Maryann Tobin

On what should have been a quiet Monday morning at the Washington Navy Yard, the air was instead filled with the sound of gunshots. When it was over, 13 people were dead.

The gunman, Aaron Alexis, 34, was a civilian contractor who began his shooting spree at approximately 8:20 a.m.

NBC news reports, the incident began at the Sea Systems Command headquarters. “Alexis was carrying an AR-15 military-style semi-automatic rifle, a double-barreled shotgun and a handgun, law enforcement officials said.”

Law enforcement officers killed Alexis, shortly after he had committing the deadliest mass shooting since 20 children and six adults were gunned down last December at the Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

The bloody scene has become an all-too-familiar one, and not necessarily unexpected in today’s political and cultural environment.

Just about anyone, anywhere in America, can pull out an assault weapon at any time, and murder the people around them. It’s easy to get guns in America, and even easier to use them as an expression of emotion, rather than a tool for self-defense.

It is a sad but undeniable reality that no one in America is truly safe from gun violence. But this is the culture that Americans have created.

For generations, Americans have voted for and supported candidates who encourage unfettered gun ownership. Some gun manufacturers even sell weapons designed for small children.

The National Rifle Association has been instrumental in defending gun ownership. The organization’s public face, Wayne LaPierre, has used fear to encourage gun purchases and his efforts have been successful.

However, gun rights come with another price. In March, a report on Allvoices pointed out that with gun control laws crushed by NRA lobbying, it was only a matter of time before the “next assault weapon massacre in America.”

Today, that report rings truer than ever.

MSNBC’s Pete Williams reported on Hard Ball on Monday night that there was a possibility that Alexis’ mass shooting spree may have been motivated by revenge for being recently fired from his position at the Navy Yard.

If Americans keep believing that no gun safety laws are needed to keep weapons out of the hands of people who use them as an emotional tool, the mass murders will continue.

Author’s note: The opinions and commentary included in this report are based on the author’s independent analysis of official documents and public information.

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