LETTERS: Shooting stems from failure to connect dots

To the editor:

As we begin to piece together the facts to find out how a dozen people died Monday in a shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard, we learn that somehow we failed to connect the dots. As families grieve over the loss of loved ones, they are told that a full investigation will begin. That’s of little comfort as they begin to make funeral arrangements.

How could military security service, the agency that granted the shooter his clearance, fail to connect the dots based on the records showing the shooter was arrested by the Seattle police in 2004 for firing several shots into the tires of a car during an altercation over construction near where he lived? His father told the police that his son was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. How could he be given a security clearance when he was discharged from the Navy in 2010 because of a pattern of misconduct that included insubordination, unauthorized absences and other infractions? There was also a weapons incident in Texas in 2010. How do you fail to connect the dots when you are paid to do just that?

All the facts are not yet in, but how could the shooter get himself and a gun in the door and past armed security, whose job it is to prevent such a situation in order to protect those working inside. Now we learn from reports that the Navy might have granted security clearances to numerous felons who could be able to gain restricted access to several military installations across the country, all because of insufficient background checks.

Once again, as a dozen souls are laid to rest, are we to believe that a full investigation is being conducted, to learn why we did not connect the dots?



Truck drivers

To the editor:

I understand that truck drivers deal with others who cut right in front of them, then suddenly slow down. Truck drivers also have to deal with jerks in cars who won’t let them change lanes when they need to, or who pass on the right, where truck drivers can hardly see them. A fully loaded semi takes four times the distance to stop as a car, and the consequences are far more destructive than a car.

That said, I prefer states with laws designating which trucks are allowed only in the two right-most lanes. If the highway is only two lanes, then those trucks must stay in the right lane. Do some of these truck drivers just have no manners? Every day, it seems I’m driving down the freeway at 65 mph, only to get slowed down by semi going 45 to 50 mph in the left lane. What’s worse is when truck drivers decide to create a rolling bottleneck with semis driving side-by-side in every lane, giving other drivers no place to pass. The speed limits of freeways here are mostly 65, with some sections being 75, but truckers go far slower at times.

Trucks should almost never go more than 65 mph. If you know you are causing an inconvenience to the rest of freeway traffic, shouldn’t you move over to the right-hand lanes, so the freeway can work as it was intended? Trucks in the express/HOV lanes are absolutely ridiculous by any measure.

There are 400,000 truck accidents that account for about 5,000 fatalities every year in the United States. Twelve percent of all truck accidents kill at least one person, and 75 to 80 percent of the fatalities are of the driver of a passenger vehicle involved in a truck accident. Sixteen percent of the fatalities are of the truck driver or another person in the truck, and the rest of the fatalities are nondrivers.

Write to your elected representatives and try to get rules passed to keep these big rigs out of the left lanes. Why doesn’t our state pass laws for the safety of us all? Instead, you get more news reports about another sem-truck related death. I drove all manner of large trucks for 45 years and still hold a Class A driver’s license, so I see both sides of this issue.



America vulnerable

To the editor:

Pearl Harbor, 9/11, the Boston Marathon and many other horrific attacks that killed and injured Americans should make clear that we are an overconfident nation. The U.S. is convinced that it has the strongest, fastest and smartest population in the entire world. Americans always underestimate the power and brains of our enemies. No matter how many systems or people we have performing surveillance and monitoring 24/7, we are still vulnerable to attacks.

The most logical deterrent, which would at least prevent some attacks, is an alert citizenry reporting anything suspicious, and then following up on those reports. Every American should make observations as though any suspicious thing they see — while they are shopping, eating out, traveling or at work — is a potential threat.

Each and every day, I think an attack could happen. Those who would harm us are working at it 24/7. They are determined to succeed. They know us better than we know them. Wake up, and stay awake.