, Newburyport, MA


September 20, 2013

Our view: Seizing on tragedy to promote an agenda


Rather than ignoring the facts in service of scoring political points, our nation would be better served directing our collective attention to those who actually commit these heinous acts. Seeking answers to some of the questions surrounding these individuals might prove useful.

Alexis, 34, had twice previously been involved in shooting incidents. In neither case was he charged with any crime. Yet, according to reports, the incidents, along with other discipline problems, were enough to prompt the Navy to consider a general discharge from the Reserves for him. But Alexis sought an honorable discharge and the Navy, unwilling to pursue the less desirable general discharge, granted the request, according to the Associated Press.

Alexis had also been treated for serious mental health issues, including paranoia, the AP said. At one point, he reported to police that he had been hearing voices that he believed meant to do him harm.

How was Alexis, with a history of shooting incidents and recent mental illness, able to maintain both his gun permit and a secret-level security clearance? How did he pass the background checks needed to purchase his shotgun. And how was he able to get that shotgun past security at the Navy Yard?

Answering these questions will do more to promote the security of Americans than a politician’s self-serving call for the gun-control legislation she desires.

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