The Navy Yard Shooting

By Olivia Hixson

The United States has witnessed a lot of violence this year. Mass shootings alone have resulted in sixty-eight deaths. In January there were two: four were killed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and five were killed in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Four were shot in March in Herkimer Country, New York. April brought three: Federal Way, Washington and Akron, Ohio had four deaths each and in Manchester, Illinois, five were murdered. In Fernley, Nevada, there were five deaths, and in Waynesville, Indiana, four were killed. Both of these were in May. There was only one shooting in June that took place in Santa Monica, California where four people were shot. July also had mass shootings: six were shot in Hialeah, Florida, and four were killed in Clarksburg, West Virginia. August brought thirteen more deaths, which included the four in Dallas, Texas, the four in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and the five in Chicago, Illinois. This month alone has had the most deaths so far. At Crab Orchard in Tennessee, four were shot. In Washington D.C. this last week, twelve were killed. This is the most deaths that have occurred in one month this year. In fact, it’s more than March and May combined.

Aaron Alexis was the man who is responsible for this crime. He was a thirty-four year old African American. He enlisted in the navy on May 5, 2007 in which he was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism medal. His father said that he was active in the 9/11 rescue missions as well. After being dispatched from the navy, he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He started hearing voices and claimed that people were following him.

The Navy Yard shooting wasn’t the first shooting Alexis had been involved in. In 2004, he was arrested in Seattle, Washington for shooting out car tires. He was released from custody under the conditions that he couldn’t have guns and that he couldn’t contact the person whose car tires he shot. More recently, in Fort Worth, Texas, Alexis was allegedly cleaning his gun when it went off in his apartment, almost killing his neighbor. Again, he wasn’t arrested. Some believe that these incidents should have been dealt with better because it might have prevented the Navy Yard shooting.

On September 16, 2013, Alexis allegedly walked into work carrying a bag containing a disassembled Remington 870 shotgun. He entered the bathroom of Building 197 and exited carrying the gun. He started shooting randomly from the atrium. From up there, he shot a guard and stole his handgun. Thirty minutes later, police killed him and the shooting was over. Twelve died and eight were injured with a total of three who were hospitalized. The injured are mostly healthy, except for officer, Scott Williams, who is having a few complications. There was blood splattered all over the crime scene, which will take a bit to be cleaned up.

There were twelve innocent people murdered at this shooting: Michael Arnold, Kathy Gaarde, John Roger Johnson, Arthur Daniels, Richard Michael Ridgell, Martin Bodrog, Vishnu Bhalchandra Pandit, Kenneth Bernard Proctor, Mary Francis Knight, Gerald Read, Sylvia Frasier, and Frank Kohler.  On Sunday, September 22, 2013, President Obama attended the memorial service for the deceased.

A few things could be learned from this tragedy. First of all, police now know to watch for the warning signs of a possible criminal. Alexis wasn’t even diagnosed with PTSD, though it was clear that he had it. He also suffered from mood-swings and extreme paranoia. Secondly, the government can realize that all assaults should be taken seriously whether accidental, reckless, or on purpose. If police had taken care of the previous Seattle and Fort Worth shootings, the Navy Yard shooting might have been prevented.

The Navy Yard shooting is another tragedy that has to be added to the growing list of events that America has had to witness. Perhaps this shooting will be the last one. Hopefully people will learn from this incident and make the changethat is needed to stop things like this from happening.