Supervisors of Navy Yard Gunman Were Told of Issues

A Washington Navy Yard subcontractor kept Aaron Alexis on the job and did not require him to seek mental health treatment, an internal investigation found.

Comments: 46

  1. This terrible tragedy could have been prevented if someone had taken his mental health status seriously and ensured that he was denied access to the Naval Yard. He needed prompt attention yet no one did anything to get him an emergency mental health evaluation. That he returned to the VA clinic to complain about being unable to sleep should have triggered a more thorough interview with a psychiatrist. If the placement company is unable to recognize a job candidate with mental disturbance, they should be fired (or not hired) for failing to have specialists who have such skills. You can't take a cavalier attitude to such matters.

    A national mental health crisis exists right now and it needs to be made a national priority!!!

  2. And based on those issues, he should have been barred from owning or purchasing guns long, long ago as well.

  3. If every complaint of insomnia triggered a psychiatric intervention, the country's mental health system would crash. It was incumbent upon those aware of his condition to intervene, not those who had no way of knowing.

  4. Is this the recovery in jobs that our worthless government talk about? This is what jobs have become, sub contractors for sub contractors. Pay little, push your people around, and fire them when the boss makes a mistake. This country's day in the sun is OVER!

  5. The problem is obvious. There is no leadership at the contractor, sub contractor or customer level! That explains this incident and the security clearance on both Alexis and Snowden.

    All of these contractors should be fired along with the government employees who supervised their contracts.

    They are all directly involved in this tragedy which could have been prevented with competent leadership in at least one of three organizations.

  6. So sad all the way around. One thing is for sure. US taxpayers are paying for layers and layers of management that used to be handled by the military itself, and certainly seems like it should be again. Having all of these for profit companies managing personnel, always making decisions to make more money, not correctly manage Federal workers and important security jobs. Our government is more far gone than we knew, and these victims' families are left shattered. Senseless violence so men can feel more powerful when they buy all of their weapons and ammo.

  7. The real problem is that we have no way of dealing with mentally ill patients. Despite being reported by her family, the mentally ill woman that unsuccessfully attacked Washington, was killed as a result of an inability to detain her. Everyday, there are dozens of mentally ill patients let go, because there are no other options.

  8. If he had worked where I worked, where the administrators participate in workplace mobbing, some of those people would be dead now, which would be a good thing. It's not just mental health care that's needed, it's a complete overhaul of supervision. Immature and narcissistic individuals with revenge noted in their day calendars against subordinates can spend the whole day through devising humiliating torture, suborning the mission of the institution to their sick and twisted minds. Nothing comes from nothing.

  9. Now the Naval Yard massacre and, still worse, children! Enough is enough. It seems that a great many members of congress are more afraid of the N.R.A then they are respectful of the wishes of a vast majority of Americans who favor the adoption of universal background checks for prospective gun purchasers. However, there may be another path to adopting this and other reasonable gun-control rules -- a means to goad congress to do the right thing.

    Article IV, section 4 of the Constitution requires the Federal government to protect the states from "domestic violence". If a state (or a group of states) were to file a request under this provision that the Federal government adopt reasonable rules, such as background checks, to protect it from gun violence, the government would be under a Constitutional duty to take action.

    For the text of the Constitutional provision and a short discussion see:

    "Breaking Through the Gun Control Logjam - An Alternate Approach"

    at

    guncontrollogjam.blogspot.com

  10. Did you know that he passed the background check when he purchased the shotgun. A gun that Joe Biden advised people to get over an "assault" weapon.

  11. Not to make a point either way about gun control, but I do agree, we must protect not only our loved ones, but those around us if we see someone is sick or dangerous. They guy should have been hospitalized. That's the bottom line. If the laws don't protect us; we should change them.

  12. This is not an isolated case. Mr Alexis's illness was ignored by his employer, by the Navy personnel who discharged him without addressing the problem, and by many others, no doubt. What really happened at the VA? His mother was brave to step forward and my sympathies and admiration go out to her,

    This scenario, the ignoring of severe mental health issues, is a chronic problem in our country. These people need help, sometimes require close monitoring and/or hospitalization. We have ignored this far too long and now we are paying the price.

