Reader Brian R. writes:

Looks like the attack on gun rights has begun. Navy Yard shooter’s gun permit, security clearance worthy of closer look [via dallasmorningviews.blog.com] has quite a few things wrong, like the shooter arming himself to the teeth with an AR15, shotgun, and handgun (the latest indicates he only had a double barrel Biden special), as well as ignoring the fact there is no reciprocity with his Texas CWP and the District of Columbia to carry a concealed firearm. And then there’s the call for stiffer background checks for CWP holders, when the US military background check didnt weed this guy out. Ridiculous.

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40 Responses to Tell Me Why We Have Those Background Checks Again?

  1. “when the US military background check didnt weed this guy out. Ridiculous”

    Make’s too much sense, therefor it will fall on deaf ears.

    • ANY excuse for anti gun rhetoric will do; accuracy, truthfulness and logic is irrelevant to the anti’s emotional appeals.

    • Not only a background check, but he apparently had some sort of security clearance that was not reviewed or revoked even though he was several times under care for psychological/mental problems.

      I’ve also read statements from witnesses who claim, “It was three gunshots straight in a row — pop, pop, pop. Three seconds later, it was pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, so it was like about a total of seven [sic] gunshots…” This in the building where he was supposedly shooting from the third or fourth floor towards the cafeteria. How exactly do you accomplish this with a Joe Biden special?

      Time line not being given it could be that he had already acquired the pistols and the witnesses only thought he was using the shotgun.

      By the way, he was working in D.C. at the Navy Yard. How does that make Fort Worth, Texas as his last know address?

  2. I realize it is a petty discrepancy, but in no universe can a Remington 870 realistically be called a double barrel shotgun. From the linked Washington Times article:

    The officials said Aaron Alexis of Fort Worth, Texas, a 34-year-old discharged Navy engineer, entered the building with a Remington 870 12-gauge shotgun that he’d purchased last week in Lorton, Va.

    • You’re right. A Remington 870 is not a double-barreled shotgun.

      It’s an M870 and is used by our armed forces. Thus, it’s a weapon of war and has no business in non-military hands.

      Just like every (?) semi-auto pistol design in production.

      /sarc

  3. “He was also reportedly addicted to a drug—violent video games (which are no different than heroin or cocaine, but potentially more of a public health threat). Recently, according to credible reports, he was under psychiatric care for paranoia and hearing voices.”

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/09/17/aaron-alexis-another-improperly-treated-mentally-ill-man-becomes-mass-killer/#ixzz2fBOsBesY

    I’ve had some interaction with folks that ‘Hear Voices’ How did this man “Slip through the Cracks”? There is a culture of shuffling the misfits into dead end slots and CYA in all large bureaucracies its
    simply easier than filling out the paperwork and making your boss look bad

    • Also, “Psychiatry, properly focused and deployed, and properly linked to the judicial system and deployed in our V.A. hospitals, is a miraculously effective safety net for those at risk for violence toward self or others.”

      Ugh. After he referred to video games as a drug / public health threat and juxtaposed that comment with the symptoms of paranoia & hearing voices, I’m finding it a little hard to share the author’s enthusiasm for how “miraculously effective” his psychiatry might be as a safety net. Even though I agree with his message that guns aren’t the problem, I found myself not really wanting to agree with anything else he wrote.

      Videogames = public health threat convenient scapegoat. There, fixed it for him.

      • He has a point. Studies have shown that these video games stimulate the same pleasure centers in the brain that sex, drugs (and rock-n-roll?), alcohol and other addictive substances and behaviors do. People with mental disorders are more prone to addictive behavior. Should we ban them? No. Put warnings on them? Maybe. Take a close look at someone who plays them addictively, and shows other odd behavior? Yes.

        The vast majority of people who play these games are not affected by them. But every single one of these psychos who have perpetrated these massacres have been hooked on these games. That certainly is not the reason they committed their atrocities, but I think it contributed. Along with untreated and often ignored signs of mental illness, and gun free zones.

        Ablow’s main point is that our mental health system is broken. You can thank the ACLU and the libs for that. When the system does work, it DOES work miracles. But only if the patient is willing to address their problem. That being said, guys like Alexis, Lanza and Holmes are evil. And they were adults, who made choices, and ultimately are responsible for their own behavior.

