President Obama ordered a sweeping review of security-clearance procedures after this week’s deadly shooting rampage at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., carried out by a military contractor who had access to the complex despite a history of severe mental illness and gun violence. Aaron Alexis killed 12 people in the mass shooting before being shot dead by police. The computer technician had Defense Department clearance even though he’d been arrested at least twice in gun-related incidents and had told police as recently as August that he was hearing voices. The shooting prompted Obama to renew his call for gun-control legislation, but he acknowledged that consensus was unlikely. “I do get concerned that this becomes a ritual that we go through every three, four months,” said Obama. “And yet we’re not willing to take some basic actions that we know would make a difference.”
“It’s all happened before,” said David Frum in TheDailyBeast.com, and “it’ll certainly happen again.” Columbine, Virginia Tech, Newtown—now the Washington Navy Yard. That list will only grow until we address our gun problem. We can’t ban weapons, but we must regulate them. Over the last three decades we’ve improved automotive safety while upholding legitimate rights. Why not do the same with guns?
New laws won’t make the slightest bit of difference, said Charles C.W. Cooke in NationalReview.com. Obama could have pushed through every gun provision he covets, and the Navy Yard shooting “would nonetheless have happened exactly as it did.” Alexis had passed a background check, and used a shotgun—not an assault rifle—bought from a licensed dealer and a pistol he took off the dead. Nothing can stop a sick person on a mission.
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The worst thing about this week’s slaughter is that it’s become “practically routine,” said Petula Dvorak in WashingtonPost.com. We’re so used to massacres that Alexis’s gun rampage barely raised a shrug. But we can’t allow ourselves to accept such awful bloodshed to become part of American culture. “Apple pie, baseball, and mass shootings? No.”
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