Exploiting Tragedy

Gun-control advocates waste no time twisting the Navy Yard shooting.

US Shooting Military BuildingAfter a gunman calmly murdered 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard yesterday, the Left began trying to exploit the Navy employees’ deaths to advance its never-ending campaign to disarm law-abiding citizens.

The FBI identified the shooter, who was killed in a gun battle with police, as Aaron Alexis, 34, of Fort Worth, Texas. A civilian military contractor who was reportedly a practicing Buddhist at one time, Alexis received a general discharge from the Navy Reserve in 2011 after a shooting incident in his home. A general discharge usually indicates a problem in a serviceman's record. He was previously arrested in Seattle 2004 after shooting out the tires of a vehicle.

During the assault around Building 197 in the military installation near the Washington, D.C. Nationals ballpark, Alexis used a shotgun, handgun, and an AR-15, the same kind of rifle used by Adam Lanza in the Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre in December.

As with elementary schools and other "gun-free" zones, perpetrators know they can carry out mass shootings at military bases because the personnel there have been disarmed.

As the Washington Times previously reported,

Among President Clinton’s first acts upon taking office in 1993 was to disarm U.S. soldiers on military bases. In March 1993, the Army imposed regulations forbidding military personnel from carrying their personal firearms and making it almost impossible for commanders to issue firearms to soldiers in the U.S. for personal protection. For the most part, only military police regularly carry firearms on base, and their presence is stretched thin by high demand for MPs in war zones.

Aaron Alexis, who was reportedly not even a good shot, still managed to pick off two dozen human targets, aided by President Clinton's inexplicable weapons ban. Similarly, a few years ago Major Nidal Malik Hasan mowed down military personnel at Fort Hood, killing 13 people.

But common sense is lost on leftists who don't seem to understand that taking away guns makes Americans less safe.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), author of the now-expired 1994 assault weapons ban, said the Navy Yard shootings that took place about a mile from the U.S. Capitol constituted proof that Congress is “shirking its responsibility” in the gun control debate.

“This is one more event to add to the litany of massacres that occur when a deranged person or grievance killer is able to obtain multiple weapons — including a military-style assault rifle — and kill many people in a short amount of time. When will enough be enough?” Feinstein asked.

Earlier this year the Senate killed a plan to expand background checks on firearms buyers, along with a fresh assault weapons ban sponsored by Feinstein.

Other left-wing ambulance chasers were quick off the mark.

Before the facts were known President Obama weighed in on the atrocities, hoping to use the deaths to push more unconstitutional gun control schemes. “We’re confronting — yet another — mass shooting," he said. "And today it happened on a military installation in our nation’s capital.”

Obama, of course, is a devout ideologue who doesn’t believe Americans should be allowed to own guns. He’s a longtime supporter of gun confiscation but when he started running for president he began claiming to be a supporter of the Second Amendment in order not to scare away moderate voters. He has Freudian-slipped from time to time. In his first presidential campaign he mocked small-town Americans as “bitter” people who “cling to guns or religion,” paraphrasing Saul Alinsky’s ugly attacks on ordinary Americans.

Emily Miller argues in the Washington Times that Obama is scare-mongering. Although any loss of life is a tragedy, mass shootings "are not a cause for increased alarm." Many more Americans are killed in non-mass shootings and in gun accidents.

A recent report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) stated that "there have been 78 public mass shootings in the last 30 years that claimed 547 lives." This works out to 18 victims per year or a tiny fraction of all murders by firearms in America.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the U.S. does not even have a particularly high murder rate compared to other nations. In 2011, the U.S. had an intentional homicide rate of 4.7 per 100,000 population, placing it roughly in the middle on the list of nations of the world.

Honduras had the highest intentional homicide rate (91.6) and Monaco the lowest (0.0). The rates for a sample of other countries are as follows: Jamaica (40.9); Mexico (23.7);

Russia (10.2); Philippines (5.4); India (3.5); Finland (2.2); Canada (1.6); Australia (1.0); and Singapore (0.3).

But Obama is nothing if not a salesman. Instead of focusing on the 8,583 murders committed using firearms (in 2011), the president "focuses on the rare mass shootings because the uncontrollable and random nature of them are more frightening to the public, which is politically helpful for him to push his gun-control agenda," writes Miller, author of the new book, Emily Gets Her Gun.

Within hours of the massacre, erstwhile conservative David Frum wrote a tasteless screed urging more gun control. After lamenting the successful recall by voters of two gun-grabbing state lawmakers in Colorado last week, Frum pontificated that, "America's uniquely grisly record of gun death cannot be addressed without addressing guns." He also ascribed sinister motives to gun owners, accusing them of working to maximize future body counts.

In Frum's view there is no reason to wait to discuss "mass casualty shootings, such as that which just occurred in the Washington Navy Yard."

The historic military facility, he writes,

now joins the long roll of place names indelibly associated with massacre and grief: Columbine, Virginia Tech, Newtown. I write on the day of the killing. Gun enthusiasts say it is inappropriate to talk about gun violence at the time it occurs. Better to wait … and wait … and wait … until time has passed, and the weeping next of kin have vanished from TV, and it’s safe to return to business as usual. The idea of the gun enthusiasts is that the way to show respect for the victims of gun violence is to do everything possible to multiply their number.

But why are there so many mass shootings at public institutions such as the schools Frum names? Because they're so-called gun-free zones. They're magnets for psychotic mass murderers who know they get the most bang for the buck by preying on the defenseless. The way to give students and teachers a fighting chance against aspiring homicidal maniacs is to give teachers, or at least school security guards, guns.

The shooting spree yesterday came the week after al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri called for Muslims to carry out small-scale attacks "here and there" inside the U.S. "We should bleed America economically by provoking it to continue in its massive expenditure on its security," he said, "for the weak point of America is its economy, which has already begun to stagger due to the military and security expenditure."

At press time, it was unclear what motivated Aaron Alexis to carry out the attack. Washington, D.C., mayor Vincent Gray said there was no evidence that what transpired yesterday was a terrorist attack but that investigators are not ruling out the possibility.

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