  13. Yes this is the real issue here. His mom would have gotten him help, obviously, if there was a way to do it. He probably was allowed to refuse treatment, that's his right, to be psychotic. These laws are not protecting him, obviously, and need to be changed. They laws are letting everyone down.
    I do agree an employer or anyone who comes into contact with someone clearly delusional, or maybe even suspect, should step up and protect all of us. It's our duty. That's like seeing smoke and not calling the fire dept. Lets get real; it is that obvious.

  14. From an Americans with Disabilities Act standpoint, what responsibilities would have attached to the Experts as his employer, once his severe mental illness was recognized.

    My supposition here, if it is correct, is that the Experts would have been on the hook for much more than pulling him from work for a few days.

    What's the score here?

  15. Thomas Hoshko says he is "in survival mode." Well, the victims of his company's negligence are in death mode. Perhaps Mr. Hoshko will offer a moment of silence at his next lavish function.

  16. As much of a tragedy as this entire incident was, and in some cases continues to be, there is one thing certain: a gaggle of lawyers is lining up salivating like a Pavlov dog at the certainty of the multiple lawsuits sure to follow.

  17. I want the government to stop doing business with this Contractor and I hope those who survived, relatives of those killed, will sue The Experts and Hewlett Packard. Another problem for a dying company, but this is the only way to get these Contractors to take seriously what they are doing -- that is to examine these issues, to vet the Employees they hire, i.e., to care about mroe than profit. I felt his Mother and Family were not doing enough but this shows her to have at least tried, so now let the Company be ostracized, finned and sued -- the American way.

  18. The "Experts" deserve to fail, but Hewlett-Parckard's hands are not clean, either.

    Stop privatizing government security.

  19. US has such serious problems with mental health that this "oversight" which cost the lives of all those people should be handled in the most serious way possible. Does one have to be walking around talking to a 6 foot rabbit before being considered unstable and requiring help. It seems the American response is a hail of bullets.

  20. Based on all the alarm signs that went ignored, it appears that assessment of the employee fitness for work has turned out to be fiction (or is that fraud?)
    (a) with “Experts,”
    (b) with Hewlett-Packard,
    and (c) with the Navy.

    With as many red flags as there were, a question arises: how much more would Alexis have to display in a way of alarming behavior to be taken note of (short of going on a killing spree)? The individuals who have dropped the ball in a grossly negligent manner need to be prosecuted – not merely fired.

    And the lack of database of the mentally-unstable people who would be barred from buying a gun is another scandal – but this time, don’t blame the NRA; the NRA has squarely supported background checks but WITHOUT a provision for preparing a database of ALL gun owners buried in the fine print (as it was in the rejected bill authored by Sen. Schumer and then naively supported by Sens. Mancin and Toomey. It’s astonishing that some people support legislation based merely on its promising title.)

  21. I am European, I support gun ownership and I legally own a handgun. But I cannot in the least comprehend that somebody who shoots out the tires of a car in the public space in an "anger-induced blackout" is allowed to keep his gun. Obviously, in the USA the right to gun-ownership is not connected to showing responsibility. That is what I find crazy about you guys. Thus don´t wonder if you get shot by some crazed individual.

  22. People knew the guy was dangerous! This was like 9/11, when a movie star who flew back to Boston every other week to visit his mother, told authorities that suspicious guys were on his plane. A week or so before the same guys highjacked one of the planes that killed people on 9/11.

    The Colorado theatre shooter should have been institutionalized when the shrink at his college knew he was dangerous. But all she and the university thought about was themselves. Ditto the woman who just tried to ram the white house. Her wholy and friends should have turned her in. And of the authorities in CT knew she thought the president was stalking her.

    People don't react until there is a mass killing. Like in Boston where the same brothers who bombed the marathon killed 2 guys, or 3, a year or so before. No one cared then, because the guys who were murdered did some low level dope dealing. Well thanks to no one caring about human life, the Boston marathon was bombed.

    Both private citizens and public officials are never going to take criminals and crazy people seriously unless everyone who ignores the danger if prosecuted or at least fired from his job.

