Another tragedy, another scapegoat
Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 19, 2013 02:09
With flags half-staff and heavy hearts for the victims of the most recent mass killing we look at the recent D.C Navy Yard shootings.
The gunman, Aaron Alexis, after driving through the police checkpoint and positioning himself above the atrium, opened fire on employees, killing 12 people on the morning of Sept. 16.
Officials immediately pointed to the tragedy as proof of needing to fix our nation’s system of granting security clearances.
President Obama ordered a government wide review of the policies concerning security clearances for government contractors and federal employees.
Senator Susan Collins, while discussing Aaron Alexis and the Edward Snowden’s NSA leak, noted, “These two incidents combined suggest to me a very flawed system for granting security clearances.”
Although a stringent security clearance program should be implemented, having one in place would not have necessarily saved lives on Monday.
Fixing the security clearance system does not solve the problem of the mass killings; it simply changes the venue where the mass shootings can take place.
Without access to the Navy Yard, Alexis could have attacked a school, a mall or maybe a movie theatre. These locations should sound familiar because they were also places where mental illnesses lead others to carry out horrific crimes.
There is no doubt by officials that Alexis had been struggling with mental health problems, it just remains easier to blame something else. Due to the the systemic nature of the stigma’s surrounding mental health and it’s treatment, especially coming out of the military real change would require large steps.
Just one month ago, Alexis reported to police about being followed and harassed with a microwave at his hotel. According to the police report, Alexis was hearing voices from the walls, floor and ceiling. Alexis had also recently gone to the VA hospital twice seeking treatment for insomnia and has a past of improperly discharging weapons within city limits.
Before we can ask how did he get a security clearance, or how did he get a gun, we need to ask how come he did not receive help he needed for his health problems?
Security clearances, guns and locations are just variables in the mental health experiment. Until mental health takes a higher priority in our country the names, the weapons, the places and the victims will change, but the result will be the same.
President Obama lamented, “I do get concerned that this becomes a ritual that we go through every three, four months, where we have these horrific mass shootings.” Without solving the problem of mental health we continue to play a real-life, sadistic variation of the game Clue, where fiction becomes reality, and no one wins.
“Our View” is written by the editorial staff. The opinions are not necessarily reflective of the student body, faculty or administration of ASU.