On the Navy Yard Tragedy

Normally, I will be discussing a topic in HR and recruiting, but sadly there’s another mass shooting and it is in the area I am familiar with.

I have been to the Washington Navy Yard many times because Nationals Park is located a few blocks from there. At times, I go to Barracks Row/Eastern Market to get something to eat and then walk towards M Street, passing by the Navy Yard, to Nationals Park. There is a tradition at the Nationals game after the third inning where the team honors the troops coming home and everyone stands up to clap and cheer for what they done.

The shooting has a personal effect on me because I know some who work at the Navy Yard. Fortunately, they’re safe and sound, but there are others who weren’t and they have my condolences.

There will be a lot of discussion about gun control and how this is a “senseless act.” I believe in my youth that gun control would prevent murders and crime. However, as I got older, gun control would only be a fraction of the solution. You can reduce guns and gun ownership, but if you’re a criminal, you can find ways to find another weapon to do damage.

There has been a lot of talk of focusing on mental health since there are now studies of how people can commit these crimes that were not in their control. This gives us some sense how a criminal functions. However, even knowing the science doesn’t give us a full picture.

As I research this, if you want to reduce the shootings; it is a combination of gun control, brain studies, and societal factors. What most of these criminals have in common is they have a quick trigger based either on science or what they experience. For the guy who shot at the Navy Yard; he was apparently mad at being discharged and hated someone, thus he planned this shooting by traveling to D.C. and got a stolen ID badge. Could have this been prevented? Yes, but the problem is we don’t know where to start and that’s the tricky part. We probably know the trigger (figuratively), but we can’t go force him to have a brain scan because he doesn’t want to unless he has our permission.

The only thing to really prevent these mass shootings is to be proactive and it has to start early with their development of the brain and then raise them in a respectable environment. This is why you see a lot of bullying prevention programs lately. Even then in the world we live in, there are a lot of channels and open access and if the person sees one things that is offensive, the trigger sets off.

What makes the Navy Yard tragedy personal for me is the proximity to where I live and that I have friends there. I hope today we honor the people who were doing their job and this one person was mad he got rejected, he blamed everyone for a problem he can’t control. I wish we can have background checks on guns, have limited channels, brain scans, and a Utopian society; but that seems impossible based on politics. The only thing you can do is to be respectful and constructive to the one next to you. You don’t have to like the person, but be mindful who they are. People need to be told the world doesn’t revolve around you; you adapt to where you live and hopefully accept it. That’s the best chance of preventing what happened yesterday.


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