The tragedy at the Washington Navy Yard on Sept. 16 has been followed by confusion, horror, and sorrow. And, as with many similar travesties of late, the question “Why?” lingers.
Aaron Alexis’ exact motives may never be known. But what enabled him to commit such an act is clear. Alexis legally owned the weapon he used to kill 12 people and injure eight. This is despite the violent incidents that decorate his past, two accusations of firing guns out of anger, and the fact that he was in the early stages of treatment for serious mental health problems.
The shooter passed a federal background check and bought a gun the Saturday before Sept. 16.
President Obama has come under criticism of his handling of the Washington Navy Yard shooting, first for a lack of emotion, and second for using it as a platform for gun control.
Bipartisanship is an important aspect of American government, one that fails all too often, and blame doesn’t help. But it is hard not to be outraged at the GOP when they successfully pulled off a fillibuster in April of 2013, following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, which killed 20 elementary school-aged children, that halted the progress of a new gun control bill.
Experts and Democrats alike are speculating that 12 murdered adults will make little impact on lawmakers, especially considering the tragedy in Newtown had no affect on a House of Representatives that is Republican-led. And, of course, it is possible that Alexis would have found a weapon illegally. But the fact remains that he didn’t have to.
What is most stunning is that there are Twitter users who have gone so far as to accuse Obama of setting up these incidents to accelerate his agenda of gun-control. At what point do you give up your guns? How far will you go to keep them?
And finally, what will it take to legalize more stringent background checks for purchasing guns?