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Wednesday, Oct 01, 2014
Letter of the Day

The government failed us at the Navy Yard

Published:

The responsibility for the tragedy Monday in Washington, D.C., at the Navy Yard can and should be laid at the feet of those responsible. Sadly, it is our government who bears much of the responsibility for this tragedy, for it is our government that has made the rules and set the culture that allowed this event to take place.

Like so many of the shooters in the other mass shooting events of the past decade, the man in Monday’s shooting was dealing with mental illness. It is the government that closed down the mental institutions decades ago — now we have a problem all over this nation with unemployable mentally ill people living on the streets, many who are dangerous.

In spite of two arrests for the misuse of weapons, he was able to pass a government security background check in 2012; that security clearance was renewed this summer. The man went to the VA in August asking for help, and announcing that he was hearing voices in his head, coming from within his apartment wall. Beyond that, in the past few weeks, the man recently legally purchased a shotgun which required a background check with the government.

The government also made the rules that mandate the only people who should carry weapons on military installations are the MPs and security guards. Our government disarms its own military on military installations, and promises that they will provide the security for those they have trained to use firearms to fight our nation’s battles. The government failed to provide the security promised at Fort Hood, and they have failed again at the Navy Yard.

The government set the culture, made all the rules, and then made all the mistakes that allowed a mentally ill man to legally be on a military base, and to purchase a shotgun.

If military installations allowed the people they have trained to carry weapons, none of this would have taken place. When this man shot off one round or shell, he should have been greeted with a host of legally carried weapons pointed at him. Twelve people now dead would still be alive if it weren’t for the government’s rules and failures.

I’m certain that gun control advocates will be using this as ammunition for their cause, but what we really need is to place controls on the government which fails to keep its promises to its citizens and employees (to provide security.) If given the choice between trusting the government to protect the citizens or trusting the individual American citizen to protect themselves, I choose the later. For I trust the wisdom of the those who wrote and approved the Second Amendment far more than I trust those in the government at the present.

Barry Rumsey

Ruskin

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