What US newspapers are saying about the Navy Yard shootings

September 18, 2013 

Excerpts from editorials around the country about the Navy Yard shooting.

The Philadelphia Inquirer: The Navy Yard shootings have renewed questions about the security of military installations. Apparently, not enough has changed since an Army major influenced by radical Islamists opened fire four years ago and killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas.

The accused Navy Yard gunman apparently had no problem entering that post with a shotgun. Given his background, it’s hard to believe Aaron Alexis was given clearance to work as a contracted civilian employee updating computer systems.

Cited at least eight times in his four-year Navy career for misconduct, he had a record of violence, including two shooting incidents, and was described by his father as having problems managing anger.

The Dallas Morning News:

How in the world? How does someone with documented gunfire incidents in Seattle and Fort Worth still manage a concealed handgun permit and security clearance to enter a Navy base?

The signs were there. Why didn’t we see them?

What might we have done if we had?

What’s remarkable – or remarkably frustrating – about modern-day mass shootings in America isn’t the differences but the commonalities. Mental health problems. Access to guns, whether legally or not. Attraction to violent video games. Delusions of grandeur. Inability to move past disappointment or personal slight.

We must keep searching for answers. When we stop, when we throw up our hands and lock our doors in fear and frustration, we lose ourselves and we lose our society.

The Kansas City Star:

The Navy Yard shootings have prompted a call for reconsideration of a bipartisan measure to expand background checks. Earlier this year, the U.S. Senate refused to even debate such modest legislation.

The massacre of 20 schoolchildren and six school staffers should have been a tipping point. Now Congress is confronted with a workplace slaughter in its back yard. Expanded background checks would not infringe on anyone’s freedom, and they would save lives. Americans can only hope against hope that the terrible events in Washington this week will bring some sanity to the gun debate.

The Washington Post: Above all, Monday’s shooting should give urgency to efforts to enact more rational gun laws. No, we don’t yet know what might have slowed or stopped Aaron Alexis. And, no, no law or reform could prevent every mass killing. But sensible protections would make it more difficult for the wrong people to get guns and for the wrong guns – which serve no law-abiding or sporting purpose – to be so readily available.

In the aftermath of the last mass shooting that unsettled America – the slaughter of 20 Connecticut schoolchildren – the solution offered by the National Rifle Association was to place armed guards in every school. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” said Wayne LaPierre, the group’s chief executive.

There were plenty of good guys at the Navy Yard Monday morning, many of them with guns. They, and all the rest of us who live at risk because of Second Amendment zealotry, deserve political leaders with the guts to trade in the NRA’s nonsense for some common sense.

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