No known motive has yet been revealed and there are many questions being asked, mostly centered around security, just who was Aaron Alexis, the 34 year old man said to have entered the building and killed so many and as information is coming out, many are wondering just how this man obtained and held a Security Clearance to access the Navy Yard, much less allow him to buy the shot gun officials now say was used in the killings.
Once identifying Alexis as the shooter, within hour’s reports began appearing in the media of a very troubled man with a history of mental instability, misconduct while in the Navy Reserves and at least two run-ins with law enforcement over gun charges.
While many who knew Alexis were stunned with disbelief of him doing such a heinous act, we began reading accounts of him being “was pushed out of the military because of repeated incidents and arrests” from a quote in the Wall Street Journal Monday evening from an unidentified defense official.
We read of a run-in with the law in Seattle in 2004 where Alexis is said to have shot out the tires of someone’s car that he felt “disrespected” him. He explained that incident as “anger-fueled blackout.”
In 2010 he was said to have shot through the floor of an apartment above him in Ft. Worth, Texas, narrowly missing the occupant, a woman he often complained “made too much noise.” He explained that as the gun going off accidentally while cleaning it.
His own father, when contacted, claimed he “had been involved in 9/11 rescue efforts and had post-traumatic stress and anger-management issues.”
It’s known now that he had been treated for paranoia and hearing voices in his head.
Yet, in spite of such a record, he held a security clearance to enter the Navy yard and passed both an F.B.I. and State of Virginia background check to ‘legally’ purchase the shotgun he used to kill and take a handgun off of one of the security guards.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel admits “there were a lot of red flags missed in the security clearance process,” adding “Why they didn’t get picked up, why they didn’t get incorporated into the clearance process, what he was doing, those are all legitimate questions that we’re going to be dealing with.”
What is unusual in this mass shooting is the shooter was a Black man. Not that Blacks don’t kill, but we rarely hear of a Black man committing one of these mass killings.
His being Black has nothing itself to do with his mental state nor is it a direct reason for shooting those people, but I can’t help but wonder if it is a reason so many red flags that should have been caught in his records weren’t there?
Referring back to the quote at the top of this post, many people are scared to death to be labeled a racist” today and have been known to bend over backwards when dealing with Blacks because of that fear.
On some occasions, a few Blacks have taken advantage of this “white guilt” to get ahead or allege wrongdoing if terminated from or denied a position.
An NBC Report is claiming a friend saying,
“He felt like he had been cheated out of money from the contract and complained that he was mistreated because he was black. He felt a lot of discrimination and racism with white people especially. He did have the tendency to feel like people owed him something all the time.”
Yet, so many red flags that should have denied him not only his security clearance but the ability to legally purchase a shotgun and ammunition were not in his records when the background checks were performed.
I cannot say with complete confidence, naturally, but I just can’t help but wonder if the attitude his friend described of discrimination and racism from whites was projected unto others over the years and out of fear of being labeled a “racist,” encouraged them not to put those red flags into his records.
Without a doubt, there remains pockets of racism in our country today, but it is nowhere near as prevalent as it once was.
But racism goes both ways today, crossing racial boundaries in both directions.
Black author Shelby Steele wrote a book a few years ago, White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era and in it he says,
“In the age of racism, Whites said Blacks were inferior so as to not see their own desire was to exploit them, their true motivation. In the age of white guilt, whites support all manner of silly racial policies without seeing that their true motivation is simply to show themselves innocent of racism.”
And now I wonder if “White Guilt” has played a role in the deaths of 13 people, including Aaron Alexis, by keeping those ‘red flags’ from being included in his record, out of fear of being labeled a racist?
Maybe too, it’s time we stopped hurling racially charged rhetoric about as if it carries no consequences and realize that we are all in this together.