September 17th, 2013

The Navy Yard killings and the gun control advocates

They don’t wait for facts to be known, because facts might ruin the narrative. So the news post-Navy Yard massacre has been filled with cries to ban semiautomatic rifles such as the AR-15, initially reported as having been the weapon in the killings. This was before we knew for sure whether such a weapon had been used, and even more importantly, how the perpetrator had obtained it (legally or illegally?).

I can’t say we know for sure even yet what’s what; the fog of mass killings seems even worse lately than the fog of war (case in point: Newtown). But the latest announcement is bad news for the anti-gun crowd: Aaron Alexis is now reported to have used a far more ordinary weapon than an AR-15, a shotgun, and to have obtained it legally.

So unless the next push is to ban shotguns (watch for it), those who would ban weapons such as the AR-15 are out of luck this time. In fact, the use of a shotgun underscores the fact that mass murder can occur with a variety of more conventional weapons; where there’s a will, there’s a way.

The anti-semiautomatic crowd has some recourse even if the shotgun information turns out to be correct. They can ignore it and act as though an AR-15 was actually used. Or they can argue that, if so much damage can be done with a mere shotgun, think how much more could have been done with an AR-15. But what they (and we) should be doing is looking more closely at how Alexis slipped through the cracks despite his mental health problems combined with a history of violence.

We still are not certain what those cracks that he slipped through may have been, either. Did he in fact receive a security clearance, as has also been reported, despite his history? That is extremely troubling, and an echo of previous slip-ups in that arena. What kind of mental health treatment had he gotten? How did security at the Navy Yard allow him to enter with any weapon, much less a shotgun or rifle (did he kill the guard, relatively easily overwhelmed? was there only one guard? how can security be tightened?) And of course, what about the rule that on base only MPs can carry weapons, effectively disarming all others?

Another crack Alexis may have fallen through is the legal system itself. Why, with his history of violent gun assaults, was he never convicted or jailed? In one of the incidents he seems to have really slipped through the cracks (the charges mysteriously disappeared with no record of why); in the other authorities decided not to press charges:

The district attorney’s did not press charges after the incident even though the woman [victim] told police she was “terrified” of Alexis and believed he had fired the gun “intentionally” after calling police several times to complain his neighbour was “being loud”.

“She said that several days ago Aaron confronted her in the parking lot about making too much noise,” the report states.

The authorities said they had accepted Alexis’s explanation that the weapon had discharged accidentally as was “trying to clean his gun while cooking and that his hands were slippery”.

“After reviewing the facts presented by the police department, it was determined that the elements constituting recklessness under Texas law were not present and a case was not filed,” a statement from the District Attorney’s office said.

She said, he said—and he was believed. Perhaps there’s nothing more that realistically could have been done about that, since it was a minor case with no injuries, and police resources are limited. In retrospect, however, it was a warning of much worse things to come.

There is something powerfully revolting and enraging about the image of innocent people being gunned down by a murderer. It is especially ironic to contemplate that in this case it occurred at a Navy base, and yet the weapons that felled the perpetrator seem to have been late in arriving (although we know very little about that, too: was Alexis killed by police, military police, someone else, or by himself?). Focusing on the weapons he carried (or in the case of the AR-15, the weapon he most likely did not carry) is a simple and self-serving approach to a problem that is far more complex and multifaceted. But it comes is no surprise whatsoever.

[ADDENDUM: More here.

See also this,as well as this.]

24 Responses to “The Navy Yard killings and the gun control advocates”

  1. Don Says:

    AR-15, not AC-15.

  2. Don Says:

    He likely just drove on base with the gun in the car. They usually don’t search the vehicle. To many vehicles come and go for that.

    The bottom line is that the rules restricting guns on base only really impact those who are inclined to follow the law.

  3. Don Says:

    It is also possible the shotgun was semiautomatic. Although I’ve seen one report that it was a Remington 870, which is pump action.

  4. gcotharn Says:

    Obvious mental illness which ought already have been caught and addressed:
    Virginia Tech
    Tuscon
    probably the Navy Yard

    Obvious Islamic extremism which ought have been recognized and addressed:
    Fort Hood

    We have reached a cultural point in which we ignore truth which is clearly displayed in front of our eyes.

  5. gcotharn Says:

    Tucson. We also ignore spelling.

  6. Eric Says:

    Is it common practice to clean loaded firearms?

  7. kaba Says:

    Does anyone really believe the gun grabbers would be satisfied if they did get AR-15′s and all other semi-automatic rifles banned?

    Of course not, we’ve already seen that a pop-up pastry chewed so that it faintly resembles a pistol is enough to enrage them. So it really doesn’t matter what the weapon used by the idiot du jour is. The gun grabbers want to take your weapons, ALL of THEM!

  8. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

    Looking back in time you see that there was pretty low crime for most of the US history. Certainly from the 1930′s to 1960′s crime (and mass shootings) were low. I often ask people if the know of the St Valentines Day Massacre. Most do. I ask them how many people were killed (7) and they don’t know. I asked them what type of gun was used. From the movies they can sometimes guess a Thompson Sub machine gun. THey do not know that the Tommyguns were fitted with 20 and 50 round magazines. Both the guns and magazines were legal without permits.

    So here were seven gangsters killed in 1929 that most people more than 90 years later still know about. How many people today remember the Richard Speck killings? The 1920′s and 30′s were known as lawless times, yet this was spectacular national news. Shows you how rare mass shootings were (homicide rate was high but lower than in the 1970-1990s. Something else is going on than availability of guns.

  9. Oldflyer Says:

    I also saw that it was a Remington 870.

    My possibly senile Senator, Feinstein, wasted no time jumping on this with special emphasis on the AR-15. The faulty AR-15 report as it turns out.