        • Is it really every one of them? I don’t recall hearing video games mentioned in connection with Aurora, Tucson or Newtown. Or Boston. Or the guy in New York who shot at firefighters. Or …

          I do know that ever since it was publicized that the Columbine shooters used Doom to practice their shooting, any evidence that one of these criminals plays video games has taken on a sinister tone by association.

          As for the addiction factor, that’s one thing I completely agree with you on. Likewise, that we should a take a close look at anyone who exhibits signs of video game addiction and shows other odd behavior. Though, I’d lean more toward the “other odd behavior” as most concerning.

          I have known (and do know) people who exhibit signs of video game addiction; by many peoples’ measure I’ve probably been there myself. The main thing I find concerning is limited social interaction means they’re missing out on life experiences and meaningful personal relationships outside of gaming. But that’s my opinion. I’d say the same about people who obsess over any hobby or activity to the detriment of the rest of life. Where do you draw the line? Is Jerry Miculek’s obsession with shooting “unhealthy” or is he just really dedicated to his hobby? You or I might have a different answer than, say, Piers Morgan.

          Anyway, the only thing I can think that all of these killers had in common was not having a problem murdering and leaving a wake of misery and destruction behind. I personally find a need to combat that by the only means I know how: being as good a neighbor, friend, coworker, brother, husband, and kind stranger as I can, and speak out against what I find to be relatively arbitrary concerns (like video games / choice in entertainment) over which to ostracize, fear and marginalize people. Radical acceptance. Life’s a ride, and we’re all in it together.

  4. So, he goes in with a shotgun, shoots a sentry, takes that guys AR then lights the place up. I guess it makes perfect sense to come after my AR. Feinstein Logic!!

  5. The entire premise of background checks is that we have dangerous, untrustworthy ex-convicts running around amongst us. If they are dangerous and not trustworthy, why did our revolving door criminal justice system release them?!?!?!?

    Background checks are a bandage on the mortal wound that is our broken criminal justice system and non-existent mental health system. Fix those and you don’t need background checks — which obviously do not prevent violent criminal attacks (either with guns or alternate deadly weapons) anyway.

    Remember the calm and peaceful 1950s? There were no background checks in the 1950s. We did not need them then. We do not need them now.

  6. I know someone in the Navy who has a lot of mental issues, not the type to kill someone but more likely to get him/herself killed in a combat situation…the recruiter told him/her to lie after they were honest the first time on the application!!!

  7. Gun control is like trying to prevent rape by outlawing penises: if there were none rape wouldn’t happen…

    Gun control is out of control

  8. As someone who has held a security clearance back in Ye Olde Days of the Red Menace and the Cold War, I have to say that the current DOD security clearance business is a sham and is security theatre, just like the TSA agents groping old white ladies in airport lines.

    It seemed to become a sham during the mid-90’s, when we decided that we had “won” the Cold War and just before we decided that enriching the last communist power on the planet was a viable global economic model.

  9. Man, if the NRA is listening this time, before they jump out and press conference, I’ve got just one thing for them:

    DON’T JOIN THE VIDEO GAME BANDWAGON.

    It looks like most of the media (without an evil AR-15 to blame) is going to alternate to that other whipping boy, since they can’t talk terror with race being an issue.
    The gaming industry has more money than Hollywood, so they’re not exactly in any danger, but I think it’s a good idea to show a little solidarity. Grown-up should be able to own and play what they want, especially when millions of people do daily and nothing bad ever happens. It’s the person, not the products, the push them to hurt other people. This would be a great time for the NRA to step into the 21st century on this one instead of dogpiling with all the other scapegoating morons.

    • Its not a trap. Read On Killing. Video games desensitize people to killing. Classic action reward pattern. More killing offers more points, higher status. Add a mental defect and the leap is shorter than you think. What is different about a games verses the real world war fighting, is soldiers shoot when they’re told, demonstrating discipline. So much as point your weapon in the wrong direction, the world will come down on the offender. Nor will any soldier incur the wrath of his fellow soldiers for placing them in danger with a weapon. No such restraint in cyber space.

      • So, does playing Pac-Man desensitize people to eating?

