John Lott’s newest piece was the featured commentary in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review’s Sunday opinion section and it starts this way:
On Tuesday the Department of Defense released its report on the Sept. 16 Washington Navy Yard shooting. But the report focuses solely on how mental illness of the assailant went unreported.
There clearly were mistakes. The Navy did not properly report multiple troublesome incidents during Aaron Alexis’ active-duty service. The government did not tell his employer about any of these problems. When the private contractor noticed instances of psychological instability, it thought that they were aberrations, not part of a pattern, and didn’t report these back to the government.
However, it would be foolish to believe that all potential mass shooters will be identified in advance. Even with better reporting practices, many will slip through the cracks. Besides, it is always much easier in hindsight to realize that people had mental health issues. Besides, mentally ill employees are not the only threat to military bases.
Determined terrorists pose a serious threat, too.
What should be done if the screening for mental illness fails? Or when there is a terrorist plot?
Currently, soldiers on military bases are not allowed to carry guns. . . .
The piece is continued here.
The op-ed has been translated into German here.
So is there a benefit from having another line of defense if identifying the mentally ill doesn’t work? From the Washington Post:
Audit: Felons gained access to military sites
By Ed O’Keefe | September 16, 2013
At least 52 convicted felons have received routine unauthorized access to military installations in recent years, according to a federal watchdog report on security at several U.S. Navy installations set for release in the coming days.
The findings by the Defense Department Office of Inspector General are part of an audit of the Navy’s procedures for granting access to bases. The audit reviewed security operations at Navy installations in Virginia and the District, including the Washington Navy Yard, according to a summary of the audit posted in the agency’s August newsletter. The summary does not provide details about the findings, but inspector general investigations are typically launched in response to a credible report of lapses or wrongdoing.
Draft copies of the audit were shared with some congressional offices on Monday just hours after the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. A congressional aide who has seen a copy of the draft audit said that the report mentions that at least 52 convicted felons had access to military installations…