    This is a problem area. There is simply no way to tighten security at the gates of military installations much more than it already is, because of the volume of traffic at the beginning of the work day.

    Some people are questioning why service members don’t go around the base armed. That is not the answer either. I sat on a Court Martial back in the late 70s when a Marine who had been issued a weapon for sentry duty, went back to his quarters and killed his roommate over a lingering dispute.

    It does seem reasonable to have an armed quick response team of even a few members available on each base; at least during the work day. They could at least limit the carnage, and a potential killer would know for certain that he (or she now that we are instilling the warrior culture in women) would die. Most bases now depend on a rent-a-cop force (to use a common pejorative term) for security.

  10. neo-neocon Says:

    Don:

    I started with AR and somehow morphed it into AC. Thanks, will fix.

  11. roc scssrs Says:

    Isn’t the shotgun Joe Biden’s weapon of choice?

  12. Mike Biggs Says:

    Does anyone else remember during Gulf I when a correspondent referred to a battleship’s gigantic 16 mm guns?

    Last I saw any details, journalism school was one of the easiest to get into and out of, requiring little math or science.

  13. Mr. Frank Says:

    People who hear voices used to be locked up. Now they walk among us.

    First Snowden and now this guy show our security clearances are mighty sloppy.

    People with serious mental health problems are not being reported to the gun background check list.

  14. carl in atlanta Says:

    They want to ban all private ownership of every type of gun (including shotguns) and will never cease these preloaded feeding-frenzies until their mission is accomplished. They’re ALWAYS waiting in the wings and every shooting is a potential poster-child for the cause. …

  15. rickl Says:

    Don Says:
    September 17th, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    AR-15, not AC-15.

    I heard he had an AC-47.

  16. T Says:

    Neo-neocon,

    What absolutely everyone seems to gloss over is a point I’d like to address in the aftermath of the Newton and Navy Yard shootings.

    Such “spree” shootings are like the crash of a commercial airliner. They are spectacular (in the literal sense of the word) and so the media rushes to cover them. As result, even though we might see such a shooting once a year (or less), they seem to happen more often than that because of all of the media attention both initially and for days or weeks in the aftermath. Because of this they are not far from anyone’s consciousness.

    On the other hand, incidents in which an armed citizen foils a crime, be it armed robbery, rape or even murder, are rarely reported, even though they occur with much greater frequency than shooting sprees. Yes, sometimes these stories make a local news broadcast, but they are almost never picked up by the national media outlets.

    So a situation where negative gun stereotypes are hyped by frequency, duration and mass reportage actually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy to gun-control advocates. How could you not want to ban guns, it seems like some school group is getting shot just about every week? It is the “seems like” which is the operative phrase; once again, progressives reveal themselves as being indoctrinated into the narrative of false appearances rather than any objective reality.

  17. southpaw Says:

    Roc scssrs- yes it is Joe Bidens choice weapon. I own an 870, but just like the rest of my firearms, I removed the “auto rampage mechanism” so that it cannot drive itself to populated office buildings or schools and discharge itself into large populations.
    FYI- sheriff Joe Biden stated that the best home defense was to “fire a double barrel shotgun into the air outside your door”. That is a felony in any state, but one would not expect a law student who graduated last in his class, much less a long time US Senator and VP of the USA to know this.

  18. T Says:

    southpaw,

    The brilliance of Biden’s advice knows no bounds. Fire a double barreled shotgun into the air twice and one of two things happens: 1) the perp now knows you gun is empty and he’s free to attack you; or 2) you scare the perp away, the police arrive and, with no evidence that there ever was a perp to begin with, they arrest you for discharging a weapon in a municipal area (as happened in Washington state).

    This is the man one heartbeat away from the presidency, and one might credibly argue that he would be an improvement. It is to weep!

  19. expat Says:

    The gun control freaks are actually influenced more by status than by facts. They have to show that they are more civilized than those backwoods road-kill-eating gun-loving bumpkins in flyover country. They have to remain so far away from these types that even learning the difference between an automatic, a semi-automatic, and a shot gun is dangerous to their self image. Trying to come to grips with the problem of severe mental illness is just too much work for their superior minds.

  20. T Says:

    Expat,

    “The gun control freaks are actually influenced more by status than by facts. They have to show that they are more civilized . . . ” than anyone who disagrees with them.

    This is the premise behind every progressive argument on any topic. IMO, never try to argue facts with a progressive whether the topic is gun control, climate change, fracking, or anything. Always attack the underlying self-righteousness and sanctimony. You’ll know you’re winning when they start calling you names.

  21. T Says:

    H/T Ace of Spades HQ

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/10-potential-mass-shootings-that-were-stopped-by-someone-wit

  22. Ymarsakar Says:

    The government literally does not allow gun control for their death squads. Instead they prefer to disarm people so the terrorists have easy targets.

    Just take a look at government weapon controls. here.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeGD7r6s-zU

  23. Ymarsakar Says:

    I sat on a Court Martial back in the late 70s when a Marine who had been issued a weapon for sentry duty, went back to his quarters and killed his roommate over a lingering dispute.

    That’s the problem of the Marine being killed to solve.

    Government policy should prioritize the security of the mission and civilians, over any risk or threat to a single member of the military.

    This mimicks the argument that because guns are used for crimes, that civilians need to be disarmed to make it easier for police to catch criminals.

    If weapons will prevent enemies of the US from attriting US forces, this is more important than whatever crimes individuals use it for.

    Freedom requires sacrifice. It is not something one gets for free at the mall.

  24. Ymarsakar Says:

    If the media didn’t have spectacular events to propagandize about, they would go out and create them out of whole cloth.

    Ever hear of Fast and Furious? Bush’s supposed AWOL?

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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