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Correlations, not causations of the Navy Yard massacre

ARMSTRONG I WILLIAM'S | 9/30/2013, 12:05 p.m.
I can tell you several things that did not cause the Navy Yard shootings last week: AR-15s, video games and ...
Armstrong Williams

When I say crazy, I mean Alexis was hearing voices and had been treated for mental disorders. He had been treated several times by Veterans Administration hospitals for physiological issues, and he even called the police a few days before the shooting to complain about the voices, but no one did anything. Maybe if people took initiative when obvious mental disorders are being reported, we may have avoided this and other tragedies. Instead, we have government officials whose job it is to treat mental issues failing their patients, and lawmen who are supposed to protect and serve laughing off such calls, or simply refusing to investigate for fear of paperwork and getting involved in less glamorous work.

I am not suggesting we go the way of the movie Minority Report and start a special pre-crime unit, but there are certainly laws and capabilities that can be utilized for pro-active crime prevention rather than reaction. Some will quickly point to banning guns as “The Answer,” but until the Constitution is amended to nullify the Second Amendment, such calls are just spitting in the wind. Other effective methods can and must be tried. I can tell you this: a man with a history of mental illness and two arrests for gun-related incidences should not come up all clear in a quick background check to buy a shotgun.

If government – local, state and federal – are going to continue to cut services, equipment and personnel in the law enforcement and security fields, then we absolutely must work harder to thwart crimes before they happen instead of waiting to clean up the aftermath.

Lastly, if you buy into the myths perpetuated by the followers of Edward Snowden and Wikileaks, the NSA and other US government agencies spend all their time prying into every single email and phone call looking for terrorists, both foreign and domestic. If they are so invasive, how did they miss Alexis? A man with a poor military service record, two arrests and mental issues should never be approved by the government and given a secret clearance. Perhaps it was too obvious. Maybe Big Brother is so caught up in looking in the shadows or reading through your sordid emails that he cannot properly read reports on candidates for clearance when they land on his desk. Or maybe despite its overreach, Big Brother is more like Somewhat Attentive Cousin.

That does not mean we need more Big Brother, but we do need the government to do its job and properly vet those who are going to be in sensitive positions, like Alexis, or Snowden or Manning. Each case had glaring red flags and each time government napped.

In the end, what we have is a horrific phenomenon that has no easy answers. By now, the media should know better than to jump to conclusions and report fallacies. Also, pundits and politicians must stop trying to blame pop culture, weapons and ideologies that are not part of the causation. Instead, we need to start taking mental illness seriously, enforce laws we already have, and demand more accountability from our government and officials whose job it is to treat, protect and/or investigate. This, unfortunately, will not be the last mass shooting, but we must work harder to prevent such tragedies before they occur.

Armstrong Williams is the author of Reawakening Virtures. He is on Sirius/XM Power 110, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. to 6 a.m., Monday through Friday, as well as S.C. WGCV from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.