Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Massacre at the Navy Yard - 5 Thoughts

I have a few thoughts on yesterday's incident at the Washington Navy Yard.

1) Investigation
The first investigative priority for the FBI/partners is to ascertain why and how this attack occurred. Did Aaron Alexis act alone? What were his motivations? What degree of premeditation was involved? Why did Alexis travel from Texas to DC? Specifically, why did he attack the Navy Yard? How was Alexis able to do this and this and nevertheless also attain a security clearance? On this last point, precluding some special skill that necessitated his hiring, this warrant of trust was (even without hindsight) obviously undeserved.

2) 'Control' Arguments
In the context of today's release of Grand Theft Auto 5 and Alexis's apparent interest in violent video games, some commentators will probably call for tougher controls on video games (as I've argued before, this censorship argument is both constitutionally and logically absurd). 

However, regarding the Navy Yard, the gun control argument deserves a deeper rebuttal. 

Anti-gun activists like to claim that firearms should be left to trained officials - police officers etc. But if they're truly honest in that opinion, why won't they allow military personnel to be armed on facility? 

Unfortunately, we're always going to have murderers like Alexis and morons like the firecracker thrower. This sad reality is not unique to America; evil bears no attention to borders. Yet, by explicitly ignoring the fact that highly restrictive gun laws in DC/the Navy Yard did nothing to prevent this attack, gun control activists are implicitly ignoring reality. Those of us who support the 2nd Amendment have logical, deeply felt reasons for doing so. We deserve more than the scornful disdain of casual authoritarians.

3) Motivations for Evil
This was a terrible tragedy. Yet, we have to be honest... it was also limited. Thanks to the skill of DC first responders, a relatively small number of people were killed. 

Still, the public reaction to this outrage has been huge. We've seen an outpouring of grief across America; reflecting this truth, all the major news networks have relocated their senior anchors to the scene of the attack. They know Americans want answers.

This unified national sympathy represents the best of America - our concern for the innocent stranger. But it also hints at something else - an explanation as to why individuals like Alexis and terrorists like the Woolwich killers, or ISIS, do what they do. In short, because they realize that one atrocity can create waves of mass attention, evil individuals are emboldened to malevolent actions. 

In turn, this is why our anguish must always be matched by abiding resolve. We must not buckle in face of terror.

4) Partisanship v Leadership
The President should be ashamed of himself. Yesterday was not time for partisanship. After their Syria debacle, you'd think that the White House communications team would proceed with caution.

5) Global Honor
Finally, just as we rightly pay homage to the men and women who wear America's uniform (and to the emergency services who risk their lives to save others), we must also remember that the cause of honor is a global one.

My other relevant writings can be found under the 'Other' heading of this link.

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