• Aftermath of Naval Yard Shooting Introduces New Questions

    by  • October 2, 2013 • News


    In the aftermath of the tragic shootings that took place at the Washington Naval Yard on Sept. 16, there are still many questions left unanswered in regards to the reasoning as to why Aaron Alexis to went through with the shootings.

    The events occurred on early Monday morning when Alexis entered the Naval Yard armed and fired shots inside the southeast Washington facility.  It was announced that 13 people were killed and eight were injured in the shootings.  According to authorities, Alexis, the 34-year-old Texas contractor, was identified as the alleged suspect killed after an encounter with security.

    “When I first heard of the news of the shooting considering that this took place right directly in the vicinity of where I worked,” Mike Nusbaum, 65, of Washington D.C. said.

    A police responders on the scene during the shooting rampage that took place at the Washington Naval Yard on September 16, 2013. (Photo by Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post).

    Nusbaum is a retired federal service official with other 30 years of experience working for a number of Navy Commands.  As an employee of NAVSEA (Navy Seas System Command) for 25 years, he was quite familiar with the area where the shootings took place.

    “The room where the shootings occurred is the exact same where I would typically attend meetings,” Nusbaum said. “Luckily most of my colleagues were arriving to work late and were not harmed in the shootings.”


    Aaron Alexis, 34, of Fort Worth, Texas was identified by officials as the gunman responsible for the Naval Yard shootings in Washington D.C. on Monday Sept. 16. (PHOTO//Fort Worth Police Department / via AFP/Getty Images)



    In light of the shooting, more details began to surface, providing the public with a profile of Alexis’ troubled past including incidents of disorderly conduct, insubordination and intoxication.

    Despite these documented incidents that evidently foreshadowed his discharge from the military in 2010,  Alexis was still had a security clearance, which granted him access to entering the Naval Yard.  Even with Alexis’ history taken accounted for, Nusbaum emphasizes that it’s easier said than done to revoke an individual’s capability’s to gain access to a security clearance into high security buildings.

    “In retrospect, it’s too close to make the proper judgement call when determining who can be granted and denied access to obtaining a security clearance,” Nusbaum said. “Considering that Alexis was familiar with the process, it doesn’t surprise me that one slipped through the crack and made it past the check proper points.”


    Perspectives and opinions on current gun control policies still remain a hot topic in light of this tragedy. While Alexis’ psychological health remains in question, very few states are starting to considering reevaluating gun related polices that have proposed in legislation.

    Recently, New Jersey State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) has announced in an official statement that his centerpiece gun control package has been put to rest through countless vetoes by Governor Chris Christie.  According to Sweeney, the centerpiece package would have created a system to electronically record all gun purchases and instantly report them to law enforcement.

    “The bill would have been a model for the nation on how to enact real, meaningful gun control reform,” Sweeney said. “Unfortunately, Governor Christie chose to veto the bill, sending it back to the Legislature stripped of all the value which made it worthwhile in the first place.”

    Christie however, implemented a new gun-control measure into law on Friday that will require law enforcement agencies to hand over information about guns that are seized or found abandoned.

    Even though Christie emphasized in a statement after the bill was passed that this act will ensure that firearms will not end up in the wrong hands, however questions still remain as to how effective this bill will influence future public opinion on gun policy.

    Ramapo College Political Science professor Jeremy Teigen is skeptical of Governor Christie’s recent bill, as it doesn’t touch the core issue within our Second Amendment rights.

    “When there is a chance that any given tragedy has an opportunity move policy, very few events have been successful, despite the increasing frequency,” Teigen said.

    The Naval Yard shooting is another tragedy that continues to introduce questions and uncertainties to the gun control debate. While this debate may shift gears towards mental health as being a prime factor to consider, uncertainty still lies beneath the surface of this issue.  The question that comes to mind from these perspectives is how much further the nation will be pushed to the edge with future tragedies until more effective policies become implemented into policy.

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