Well, here we are again.
Less than two months shy of the fourth anniversary of the Fort Hood shooting — the worst mass shooting on a military post — another senseless massacre has happened. And it will likely go down as the No. 2 worst mass shooting on a military post.
Reports coming out on Tuesday said Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old former Navy reservist and information technology employee, killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard. Reportedly, he had been hearing voices and was being treated for mental illness in the weeks before the shooting rampage. He was killed in Monday’s gunbattle with police.
And now, like Nov. 5, 2009, family and loved ones will go through the heartache, grief and loss. Friends and communities will go through it, too.
Tragic shootings are unfortunately becoming commonplace in this country. We had the sickening Colorado movie theater rampage and the horrifying Sandy Hook Elementary shooting last year. One would think such bloodshed would act as an outcry to permanently stop this type of violence on unsuspecting men, women and children.
But here we are.
In Tuesday’s Killeen Daily Herald, we did a reaction piece on Monday’s shooting, interviewing local officials and others. The reactions we got were profound.
Survivors of the Fort Hood shooting were shocked that this type of thing could happen again on a military post. Some of them began shaking in their shoes when the initial reports came out — eerily similar to the day Nidal Hasan, a former Army major, began shooting fellow soldiers in cold blood.
I don’t think guns are the problem — although guns are a big part of the issue. The real problem is guns getting into the hands of the wrong people, and no law can totally prevent that. And even though these shootings are in no way socially acceptable, they are a social issue.
In pretty much every case — from University of Texas tower shooter and former Marine Charles Whitman to the Navy Yard shooter — these shootings have been carried out by disturbed, deranged individuals. Hasan, for example, used a twisted excuse that he “switched sides” and killed unarmed fellow soldiers in a medical waiting area.
I don’t know what the answers are, but these mass shootings are a nationwide problem, and evidently, a military problem, too.