The story is a long way from coming into focus. The little we do know about Monday’s tragic mass shooting at a Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. is stirring a national debate.
First, here’s the back-story. It was September 16th, around 8:20 A.M. when 34 year-old Aaron Alexis opened fire inside a Navy facility. According to the FBI, he was a contract employee who had legitimate access to the Navy Yard and used a valid pass.
Alexis reportedly killed 12 people ranging in age from 46 to 73. Alexis was killed by police in a gun battle. He reportedly entered the facility with a shotgun purchased legally at a local gun shop.
This shooting is the worst at a U.S. military installation since the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas in which Major Nadal Hasan opened fire, killing 13 people and wounding 39 others. The shooting in the Ft. Hood case was religiously motivated.
Religion, however, does not seem to be a motivating factor in the Navy Yard shooting. As we are learning more about Alexis, reports indicate that he was a Buddhist and according to Bloomberg News, had been discharged from the Navy Reserves.
“Alexis was discharged from the Navy Reserves because of a ‘pattern of misconduct’ during his service years that included the 2010 Texas arrest, even though the charges were later dropped, according to a Navy official who asked not to be identified discussing personnel matters.”
Almost predictably, the national debate has turned to gun control once again. But are the media and the public missing something crucial here? Story after story being written about Aaron Alexis indicate there were mental issues.
According to the Associated Press: “(Alexis) had been suffering a host of serious mental issues, including paranoia and a sleep disorder. He also had been hearing voices in his head, the officials said.”
In addition, CBS in Washington D.C. is reporting that since August, Alexis had been treated by the Veterans Administration for his mental problems.
The question therefore must be asked… HOW was Aaron Alexis being treated for those problems? In January, when radio host Alex Jones had his blowup with CNN’s Piers Morgan after the Sandy Hook school shooting, Jones shouted about something called “mass murder suicide pills.” The next day, that term was one of the top trending terms on Google.
The reality is that the national media has their preconceived outcome of these kinds of tragic events.
On the left, politicians and media immediately turn to the narrative that stricter gun controls are the answer; that the tragedy is only possible because of the availability of so called “assault weapons”. Immediately after initial reports indicated that perhaps an AR-15 rifle was used, Sen. Dianne Feinstein released a statement saying “When will enough be enough?”
According to CNN, “The sources, who have detailed knowledge of the investigation, cautioned that initial information that an AR-15 was used in the shootings may have been incorrect. It is believed that Alexis had rented an AR-15, but returned it before Monday morning’s shootings. Authorities are still investigating precisely how many weapons Alexis had access to and when.”
On the left their narrative didn’t fit.
On the right, the usual narrative is that these shootings are the work of radical religious beliefs. The early thought from the right was that Aaron Alexis, like Major Nadal Hasan, must be a radicalized Muslim. An early warning on Drudge Report linked back to a September 13 article that Al Qaeda had “warned of small scale attacks on the U.S.”
That narrative also fell apart when we learned that Aaron Alexis was a Buddhist and not a Muslim.
But what about that “mass murder suicide pills”? The one area media avoids and politicians won’t touch is whether or not there is a correlation between “mental health treatment” in the form of medication and the psychosis that leads to these kinds of shootings. Reports indicate that Alexis had claimed at times that he suffered from PTSD. Was he being treated for that? What kind of treatment did he receive from the V.A.? Was he being medicated? If so, what kind of drug was he taking? These are questions that have not only not been answered, they aren’t even being asked.
There is a growing body of evidence that many of the drugs Americans are regularly taking have powerful mental effects. Clearly, we don’t know if that was the case here and it would be irresponsible to claim mental health treatment through drugs was the cause of this shooting. It would be equally irresponsible not question that possibility.