His name was Aaron Alexis but because he chose to walk into a Washington D.C. Naval Yard of over 3,000 people and kill twelve of them, his name will not be mentioned again in this column. President Barack Obama called the tragedy down the road from where he lives a “cowardly act” so I will follow his lead and refer to the shooter as The Coward.
The Coward was born in New York City in 1979. But he came into the national consciousness yesterday because everyone who met him, including his employer, the reason why he was in that Naval Yard, The Experts (a subcontractor on an HP Enterprise Services contract to refresh equipment used on the Navy Marine Corps Intranet network), ignored more red flags than 1920s Soviet Union – China Bar-B-Q.
The Coward was a devout Buddhist, practicing a religion that preaches serenity, forgiveness, and personal accountability. But he was a keeper of grudges who carried a concealed a .45 caliber handgun almost everywhere he went and threatened many who angered him. In 2004, while working construction in Seattle, Washington, he would stare at co-workers he didn’t like for hours and eventually shot out the car tires of one of them in a “rage fueled blackout” he claimed to not remember. The Coward was arrested but never charged.
In his last known permanent residence, Ft. Worth, Texas, in 2010, he discharged his favorite .45, allegedly while cleaning it, and the bullet pierced the floor of his apartment, the ceiling of his downstairs neighbor’s, landing in the woman’s living room. But it was Ft. Worth, Texas. That’s called a good time on a Saturday night and lawmakers have womens’ vaginas worry about. No charges were filed after The Coward’s arrest.
The Coward was a veteran of the Navy, serving kind of, sort of, honorably for four years. He was discharged from the reserves (he was never called up) after a series of conduct issues. He worked in Japan as a contractor, allegedly wasn’t paid properly, to his terms, and told anyone who would listen he hated the Navy as a result. Yet, he was still hired by The Experts.
With all of this on his docket, sometime in the past week, The Coward bought NRA lovers’ favorite weapon, the Ar-15, legally, in a northern Virginia gun store. They run background checks there, but I don’t think that’s working, because The Coward’s background was terrible, but he added the high-powered people killing AR-15 to his arsenal of a Glock handgun and a a Remington 870 12-guage shotgun. Because, you know, everyone needs these three as well as the trusty .45 for home protection and deer hunting. He carried all of these weapons onto the Naval Yard. But he wasn’t done shooting holes in the theories and arguments of the modern day gun debate. During his 30 minute rampage, authorities believe (due to the size of the gunshots and injuries of the 12 people killed and 3 wounded) that The Coward picked up weapons from his victims and used them.
You read that correctly. No typos. That argument that if everyone was armed then more massacres would be prevented? Yeah, well, half the Naval Yard appears to have been strapped and nothing but more tragedy happened.
Twelve people are dead and the fault lies with The Coward, not his guns or the victims. He got up yesterday morning and decided to be a terrible human being. He’s dead now, after a shootout with police. Whether anger management or any mental defects were in play have yet to be determined. But The Experts, prosecutors in Seattle, Ft. Worth and Washington D.C., and military authorities have got to do now is throw out their antiquated ideas about guns and what a killer looks like and start protecting the American people. I don’t know about you but I’m getting tired of crying for my fellow Americans who die because they don’t have to, but because some people feel the need to misinterpret the second amendment. The cowardly act could’ve been prevented.
On a lot of things, yesterday, The Coward proved all of us to be wrong.
after press time of this post, the FBI told media sources that there was no evidence the Navy Yard shooter used the AR-15 he purchased in Virginia. The image of the AR-15 was taken down and replaced with the pictures of guns like the ones verified to be used the tragedy.
Lance Burson is a writer living outside Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and three daughters. He doesn’t own a gun.