It’s been two days since the horrific shootings at the Navy Yard. The initial news reports were confusing (and generally wrong), but now the outlines are more clear: a lone gunman with a security clearance parks his car on the premises, enters the facility using his security pass, brings in a duffel bag with a disassembled shotgun he assembles in a bathroom, and then opens fire in a crowded cafeteria. He is eventually tracked down and killed by the first responders, who came on the scene within minutes. He left no note and no apparent motive.
The background of the shooter was a classic “gray area” in a personnel file. A handful of arrests, but no convictions. A checkered military career with violent outbursts, which eventually resolved in an honorable discharge. An interest in firearms. A mobile lifestyle with few family and friends.
Nothing that would automatically put him on a “do not hire” list for Federal contractors.
The Navy Yard is a staple of traditional “D.C.,” just like RFK stadium, the Redskins and Phillip’s Seafood. Thousands of people still commute to the historic Yard, which is a stone’s throw from the new Nats stadium. The most noteworthy item from this tragedy is the calmness and professionalism of the people working there, even while the shooting was unfolding.
It would be easy to throw stones at the Navy or DOD for granting a security pass to the shooter — but could anybody foresee this?