President Barack Obama blamed the murders of 12 people at the Navy Yard Sept. 16 on "those who fight to make it as easy as possible for dangerous people to get their hands on a gun."
That's partly true -- but the culprits aren't the people to whom the president was referring.
The shooter had a long history of erratic and hostile behavior, and two prior arrests for gun infractions.
"Everyone who came into contact with Aaron Alexis noticed something was wrong with him, and his condition was worsening," said Carl Cannon of RealClear Politics.
Yet Aaron Alexis passed two background checks when he bought his shotgun, and the security clearance which gave him access to the Navy Yard was renewed shortly before his murder spree.
It should be much harder to get a security clearance than a permit to buy a gun. That Alexis was able to get one is appalling.
That he kept it after police in Newport, R.I., warned the Navy about him is, said the Washington Post, "scandalous."
This was not an isolated incident. The inspector general for the Defense Department found that 52 felons had been given unauthorized access to military bases.
Alexis was able to murder 12 people at the Navy Yard not because there were no laws to stop him, but because those responsible for enforcing those laws didn't do their jobs. Heads should roll for this, but Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has shown little interest in holding those responsible accountable.
Liberals would rather talk about how outraged they are by mass shootings than to take the steps necessary to prevent them.
I was called "insensitive" (and worse) for noting in a column mass shootings are very rare; an "idiot" (and worse) for noting that nothing in the gun control legislation proposed in Congress would have prevented the Navy Yard shooting.
It didn't matter that I was right in both instances. For liberals, moral outrage trumps facts. It's "insensitive" to note mass killings are rare, because that could diminish concern about them. Any criticism of gun control -- however well founded -- indicates you don't care about the victims.
The most important fact is that Alexis -- like virtually every other mass shooter -- was mentally ill.
People like him used to be committed to state mental hospitals. Then the hospitals were emptied out.
A person with a serious mental illness "was ten times more likely to find a psychiatric bed for treatment in 1955 than in 2004," according to a 2010 study by the Treatment Advocacy Center and the National Sheriffs Association.
Mass shooters are crazy, but they're not stupid.
They pick venues where they know their victims will be unarmed. When an armed citizen has been among them, murder sprees have been cut short.
At least seven other times since 1997, an armed citizen has cut a murder spree short. Yet liberals insist the way to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and crazy people is to take them away from the sane and the law abiding.
It isn't just the lunatics they let run around loose who should have their heads examined.
Americans understand what needs to be done. In a Gallup poll last week, they placed most of the blame for mass shootings on failures in the mental health system. It is liberals -- with their gun control demagoguery -- who stand in the way of effective solutions.
Jack Kelly writes for The Pittsburgh Press and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio.
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