  23. All that is so true. What's more is if you do know someone is mentally, clearly delusional, etc. you can not get a hospital to take them because apparently they have the "right," to refuse treatment. Many paranoid schizophrenic people, or with Bi Polar 1 that includes psychoses, as part of their delusional thinking and illness, do not believe they are sick or that they need help. When parents friends of family members try to get them involuntarily hospitalized, it's practically impossible. I took my time and money and took someone to court, who the doctor that testified said he was clearly a danger to himself and others, was put in the hospital, then transferred to a state hospital where they proceeded to release him, even though they had been court ordered to keep him, and force medication on him, they let him go. Guess what, he did not have insurance. Legally they are not supposed to do that, but who is going to prosecute. These laws need to be changed. Either way, we end up paying more tor them when they end up in prison, etc. and it's tragic for them, since they have a biological brain disorder, that can be treated, at least somewhat in most cases. It's a huge problem, and the system doesn't work even when people step up. These laws need to be changed. The country is in denial.

  24. This is ridiculous. The majority of people who are delusional do not need to be "turned in" or "institutionalized." They DO need help and treatment - but the great majority of them are not violent or dangerous or an imminent danger to society, as you seem to suggest.

    Based on what has been reported about this woman so far - and granted, this is speculation - up until this episode, she was functional despite the delusion that she was being monitored by the president - functional in terms of caring for her child, holding a job, etc. - and so she would NOT have met criteria in Connecticut to be hospitalized against her will (danger to self, danger to others, or gravely disabled - ie not able to take care of herself in terms of finding shelter, food, etc).

  25. Typical! Hold the contractor's responsible and give their staff training in how to deal with these issues! But, often the federal employee supervisors just sweep the issues under the carpet and never deal with them so ?????? Whom in the departments monitor and supervise the contractors? - my experience has been no one! So political.

  26. I believe the term "perfunctory" applies here, and to much of the work done by government consultants. Less is more, i.e., the less you do, the more you make.
    Ahhhh, that profit motive again.

  27. Heck - go back to his military career. Being AWOL and insubordinate would have been justification for a DIS-honorable discharge in the old days. That would have shown up on any employment check by prospective employers and been a red flag.

  28. An interesting counterpoint to this story is that post-Patriot Act America is indiscriminately monitoring the communications of hundreds of millions of innocents through secret domestic and foreign surveillance. All this ELINT (electronic intelligence) and SIGINT (signal intelligence) cannot take the place of HUMINT (human intelligence), sound public policy and common sense.

    The Russians, in good faith, gave us ample warning about the radicalization of the Boston Bomber long before he committed mass murder and mayhem on our shores. As this article documents, we had ample warning of the dangerous mental illness that Mr. Alexis was suffering from. But there appears to be little place for human intelligence, common sense or sound public policy in these contractors contracting contractors bureaucracies.

  29. So this is what "a well regulated militia" looks like.

  30. Sounds like Mr. Hoshko should have himself a real reality check himself. Sell off a few of your toy boats and quit having 'lavish' gatherings and you will make payroll. Besides, there's going to be all the upcoming lawsuits to contend with.

  31. Therapy does not cure paranoia. How ridiculous.

  32. As a mental health professional, I agree with you that therapy alone does not cure paranoia, or more specifically delusions. Delusional disorder does not necessarily respond to medication either. However, the role of therapy would be to work with the client and help them learn to co-exist with beliefs that may be disturbing. They can share their perceptions and look at options for coexisting with these beliefs while still living their life. This includes holding down a job. However, the therapist is still bound to report any time a client is a homicidal or suicidal.

  33. i.e., Alexis’ employers wanted to squeeze him dry of any possible work before they tossed him on the scrap pile. Behold here the Military Mind.

  34. not the military mind, the capitalist 'greed is good' mind.

  35. Ah. American greed -- does it know any bounds?

  36. America doesn't any exclusivity when it comes to greed. It is practiced the world over and, I agree, that it knows no bounds.

  37. So, is Mr. Hoshko filing for bankruptcy before the several law suits on behalf of those left without their loved ones because his company failed to heed blatant warning signs that Mr. Alexis was mentally unbalanced? What a shame....really, a crime to disregard his own mother's warning and allow him to continue to work with a security clearance, no less.

    Hewlett-Packard is trying to distance themselves....too late for that. It is agreed that "Experts" could not force someone to get mental health treatment.....however, they should have put him on leave and stripped him of the security clearance....and warned those who were employing him......at the very least.

