Staff Editorial: 'Yet another mass shooting'
Thirteen people were shot dead, and eight more were injured after a shooting rampage took place Monday on what should be one of our nation’s most fortified installations, the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command. According to the Navy, the base is the largest of the Navy’s five-system commands, and the shooting occurred inside command headquarters, Building 197.
The shooter, Aaron Alexis, a military veteran and contractor, had a valid base entry pass, which he used to enter Navy Yard, located a little over a mile from the White House and Capitol, and opened fire with high-calibre weaponry.
This rampage marks the second mass shooting this year in which President Barack Obama was within close proximity. He was in Santa Monica at the time of the shooting that culminated on the Santa Monica College main campus on June 7.
Obama, who made no mention of the Santa Monica shooting, had plenty to say about Monday’s rampage, calling the violence, “a cowardly act,” expressing his condolences, and ordering flags at half-staff.
“We’re confronting yet another mass shooting, and today it happened on a military installation in our nation’s capital,” Obama said in his address Monday. “It’s a shooting that targeted our military and civilian personnel.”
The military’s job is to protect civilians, so if the largest military in the world cannot even protect its own headquarters from a mass shooting, then who can?
“These are men and women who were going to work, doing they’re job, and protecting all of us,” Obama said. “They’re patriots. And they know the dangers of serving abroad, but today they face the unimaginable violence that they wouldn’t have expected here at home.”
Apparently no one is safe in America anymore; not the police, not the Navy, and not even the government.
As a society, we have become grievously desensitized to these incidents when the president won’t waste his breath on the loss of six lives back in June and deems 13 lives taken as, “yet another mass shooting.”
Mass shootings last year in Newton, Conn. and Aurora, Colo. sparked national outrage, flooding social media with horrified responses and lingering in infamy.
Recent shootings this year sadly seem like just another news story.
The frequency with which these events are occurring suggests that the United States has lost the ability to prevent mass shootings. These days, it is not a matter of if a shooting rampage will happen in America, but a matter of when and where.
Similar to the SMC shooting, initial reports suggested the possibility of multiple shooters involved in the Navy Yard incident. Later reports indicated Alexis acted alone, leaving authorities baffled in their investigation to find a motive.
This level of confusion is wholly unacceptable. If we as a society cannot stop shooting rampages, then we need more accurate and precise protocols when they do occur.
Every second of confusion in a crisis situation is a possible life lost.
It does not matter whether the lives lost are civilians, students, or military personnel, they are all a tragedy, and each innocent life taken should be acknowledged as such.
“Obviously we’re going to be investigating thoroughly what happened, as we do so many of these shootings, sadly, that have happened, and do everything we can to try to prevent them,” Obama said.
As demonstrated by Monday’s rampage, not even the government can protect its people from a shooting rampage.
Unfortunately, until changes are made in this country, Americans will just have to bite the bullet.