SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- On Monday, a military veteran working as a civilian contractor opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard, killing 12 people. The incident, one of several mass shootings over the last 24 months, set off waves of panic at the military installation, which sits just a few miles from the steps of the Capitol. FBI agents identified the shooter as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, a former Navy Reservist from Fort Worth, Texas. Although Alexis had passed a background check in Virginia to purchase his weapon, his discharge paperwork illustrated a past history of gun-related trouble with authorities. Conservative lawmakers, officials with the National Rifle Association (NRA) and leaders of Gun Owners of America expressed outrage at the massacre, demanding to know why trained soldiers were unarmed within the walls of an Armed Forces facility. "We allowed our troops to be picked off like sitting ducks," one exasperated NRA representative told reporters.
The attack was the worst of its kind at a U.S. military complex since Army Major Nidal Hasan fired on unarmed soldiers at Fort Hood in 2009. In that case, the death toll reached 13, with 31 others wounded.
"We are confronting yet another mass shooting, and today it happened at another military installation, in our nation's capital," President Barack Obama said in a public address, again pledging to enact sensible gun control measures. His administration made similar vows last December after a gunman killed 20 school children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school.
The NRA vehemently denounced the president's solution, demonstrating yet again the problem facing society: the unfathomable lack of armed citizens.
Thorn Havershabe, head of the San Narciso County chapter of the NRA, astutely pointed out that background screenings did little to prevent mentally disturbed individuals such as Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old shooter at Sandy Hook, and Aaron Alexis, the suspect in Monday's slaughter, from obtaining firearms. Alexis had several brushes with police on record, all involving the illicit discharging of guns, but he never faced a conviction.
In the wake of yesterday's tragedy, Havershabe said he was puzzled by "how woefully unarmed and under-equipped America's military personnel seem to be."
"Policies that restrict certain types of weapons, policies that dissuade Americans from carrying guns to protect themselves, and these ridiculously ineffective background screenings, which do nothing more than keep bureaucrats employed while creating additional burdens for U.S. taxpayers, have failed," Havershabe fumed. "Miserably. And the bodies keep piling up. It's time to start taking us seriously. Make weapons mandatory, Mr. President."
Although Havershabe blames Obama's anti-gun rhetoric for waning opposition to newly proposed restrictions, he praised the president for signing the February 2010 law that allowed people to carry concealed weapons in national parks.
"Obama did the right thing originally," Havershabe noted. "You don't hear about mass shootings in our national parks. But since then, he's bowed to the pressures of namby-pamby prosecutors and hippie activists in the deep pockets of Big-Peace."
Every man, woman and child, he believes, should be packing when they leave the house, "but for the love of God, our troops have no reason to ever be without a weapon. We can't expect them to win over there if they're being blown apart over here...especially by their fellow soldiers, who are trained marksmen and killers."
Havershabe admits that the problem goes beyond ideology. Economics have played an equally pivotal albeit quieter role.
As Congress focuses on the national debt this week, the NRA and other powerful gun lobbies have joined House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan in attacking the Obama administration for irresponsible spending on socialist programs that have compromised the national defense.
Citing a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that warned about the unsustainable debt being incurred by the United States, Ryan revealed that "government spending, especially on health care, is driving our debt. And Obamacare will not solve the problem. The law was a costly mistake."
Havershabe agreed: "Why are we two trillion dollars in debt over some kind of communist health care plan when our military can't afford to give our men and women in uniform weapons? This happens every time a Democrat wheedles his way into office."
He traced the problem back to Clinton, whose budgets dramatically cut spending for military operations. It was also during the Clinton era that guns were banned on military installations for all personnel except MPs.
"During the Clinton tyranny, we had an aberrantly underfunded military, which resulted in the sad irony of gun-free zones at military bases," Havershabe said. "Slick Willy was so busy dumping tax monies into social welfare programs -- like education, unprecedented increases in police officers on the streets and forcing employers to create 22 million new jobs -- that nothing was left in the coffers to supply soldiers with sidearms. Now Obama's misdirection of funds to a Nazi medical plan, instead of our troops, has led to this."
The NRA has scheduled a series of meetings with Republican lawmakers in the hope of radically augmenting defense spending to ensure that U.S. soldiers at home have the same access to weapons as their counterparts in foreign theaters.
"If every American left his house armed, gun violence would be a thing of the past," Havershabe explained. "But let's at least start with our troops. Until our Armed Forces can afford an adequate supply of guns, we need to focus all government spending on the military. And when we have a fully armed United States, where bad guys with guns are put down swiftly by an overwhelming majority of good guys with guns, we won't need Obamacare. Gun-related deaths and injuries are eight times higher in the United States than anywhere else in the world. By arming everyone and preventing this kind of violence, our hospitals could be eight times less crowded. Problem solved."
2013. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. See disclaimers.