The big question today is still “why” following Monday’s deadly Navy Yard shooting incident in Washington, DC, that has left 12 employees of that military base dead and three others wounded.
The alleged attacker, 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, was later gunned down by police after he reportedly opened fire at the Naval Sea Systems Command building not far from the US Capitol and the White House.
Authorities say this was the sixth mass shooting in the country since December which has served to revive ghosts for families of the 26 victims, including 20 children, who met their deaths in a horrific massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut at the hands of another unsuspecting gunman.
Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier described the attack as “one of the worst things we’ve seen” as gunshots shattered the morning quiet at the historic military facility.
The latest killings have left ordinary Americans and indeed the President understandably jittery over “yet another” mass shooting.
“These are men and women going to work and doing their job,” said Barack Obama. “They know the dangers of serving abroad, but today they face the unimaginable violence that they wouldn’t have expected here at home.”
Many are now asking what can be done to prevent it from happening again.
In Washington, advocates have wasted no time in reigniting their lobby for stricter gun control legislation.
But equally powerful has been the push to protect the rights of Americans to bear arms. Therefore, it is anyone’s guess where the might will come down once the smoke clears over Washington.
This latest incident has also opened up the sensitive conversation about people with mental health problems and how to care for them.
On the surface, the alleged shooter Alexis appeared quite harmless.
He was a Black New Yorker, who last lived in Fort Worth, Texas and was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics via online classes at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
His friends described him as a nice guy who had recently converted to Buddhism and was devout, wanting to become an ordained monk.
But it has since emerged that the former navy officer had recorded several brushes with the law and was in fact discharged from the military back in 2011.
This has left authorities baffled as to why he was given official clearance to enter the military premises on the day of the shooting tragedy to work as a subcontractor to refresh equipment used on the navy-Marine Corps Intranet network.
Further details have emerged which suggest the killer had arrived in the Washington, DC area on or about August 25th, and had stayed at local hotels in the area since that time.
He also reportedly purchased a Remington 870 shotgun and about two boxes of shells on Sunday – one of the weapons used in Monday’s incident.
We may never know the true motive behind the shootings.
But Alexis’ case certainly begs some degree of sympathy for an individual obviously troubled by anger issues and one who eventually lost the fight against his internal demons, which ultimately took control.
Still we reserve most of our sympathy for his defenceless victims numbering a dozen and ranging in age from 46-73.