The motive of 34-year old Aaron Alexis (aka Mohammad Salem) in the Navy Yard massacre remains uncertain. There is continuing speculation that he snapped as a consequence of his prior record of mental instability. But other possibilities must not be ignored.
Who he is and what he believes will reveal his motive. As of late Monday afternoon, we don’t know enough to establish a motive, but here is what we are told so far:
Where he lived: Latest residence was 8149 White Settlement Rd. Fort Worth,TX 76108-1602 Originally from Brooklyn. His landlord was Somsak Srisan. Alexis was a native of Queens, New York City and also lived in Illinois.
Where he worked: Alexis served in the Navy Reserves from 2007 and discharged in 2011, stationed at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base. Customers at Happy Bowl Thai, a restaurant owned by Suthamtewakul in Fort Worth said that Alexis occasionally worked there as a waiter.
While with the Navy, officials said he was an avionics electrician. Friends say he left because he didn't like waking up early – others say he was terminated. Recently hired as a civilian contractor by the Navy (3 months ago), reportedly worked for a computer contractor at the Navy Yard. Defense officials say he was currently working as a defense department contractor, but it's not clear if he was assigned at the military base in southeast D.C. One source indicates he worked at some point as a network technician at SnglePoint Technoligies.
He worked for a company called The Experts, a subcontractor to Hewlett Packard on a federal contract to work on the Navy Marine Corps Intranet network, according to a statement from Hewlett Packard. It was unclear if Alexis was still employed by that subcontractor, or if his work took him to the Navy Yard. He had a pass contractor pass to the Navy Yard.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University also says Alexis was an online student pursuing a bachelor's degree in aeronautics. He started classes in July 2012.
Criminal record: He had been arrested at least twice previously: Once in Seattle for malicious mischief, and once in Fort Worth in 2010 for discharging a firearm in public.
Behavioral problems: The Seattle Police Department published the details surrounding Aaron Alexis' shooting out the tire of another man's car in 2004:
At about 8 am that morning, two construction workers had parked their 1986 Honda Accord in the driveway of their worksite, next to a home where Alexis was staying in the Beacon Hill neighborhood.
The victims reported seeing a man, later identified by police as Alexis, walk out of the home next to their worksite, pull a gun from his waistband and fire three shots into the two rear tires of their Honda before he walked slowly back to his home north of the construction site. ...
Following his arrest, Alexis told detectives he perceived he had been “mocked” by construction workers the morning of the incident and said they had “disrespected him.” Alexis also claimed he had an anger-fueled “blackout,” and could not remember firing his gun at the victims’ vehicle until an hour after the incident.
Alexis also told police he was present during “the tragic events of September 11, 2001″ and described “how those events had disturbed him.”
Detectives later spoke with Alexis’ father, who lived in New York at the time, who told police Alexis had anger management problems associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and that Alexis had been an active participant in rescue attempts on September 11th, 2001.
U.S. law enforcement officials stated Alexis suffered a host of serious mental issues, including paranoia and a sleep disorder. He also had been hearing voices in his head, the officials said. He was also obsessed with violent video games.
His religion: A former friend described Alexis as a devout Buddhist. “He loved to go to temple, go to meditate in Thai and English,” the friend said. “He could do both of them.” One landlord claimed Alexis liked to meditate, and other friends said he recently traveled to Thailand. However Buddhism is known as one of the most NON-violent religions in the world. One of his Buddhist mentors indicated he was “tightly wound” but was more likely to commit suicide than kill others. When he visited Thailand for several weeks in 2012, he was not really interested in Buddhism, but was there primarily to connect with a Thai woman who rejected him saying “she had a boyfriend and ‘doesn’t like black guys,’ according to Suthamtewakul.” What else did he do; who else did he spend time with while in Thailand?
