Experts Look at Maine’s Security and Mental Health After DC Naval Base Shooting

Updated 1 year ago

Days after the mass shooting on a Naval Base in Washington D.C., people are still trying to find answers.

The FBI says Aaron Alexis, 34, shot and killed 12 people.

It’s the deadliest action on a military base since the Fort Hood shootings in 2009.

And it begs the question, how tight is security?

MAJ Michael Steinbuchel, State Public Affairs Officer with the Maine National Guard, said “The jobs that we do are high risk jobs and they make us vulnerable, so we want to be very careful in how we admit people on and off our bases.”

Officials here in Maine said security is more important than ever. At 101st Air Refueling Wing in Bangor every car was stopped by security.

“We are committed to providing the safest possible working environment for our people, and of course we take their security as a very top priority,” said Steinbuchel.

There is also a bigger picture when it comes to these sorts of tragedies.

One expert said it has to do with society.

Dr David Prescott, a licensed clinical psychologist, said “People still view mental health disorders as something different than other health conditions.”

It’s not clear if Alexis had a mental illness.

Veterans Affairs records show he never made an appointment with a mental health specialist and failed to show up for other check-ups.

Dr. David Prescott says these issues are common for military members. “In combat situations or high stress military situations, hiding a big part of your life from your other group is not a very good thing.”

Prescott said shielding a mental illness has to do with a stigma that comes with seeking help.

But if you can overlook that, the issues are treatable, add that really do get better either with medication or psychotherapy.

It’s something Dr. Prescott said we need to tackle one day at a time, “You got to keep trying because if people get isolated and feel like nobody understands and nobody cares then it’s only going to get worse.”


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