he gave police some song and dance about having been involved in rescue efforts at Ground Zero after 9/11 and said that he was “disturbed” by what he experienced. I’ve been disturbed by a lot of things I’ve seen – I’ve never used that as an excuse to fly into a rage and shoot at a person’s car. In light of that, I cannot believe his cockamamie excuse that his weapon “accidentally discharged” while he cleaned it. I grew up with guns. The way I’ve been trained, the first thing you do when you clean your steel is unload it. You don’t do it while you’re cooking and your hands are slippery – you pay careful attention, make sure your hands are clean (I actually wear gloves now), and use extreme caution. Add to that his own admission that he didn’t get along with his upstairs neighbor (whose floor the bullet traveled through) AND the previous incident, and I am convinced that he did it on purpose.
I don’t care if he played violent video games. I play Assassin’s Creed all the time, it doesn’t make me want to go out and shoot people. I don’t buy that he was so deeply disturbed by what he saw on 9/11 that he was that prone to “blank rage”. Especially considering what happened today, I think it’s likely that he was prone to outbursts of anger long before the 2004 shooting. That incident alone should have made him ineligible to possess a firearm. Legally, anyone who commits a violent act with a firearm is supposed to be considered a prohibited person.
What raises questions here is not whether we should all have to give up our guns. It’s not even whether we should have to go through more stringent requirements to get guns. It’s why he had guns after what he did in Seattle when he was 25. I can’t find whether he was convicted, but considering what happened I’m sure he worked out a deal. After the 2010 shooting, he was not charged, which tells me that whatever deal he worked out in Seattle included not being convicted of a felony and not being stripped of his civil liberties. THAT is what we should be questioning. The very instant someone deliberately walks out, pulls a gun, and shoots at anything in a populated area, whether they argue that they flew into some kind of rage should be irrelevant.
I’d be willing to bet we’re not going to find that Alexis was some kind of right-wing nut. I know the liberals are hoping he will be. Today was a tragedy that we should mourn, but it makes me nauseous that the political claws have already been bared.
I wish more than anything that we lived in a more peaceful world. I have said many times before that I wish we didn’t have to carry guns. I long for the day when we can “fashion our swords into ploughshares, and our spears into pruning hooks.” I love being a caretaker and wish I didn’t have to protect anyone, but the world we live in is full of fallible human beings who are capable of not caring about doing the right thing. If we lived in a perfect world we would not need armed police or military and we would not need prisons. The sooner everyone grasps that concept, the safer we’ll be.
According to another news source, Alexis arrived with only a shotgun. He collected the AR-15 and the handgun after storming the NAVSEA shipyard.