How he entered the Navy Yard: It was initially reported that Alexis was carrying an ID card belonging to Rollie Chance, who was placed on administrative leave last October. Chance told officials he does not know Alexis. Navy Yard security failed to void that old ID over a 9 month period, a serious security faux pas. Other reports suggest Alexis had his own ID.
People who knew him: Nutpisit Suthamtewakul claims to be Alexis's former roommate. “He lived with me three years [in Fort Worth],” Nutpisit Suthamtewakul said. “I don’t think he’d do this. He has a gun but I don’t think he’s that stupid. He didn’t seem aggressive to me.” He called Alexis his “best friend”. He said Alexis had been working for a computer contractor. "I don't think he'd do this," said Suthamtewakul. That seems to be a common refrain from those covering for terror acts of their “best friends.”
"Oh boy, I can't believe this," said Somsak Srisan, the landlord at Alexis's last known address in Texas. "He was always very polite to me ... My feeling is if he was angry about anything, he didn't show that to me." Alexis has not lived at the Fort Worth address for six to eight months, he said.
Analysis of above information:
Here are several things that make little sense and draw suspicion:
- Alexis relgion: Buddhist? Makes little sense, unless a) he very recently had an attraction to a different religion, or b) his friends misrepresented his beliefs, c) even Buddhists can snap.
- The names, origins and beliefs of those who knew him: Nutpisit Suthamtewakul and Somsak Srisan. What nationalities are these? Thai? Was Alexis influenced by those living in foreign enclaves and by foreign interests? From Wikipedia:
- Those who knew him best did not mention Alexis anger management problems. Wouldn’t his “best friend” know or say if he had an “anger management” problem? It is difficult to believe that Alexis friends wouldn’t reveal such problems. Was Alexis sworn to secrecy about his proposed acts?
Given that Buddhism is on the opposite end of the “peace/violence” spectrum from Islam, Buddhism is possibly Alexis former religion. Alexis recently visited Thailand. Given that Sunni Islam is a growing presence in Thailand, it is possible that Alexis was influenced or recruited by Thai Islamic interests to carry out his acts. HERE and HERE is what Muslims have begun doing in Thailand. Violence as committed by Alexis is much more in keeping with Islam than Buddhism.
Work place violence? It was “violence at a place where people work”, but was it a place where Alexis ever worked? Therefore it is not confirmed that this is “work place violence.” Anger management problem and retribution? Anger at what and retribution for what? Another Islamic-hate-America inspired terror attack? Possibly. This cannot yet be ruled out, either.
One thing IS certain: Security on the Navy Yard was sorely lacking. How did a person with the offences and mental health issues this man had maintain a Secret Clearance? How did he maintain a pass to a secure facility? If someone else’s month’s old expired security pass was used, why was it still valid on the rolls? How is anyone able to approach the gates with a shotgun? Why wouldn’t there be better security, e.g. more than one or two guards, at the gates?
HERE is a current report of unauthorized people, in this case felons, entering US Military bases. It would seem that folks carrying shotguns would be much more obvious.
UPDATE Sept. 19:
The Navy Yard gunman self-styled “Mohammed Salem”
DEBKAfile September 19, 2013, 5:52 PM (GMT+02:00)
NBC News quoting law enforcement officials revealed Thursday that Aaron Alexis, who murdered 12 people in the Washington Navy Yard this week, created a webpage in the name of “Mohammed Salem.” The officials said “he never did anything with it” and they found nothing else that “might indicate any interest in violent jihad or even Islam.” So how would they describe the deadly attack on the Navy facility - if not “violent jihad?”
No, I do not attribute this attack to a government conspiracy to promote more gun regulation or records snooping, although it is being used for that purpose by the president and others who disrespect our 2nd amendment. And no, just because the insane or terrorists use guns to kill does not in any logical way justify restricting guns used by the rest of us to defend ourselves.
In fact, rather than more gun control, employees in government facilities, especially military facilities, ought to either be allowed or required to carry firearms. Fort Hood and the Navy Yard would have experienced many fewer casualties.