Navy yard shooting: Endless wars, gun violence, mental health


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As new details emerge from the aftermath of Washington Navy Yard shooting, a more clear picture of Aaron Alexis, the prime accused believed to be responsible for a dozen deaths, is emerging.

Aaron Alexis, it appears, had a history of mental health issues, although its not certain beyond doubt how far back does the trail go. According to Associated Press,

"the Navy contractor identified as the gunman in the mass shootings...had been suffering a host of serious mental issues, including paranoia and a sleep disorder. He also had been hearing voices in his head, the officials said.

Aaron Alexis, 34, had been treated since August by the Veterans Administration for his mental problems, the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the criminal investigation in the case was continuing. The Navy had not declared him mentally unfit, which would have rescinded a security clearance that Alexis had from his earlier time in the Navy Reserves."

There is clearly an element of irony here. Although Aaron Alexis had served as a Navy reservist and was not deployed in the war-zone abroad, it has been known for a quite some time that veterans who have served in Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama era wars are experiencing extremely high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder leading to an epidemic of suicides and homelessness.

Officials responsible for Veterans' health care had even been accused of concealing and fudging the data. What could be the motivation behind efforts to downplay the destructive effects of war on the social, mental and physical health of the US armed forces and America at large?

Is it the general callousness into which our society has descended fueled by 24/7 television and radio? Or the uninhibited manner in which Washington DC policymakers have taken the US military for granted, not as a defender of American homeland, but a disposable instrument deserving little more respect than mercenary armies routinely employed by ruthless Middle-Eastern States to suppress anti-government rebellions.

The debate and reporting on Aaron Alexis and Navy Yard shooting has shifted predictably towards more gun control, more background checks, more laws and regulations at the Federal and state level. But thoughtful, intelligent debate on what endless wars can do to the greatest military assembled in the history of empire building is entirely missing.

Reports suggest that Aaron Alexis was admittedly deeply affected by the 9/11 attacks and felt that Washington DC was not on his side.

America is not immune to the laws of human psychology. Building the requisite social support from institutions such as family, church, doctors and nurses, friends, neighbors, society at large, and even mass media should have been the top priority before hurling American fighting forces into unnecessary wars, which have bled and almost bankrupted us, with potentially thousands like Aaron Alexis roaming the streets everyday.

There is a war on America today. But it is not being waged by Assad or Ayatollahs of the world. It is the result of our own suicidal policies breeding new Aarons who have been needing help they so urgently deserve.

[images from Twitter]