The Pentagon Says the Navy Yard Shooting Could Have Been Prevented

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 18 2014 2:37 PM

The Pentagon Says the Navy Yard Shooting Could Have Been Prevented

180884415-in-this-handout-provided-by-the-fort-worth-police
Aaron Alexis poses for a mug shot after being arrested on September 4, 2010 for discharging a firearm inside city limits, a Class A misdemeanor in Fort Worth

Photo by Fort Worth Police Department via Getty Images

Last year's Navy Yard shooting was preventable, according to a newly released internal review by the Pentagon that found "missed opportunities for intervention" that might have been able to prevent Aaron Alexis' Sept. 16 spree that killed 12.

Chief among those missed opportunities were a number of potential red flags about Alexis' health and behavior that either went unnoticed or unreported by his superiors, including what the Defense Department described as a "pattern of misconduct and disturbing behavior." Here's the Politico Pro with the broad strokes from the report:

[Adm. John] Richardson’s investigation found that, with hindsight, there were many warning signs about Alexis. He’d been arrested several times and gotten into trouble during an undistinguished stint as an enlisted sailor. Alexis’s supervisors at HP’s subcontractor, The Experts, where he went to work after getting out of the Navy, noted several examples of bizarre or paranoid behavior.
At one point, Alexis took apart a hotel bed because he believed someone was hiding under it, and taped a microphone to the ceiling “to record the voices of the people that were following him.” And Alexis told police officers with Naval Station Newport, R.I., that he believed he had a chip in his head and mentioned “microwave signals.”
Advertisement

Alexis troubled history began even before he joined the Navy in 2007 with multiple traffic tickets and, more notably, an arrest for shooting out the tires of a construction worker. Things didn't get much better after he was accepted in the Navy either: He was arrested for disorderly conduct, disciplined by the Navy for drunken behavior, and arrested for shooting a gun at his apartment.

According to the Washington Post, in the wake of the report Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is now calling for a "continuous evaluation system" to screen federal employees with security clearances to better spot potential problems.

Kelly Tunney is a Slate intern in New York City.

TODAY IN SLATE

History

The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

The Supreme Court, Throughout Its History, Has Been a Massive Disappointment

Why Indians in America Are Mad for India’s New Prime Minister

Damned Spot

Now Stare. Don’t Stop.

The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 30 2014 2:36 PM This Court Erred The Supreme Court has almost always sided with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful, a new book argues.
  Business
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 30 2014 1:16 PM You Deserve a Pre-cation The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.
  Life
Education
Sept. 30 2014 1:48 PM Thrashed Florida State’s new president is underqualified and mistrusted. But here’s how he can turn it around.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 4:45 PM Steven Soderbergh Is Doing Some Next-Level Work on The Knick
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 4:59 PM China’s Not the Problem With Carbon Emissions. We Are.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.