A Killer Among Us Op-Ed

Aaron  Alexis
Aaron Alexis
Let me get this straight. Aaron Alexis age 34 had a concealed weapons permit and attempted to buy an AR-15 rifle at a gun store in Virginia but was told the state law prohibited the sale of that type of rifle. So instead, Alexis was allowed to purchase, on the spot, the pump action Remington style rifle called “the enforcer” and the ammunition he would later use to slaughter 12 human lives, while wounding 8? Did I get that right? Really?

In an unrelated incident, while suffering from an “anger fueled black out”, Alexis withdrew his firearm and “shot out” a construction worker’s car tires because he felt the man was watching him. Needless to say, Alexis was arrested for this incident in Seattle. Mr. Alexis was also cited for disorderly conduct in Georgia when he was kicked out of a club for damaging furnishings and cursing. Obviously on a roll, Alexis was also arrested in Texas for discharging a firearm. Surprisingly, the case was thrown out due to further investigation which suggested Alexis’ gun accidentally discharged when he was cleaning it. Yeah, right!
In spite of the highly distinguished pattern he was developing, Alexis negotiated an honorable discharge although he received eight to ten misconduct charges which included but was not limited to traffic offenses and disorderly conduct. Hold up! There’s more! Some of Alexis’s acquaintances who insist he suffered from PTSD and even was prescribed medication by the VA. His father claimed Alexis lived in Boston and was a volunteer for 9/11victims in 2001. Mr. Alexis suggested the PTSD along with some anger management issues stemmed from his participation in the heroic acts of recovery.

Most recently, while in Newport, Rhode Island on August 7, 2013, after switching hotels three times, Alexis called the police because allegedly, he heard voices coming through the walls and the ceiling. Furthermore, Alexis claimed the voices were talking directly to him. He claimed the voices made numerous attempts to keep him awake. So, Alexis called the Rhode Island Police Department and said he wanted to file a harassment complaint. Alexis told police that he heard voices and he was afraid the owners of those voices were out to do him harm.

Aaron Alexis
Aaron Alexis

An agitated Alexis continued by stating that he feared they were “sending vibrations through his body”. He informed the police that he was involved in a heated verbal altercation on the plane during his arrival to Newport and was convinced the person he argued with had sent, not one, not two, but three people to follow him.

Alexis further stated that the individuals were using “some sort of microwave machine” that was sending vibrations through the ceiling, to penetrate his body to prevent him from falling asleep. Police questioned Alexis and inquired about prior mental issues or any family history of mental illness. Alexis claimed neither he or his family had any history of mental illness. The police promptly notified the Navy police and faxed a copy of the report that detailed Alexis’s bizarre claims. Nonetheless, Aaron Alexis still maintained a security clearance. UNBELIEVABLE!

Supporters Gather for a Vigil  at the Navy Yard
Supporters Gather for a Vigil at the Navy Yard

Clearly, the events that took place in Rhode Island indicated Alexis was disturbed. What boggles the mind is the number of venues that played host to these bouts of anger and neurotic episodes. Alexis was in Seattle, Washington, Texas, Georgia, Virginia, Boston, Newport, Rhode Island, New York and Washington D.C. Relocating that frequently is suspect in its own right.

FYI The dates and times of the events cited above were deliberately omitted. Collectively, they illustrate a distinct pattern of abnormal behavior that should have been detected with or without dates. To say someone “dropped the ball” is insufficient. There are a few expletives that come to mind to describe this fiasco in detail but as writer and editor, maintaining professionalism is imperative. Pointedly, the fact that Alexis was never tried or convicted of a crime, might explain why he retained his security clearance. Simply being arrested or taken into custody would not be a sufficient provocation for naval administrators to rescind Alexis’ security clearance.
All things considered, is an honest discussion about gun laws and mental illness still unwarranted? What type of events must transpire in order to be worthy of a discussion? Something’s gotta give! What is truly sad is that this tragedy occurred and no one is all that surprised. Aaron’s mother Cathleen Alexis released a recorded statement in which she apologized for her son’s heinous act while expressing condolences to the families. While heart felt and deeply moving, her statement or anything short of erasing that tragic day just is not enough to comfort those in pain.

Navy Hosts Memorial for Live Lost in Tragedy
Navy Hosts Memorial for Live Lost in Tragedy

Undeniably, this “mass shooting” was a sad and unfortunate event. Our condolences to the families that lost loved ones. We hope the survivors fully recover and heal well enough to continue to work in order to provide for themselves and their families. If this country and its law makers continually choose reactive responses over proactive legislation, then unfortunately, America will idly sit and await its next massacre.


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