Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 6:27 AM

Shooting Rampage at DC Navy Yard

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 7.26.19 PMIt never takes long for national tragedies in America to devolve into rubbernecking TV spectacles.

The shooting rampage at the Navy Yard in Washington, DC this morning is a case in point — complete with wall-to-wall coverage, 99 percent of which is peddling misinformation and stoking fear, and hourly law-enforcement/political press conferences, 98 percent of which is informing the public that, “we have nothing further to add.” Not to mention the looping of eyewitness accounts, which do little more than create fodder for idle media speculation … and police wild-goose chases.

Meanwhile, the only relevant facts are that a gunman made it into a building at the Navy Yard, where he shot 12 people – who were like sitting ducks – before the police killed him in a shootout.  Early reports were that he had two accomplices, which, true to form, were later corrected with more speculation about one accomplice who remains at large.

But chances are very good that the shooter will turn out to have been a “lone wolf” – with mental problems or an incomprehensible grudge against the Navy.

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 7.23.22 PMTherefore, besides extending sincere condolences to all those directly affected, I shall suffice to reprieve excerpts from two commentaries on previous rampages, which effectively sum up all that I think should be said about them:

I fully support strict gun-control laws. Nevertheless, I am convinced that no laws can prevent these kinds of human tragedies. In fact, incidents like this bring into stark relief the fact that it’s not guns, but insane and troubled people — with motives no one can possibly anticipate or comprehend — who commit mass murders…

Therefore, let us look to psychologists to help us understand what triggers such psychotic human behavior; not to politicians to legislate against it or pundits to cast blame.

(“Massacre at Virginia Tech,” The iPINIONS Journal, April 17, 2007)


I don’t know why the media always reward these psychotic people by giving them the fame they covet; that is, by plastering their pathetic mugs all over television and on the front page of every major newspaper … worldwide, and reporting pop psychology about why and how they did their dastardly deeds? Isn’t it clear to see, especially in this age of instant celebrity, why some loser kid would find this route to infamy irresistible?… And it’s not as if delving into their past or trying to discern their motives will help law enforcement deter or prevent the next attack.

You’d think that – given the record of these psychotic and vainglorious episodes since Columbine – we would have figured out by now that the best way to discourage them is by focusing our attention on the victims and limiting what we say about the shooter to: May God have mercy on your soul as you burn in hell!

(“Massacre in Omaha,” The iPINIONS Journal, December 7, 2007)

390-navy-0917Except that I shall add two points:

  1. Whether law enforcement calls this tragedy a terrorist attack or a shooting rampage is as much a distinction without a difference as whether Assad massacres his people with conventional weapons or with chemical weapons.
  2. I’m on record expressing wonder that these shooting rampages do not happen more often; and that crazed gunmen or terrorists have yet to target sports stadiums, which loom like large duck ponds compared to military installations. And, given the ease with which this gunman got through all of the security at this navy yard, chances are very good that once one (or more) of them sets his sights on a sports stadium, the fatalities are going to be closer to 9/11 numbers than today’s relatively modest body count.

It must be understood that no matter their collective resolve, there’s absolutely nothing law-enforcement officials can do to prevent such attacks.

(“From New York to London, Terrorists are Terrorizing Us to Death,” The iPINIONS Journal, July 2, 2007)

NOTE: It clearly offended all notions of diplomatic niceties for some Russian Sarah Palin to mock President Obama by tweeting that these shooting rampages make America “exceptional.” But, where shooting rampages are concerned, it’s true.

Related commentaries:

* This commentary was originally published yesterday, Monday, at 5:43 pm

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