Washington Navy Yard, site of massacre on September 16, 2013
"Rampage" at the Washington Navy Yard was the headline this morning as ex Navy enlisted man Aaron Alexis apparently entered the post legally and then proceeded to shoot and kill some 13 people before he himself was killed in a firefight with police.
No motive for the massacre has yet been determined but speculation will surely run the gamut as these type of incidents usually do from some deep seated hostility toward the Navy to complete surprise from friends and family members.
And of course this writer has no concrete answer as to why someone like Alexis snapped and did what he did.
But one thing is for sure; indiscriminant atrocities against innocents has proliferated in America as well as being committed by Americans in our endless wars.
Nick Turse in his book, "Kill Anything That Moves" showed the Mai Lai massacre committed by Lt. Calley and his men during the Viet Nam war was not some aberration committed by a few deranged soldiers as we came to believe but something that was an everyday occurrence committed by the American military in that long ago war. Turse culled this from actual Department of Defense records he was able to freely obtain but never up till the time of his book had been divulged to the American people, (save for Daniel Ellsberg and the "Pentagon Papers" he revealed in the 1970's).
Now in our latest wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as our undeclared wars in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia where atrocities committed by our drones, JSOC raids in the middle of the night, not to mention Sgt. Bales slipping off and killing innocents as they slept in their beds last year in Afghanistan are "occurrences" that our corporate media almost completely ignores or when in the case of Bales does report it describes it as an "aberration", something unusual, not the norm and certainly not something larger and more sinister.
But the reality is America is a violent culture going back to our earliest times with the massacre of the Native American Indian culture, slavery, Jim Crow laws and the lynching of innocents.
So now we have yesterdays massacre and before that "Columbine", the theatre in Colorado, the snipers in the D.C. area, the elementary school in Connecticut and on and on it goes.
For sure these separate, indiscriminant massacres of innocents are not directly related and seen in isolation doesn't necessarily translate into a purely American dysfunctional cultural phenomenon.
Besides we're mostly "civilized", sport decals on our cars as in "Civility in Howard County", (a much seen decal proliferating where I reside), supposedly indicating we're "above" aberrant behavior being committed elsewhere and has no place in our county. Well tell that to the innocents killed at the Sandy Hook Elentary School in "civilized" Connecticut.
No, massacres of the type we saw yesterday at the Washington Navy Yard are not yet commonplace, everyday occurrences everywhere in America, (at least not yet).
Yet with surveillance of all Americans increasing, profiling of people of color commonplace, a gun culture seemingly without bounds, "Stand your ground laws" where Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman, the "right" to carry firearms at political rallies in some states and it may not be a return to the "Wild West" of American lore, it sure isn't a culture that affords the benefit of the doubt, respects others as a given or a culture now more than ever suspicious and fearful of "others".
Are we not more alienated, disconnected from others, cocooned in our separate cars and places of residence, distanced and often strangers with our neighbors?
But back to yesterday; as with all the domestic massacres we have seen over the years, we'll be inundated (bombarded?) with "experts" on our TV screens, endless videos, witness accounts and further "investigation" into Alexis' background and his possible motives.
But as usual we Americans will not be asked to self-reflect, demand real reform of the unhinged gun culture within our midst or recognize the violent culture we are gives rise to the type of massacre in D.C. yesterday.