Monday, September 16, 2013

Washington Navy Shipyard: Monday Morning's Off to a Bad Start

(Reuters, via BBC News, used w/o permission.)
So far, BBC News seems to have the best summary of what's happened:
  • A gunman has killed at least four people at the Washington Navy Yard, a naval installation in the US capital, officials say
  • Police were called to the scene after reports of shooting at 0820 local time (1320 GMT)
  • Police say that one gunman is deceased and two additional suspects wearing military-style uniforms may still be at large
  • US President Barack Obama has been briefed on the matter by top officials
  • All times in GMT
    (BBC News)

"Going Postal??"

At about 8:20 this morning, Washington D.C. time, someone started shooting at people in the Washington Navy Yard. When news reports started, I thought that maybe one of the 3,000 or so folks who work there decided that today would be a good time to 'get even' with fellow-workers.

It's been a long time since "going postal" became a regrettable stress-management option.

What I've Heard

Now it looks like more than one person has been attacking folks at offices of the Chief of Naval Operations and other naval commands.

Based on what I've heard and read in the news, it looks like more than one person decided to attack the Washington Navy Yard, and that we don't know why they made that decision.

The only victims I've heard identified so far is police officer and one of the shooters. How many people are wounded or killed: those numbers are changing, which isn't a surprise this early in the situation.


What motive the attackers have is important: but I don't know what it is. There isn't enough information available. I'm pretty sure that right now nobody except the attackers know why morning routines got disrupted. If they had associates, those folks know, too.

A half-century back, I wouldn't have been finding out so much this fast. When news did start filtering through, some folks would insist that commies were to blame; others would blame racists or blacks.

Today, I suppose some have already decided that Muslims are to blame. White supremacists probably wouldn't have been accused, since one shooter's ancestors came from Africa and another's from Europe.

At least one of the attackers is wearing something that looks like olive drab military garb: so someone has probably decided that the American military is to blame.

That's not as silly as it might seem, at least to folks who assume that the Pentagon, CIA, and 'they' are conspiring to do something dreadful. With that mindset, the attack could be seen as infighting or a plot to sway public opinion.

Keeping Track

I'm upset about this attack.

I can understand someone being disgruntled with working conditions, or not approving of American policy, or believing that the Federal government shouldn't act the way it does. But that's no excuse for hurting or killing people.

Since there is almost certainly more than one person involved in the attack, It's also very likely that the motive isn't related to someone's dissatisfaction with a job.

Given the meager facts we have so far, I could cobble together a nostalgic tale involving crazed white guys going after blacks who work for the Navy; explaining the black shooter as one of a team of secret commandos dedicated to spreading law, order, and the American way - - - or the other way around.

That, I think, would be an almost complete waste of time: mine and yours.

Instead, I'll get back to what I was working on before, and check in on the news at intervals.

(BBC News, used w/o permission.)

Background: Washington Navy Shipyard

The Washington Navy Shipyard started as a shipyard, was re-purposed as an ordinance, and now is a ceremonial and administrative center for the United States Navy.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.