VA not to blame in Navy Yard shooting
I've avoided talking about the Navy Yard shooting simply because the media hasn't exactly cloaked itself in glory on this one. In fact, I can't think of a single fact that at one point or another wasn't debunked or somehow explained away. So far we've had between 1 and 3 shooters, and the weapons he/they have used has been all over the place. Piers Morgan lamented the killing weapon that is the AR15, when the only AR15 used was to kill the actual shooter. Mike Lupica of the NY Daily News, who is supposed to be a sports guy, ran the single stupidest piece in the history of journalism:
They call semiautomatics like this sport rifles. You bet. Mostly for the sport of killing innocent people, and killing them fast.
Meanwhile, CNN was lamenting that the shooter had access to a "AR15 Shotgun." (The AR15 is a rifle, not a shotgun.) Not content to be outdone on stupidity, MSNBC made a computer reenactment of the shooting, only helpfully added an M203 40mm grenade launcher to the shooters AR15 (which again, he didn't have.)
So with that said, there are two stories out today that may be true, may be fake, could be just about anything. Either way, the one about the VA is slightly instructive, at least in so far as keeping folks from blaming the VA before we have any information.
The man who gunned down 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday visited two hospitals in the weeks before the rampage but denied that he was depressed or having thoughts of harming himself or others, the Department of Veterans Affairs said Wednesday.
Aaron Alexis, a former Navy reservist who died in a police shootout after the rampage, complained of insomnia during an Aug. 23 emergency room visit to the VA Medical Center in Providence, R.I. He was given sleep medication and advised to follow up with a doctor. He made a similar visit five days later to the VA hospital in Washington, when he again complained of not being able to sleep because of his work schedule. His medication was refilled.
Alexis appeared "alert and oriented" during the visits and denied feeling depressed or anxious or wanting to do harm, the VA said.
The VA's statement, presented to lawmakers Wednesday, comes as investigators continue focusing on the erratic behavior of a 34-year-old man who law enforcement officials say was grappling with paranoia and reported hearing voices and being followed.
I'm very eager to hear how this investigation turns out. According to numerous sources, this guy had been doing all kinds of crazy things with firearms for years, including shooting out car tires and letting loose with rounds inside his apartment. And yet somehow he was allowed to enlist, and then subsequently given an honorable discharge. Then after that he got a Secret clearance, and had access to the Navy Yard. All despite the fact that he clearly had some pretty severe issues. What went on here? Is everyone so afraid to speak up (like in the Hasan case) that no one says anything?
That leads me to the second story today, which should have green lighted this guy getting a stay in a padded room until doctors could figure out what is wrong with him:
According to Rosalind Baugh, Wallis Boyd and Glynda Boyd, the incident [at an airport] began when Baugh laughed at an innocent joke among loved ones and the man they now believe be Aaron Alexis angrily approached the group. Things quickly escalated, with Alexis screaming profanities and motioning at his side as though he were carrying a weapon. Unable to calm the stranger down, family members called security, who spoke with Alexis in front of a terminal of terrified travelers.
“Everyone in the airport was scared, we were all scared,” Glynda Boyd told FoxNews.com.
Three days later, Alexis told police in Newport, R.I., that he believed people he had gotten into an argument with at an airport were following him and laughing at him from another room. Newport police provided the report, along with their concerns about Alexis’ mental instability, to local Navy officials. The Navy has not commented on what steps were or were not taken.
I'll be eager to hear what steps the Navy actually did take.
Meanwhile, the Navy is striking back at allegations that this was all spurred by sequestration. First, the Mayor of DC:
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said he wondered if budget cuts had something to do with a gunman getting onto the Washington Navy Yard on Monday, killing 12 before being killed himself.
“As I look at, for example, sequestration, which is about saving money in the federal government being spent, have we somehow skimped on what would be available for projects like this and then we put people at risk,” Mr. Gray said on CNN’s “New Day” on Tuesday morning.
The Navy’s top officer said Wednesday that cost-cutting did not weaken the service’s security screening system for defense contractors, despite a contractor’s shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday that left 12 victims dead.
“The cost-control measures … have nothing to do with budget shortfalls or sequestration itself,” Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, told a House Armed Services Committee hearing. “We don’t cut budgetary corners for security.”
So basically to recap....at first we didn't know how many people were involved, then we didn't know what guns were involved, now we still don't know why he did it, and chances are likely when a motive comes out, it will subsequently prove not true if the track record of the news people doesn't improve.
It's hard not to be sceptical of the media.