  38. Isn't it time to start getting government work back in the government, instead of having private contractors doing our sensitive stuff? The Republicans may want smaller government, but private industry seems to have all the symptoms of an out of control frat party gone bad. I still trust my government.....I don't trust so much the "soldiers of fortune" who are paid for their work without understanding that they are a hand of the government and need to be screened, reviewed, and sometimes put on a short rein (read: Edward Snowden).

  39. We would be surprised, but since this is of a piece with Mellon Financial's actions as a contractor to the IRS, which had Mellon employees shredding over 70,000 tax returns instead of processing them:

    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/mellon-to-pay-165-mill...

    to meet production goals, it's just more proof that not all government functions lend themselves to privatization.

    As in the Mellon Financial case, where does the citizen go for re-dress ?

    Will the contractors be paying damages to the U.S. for their lapses and conduct, or will things devolve into finger-pointing and ' shared blame ' which leaves none of the victims ' made whole ' by the beneficiaries of privatization ?

    And since the same back-ground checking company is reported to have checked out Ariel Alexis and Edward Snowden, we're still waiting for the government to file claims for the billions upon billions of quantifiable damages to the U.S. by that company and Snowden's employer, who let him steal.

    Of course, we all know there will be no such suits.

    So we all know that privatizing is a scam which generates a profit stream from the government to people who tend to vote and donate to GOP'ers, but have no ability whatsoever to be liable for catastrophic errors and omissions their employees or ' sub-contractors ' make.

    A guaranteed profit stream, with no liability, is not any sort of ' capitalism ' we recognize or have heard about - it's something else.

  40. correction - Aaron Alexis of course, not Ariel.

  41. R. Law, now that you covered the "contractor" problem: what do we do about the entrenched, secure US Government Employees who do not do their jobs or who are incompetent. You know the traditional and persistent answer to this: we leave them be and very often hire contractors to try to do Feds' work because the civil servants can't be fired or even disciplined for even the most egregious problems. What agency do you work for?

  42. If I am not mistaken, Hoshko appears as Thomas PAUL Hoshko on LinkedIn:
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/hoshko

    With regard to the actions of The Experts, what I have observed is that errant employees are usually given one or two warnings and then let go if the objectionable behavior continues. Had Mr. Alexis disclosed to the company a suspected mental disorder, however, he would have had some protection against outright dismissal, I think, under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  43. Back in the old days this may have been handled in house without any subcontractors. If Hewlett Packard had a direct contract with the military, then a fully vetted HP employee would have been on site rather than a subcontractor. Managers could have contacted their corporate HR department and gained information from knowledgeable HR staff on what to do in this situation.

    Alexis and perhaps his mother, too, could have been referred to an Employee Assistance Program or had mental health coverage under company medical insurance rather than relying on the VA (of course ideally the VA would have been able to help him).

    When I started working in offices 30 years ago, people had long tenures in companies -- my boss had worked there for 40 years. The problem nowadays is that fewer people have the chance to have loyalty to a company. You're not working for HP but for a company many people do not know the name of. You may not have health insurance. And company managers may not know what to do with an employee who has problems and may be hesitant to contact HR -- which may in an office across the country or even overseas.

    And this doesn't even cover the fact that there needs to be a mental health overhaul in this country.

  44. So the Chief Executive of Experts is in "survival mode"? That makes him a lot luckier than the people who were mowed down by a crazy man with weapons whom he employed, recklessly.

    The disturbed murderer himself, as well as his mother, pleaded for help--but everyone blew them off.--Thanks to the NRA for fighting gun regulation, and to the clueless incompetents who allowed his security clearance, and the company who employed him and greedily wanted to keep him working, and to so many others who are to blame for yet another American horror story.

  45. The tragedy is that no one seems to have tried to diagnose what was going with him. Despite the frequent reports that he was suffering from schizophrenia, in fact no one has yet presented any evidence to support this. The complaints from which he suffered could have been due to any number of psychiatric and neurologic disorders of which schizophrenia is only one.

  46. Oh sure now hindsight is 20/20. Lots of otherwise normal people have problems and the employer is hardly in position to do anything unless the hospital staff discloses the patient has made a threat. Most people can "handle" it, Mr. Alexis, unfortunately could not.