        People try so hard to rationalize and explain away these rare individuals who decide to pick up a gun and start shooting other people for whatever reasons. Blaming video games is just as stupid as blaming the gun, Buddhism, Thai food or the weather.

        Actually, let’s examine the blame-the-gun / blame-the-game parallels. As someone with (a good deal of) personal experience with each, I see a lot of parallelism in how people who are quick to blame either for violence almost universally betray a deep misunderstanding of whichever of the two they choose to lay the blame.

        Anyone we might consider a Person of the Gun (i.e., familiar with firearms) should understand the care and responsibility that comes with owning and operating one; so, it’s offensive whenever the talking heads misrepresent basic firearm facts, and it’s particularly disrespectful when they insinuate that guns convey some kind of corrupting force that turns an ordinary person into a cold-blooded killer.

        The “corrupting force” argument is the same voodoo B.S. argument that people apply to video games. Sorry, but shooters, war movies and other similar examples of “violent entertainment” are nothing more than fantasy and storytelling. Calling a first-person shooter a “murder simulator” is as patently offensive as implying guns turn people into murderers. The only people who could take such a claim seriously are people who obviously don’t play video games.

        • @ William Burle: based on … your opinion? Or the fact that Dave Grossman is published? Or the popularity of demonizing videogames? Or are you trolling?

          Not that you’ll care, but my opinion is based on over 30 years of playing video games of all varieties (violent and not), having a large number of gamers in my personal social circle and a 20 year career in engineering (relevant because I live and breathe diagnostic analysis and the scientific method). I could have this debate all day long. The biggest “health risk” posed by video games is obesity.

      • BINGO! Violent video games have their genesis in the Pentagon, teaching shoot-on-sight, non- evaluative responses.

        BEAUCOUP evidence to support this thesis. Don’t evaluate, just neutralize the “target”.

    • Agreed. Studies have shown that those who play video games are on average better off than those who don’t.
      http://www.sciencealert.com.au/features/20133008-24746-2.html

      “Our research group conducted a comprehensive review of research papers and reports from around the world to explore the role of video games in young people’s lives.
      We are interested in both gaming and positive psychology, so our aim was to investigate the current research linking video game play and flourishing mental health. We reviewed over 200 papers and mapped relevant connections and associations.
      Here are some of our key findings:
      moderate (non-excessive) levels of playing are associated with positive emotions and improved mood, improved emotion regulation and emotional stability and the reduction of emotional disturbances;
      playing video games is a healthy means of relaxation, stress reduction and socialising; and
      people who play video games in moderation have significantly less depressed mood and higher self-esteem (compared to those who don’t play or who play excessively).”

      • “Studies have shown that those who play video games are on average better off than those who don’t.”

        “BETTER OFF?” How’s that for a nebulous sobriquet? IN WHAT WAY, “better off”? I’m on SSI; if I start playing video games, how will I be “better off”?

  10. Dan,
    You’ve fallen into the same trap so many others have fallen into: the antis don’t care how ridiculous or ineffectual the laws are. They don’t care if they reduce violence committed with guns or not. They just care about civilian disarmament. Even if mass killings didn’t happen they would still be after our guns.

  11. Apparently he was discharged from the Navy for discharging his POF as well as AWOL, so how come the Navy Contractor did not vet him w/ due diligence as well as the base Security Officer?

  12. If he had been weeded out, he wouldn’t have shot up a military facility, which wouldn’t have led to new zealousness for more gun control… you really can’t see how this shit works, can you?

  13. They want the background checks so the government knows the name and address of everyone who owns a gun. Why? I will let you determine why any government could want that kind of information.

  14. Reader Brian R. writes:
    “Looks like the attack on gun rights has begun.”

    Uh, yeah, you’re only about 30 or 40 years late with the news.

    • I just got a follow up investigation. My first one was brutal this one not so much since the whole time has been in the military. Depending on the clearance it could have been very detailed.

      I feel so bad for everyone who lost a loved one during this tragic event

  15. What is this about a CWP? I haven’t seen that anywhere but TTAG. I’m pretty MSNBC would have hoped on that hard if it was true.

    • Only “evidence” I’ve seen that he had a CCW is that his roommate said he did. Right after he said that Alexis left the Navy because he was tired of getting up so early, which we know isn’t true.

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