Today was a Very Bad Day™, in a depressingly long and growing list of Very Bad Days™. And while there are bound to be proclamations of “it’s too soon to talk about the implications” countered by “if not not now, when?” and so forth, and also some shooter(s) was/were (religion) and (ethnicity) and this has profound implications because of (generalization and/or inappropriate extrapolation), that discussion really doesn’t interest me right now, because we don’t know everything yet.
Of more immediate import to me is the one certain fact: that we don’t know everything yet. That was true all day, as the stories poured out — they were sketchy and often wrong. One shooter, two shooters, three shooters — the number kept changing. One shooter was down, and then that was withdrawn, and then confirmed, but nobody could say if “down” meant dead or arrested. Shooting at Bolling AFB was reported, and then dismissed as being false.
Information dissemination is fast. Twitter and internet news were reporting this very soon after it started. Information collection is slow, and since it’s also imperfect it requires confirmation, making it even slower. And this is one things that tends to get glossed over in the aftermath. That while all of this was going on, we didn’t really know what was happening. It was true after the Boston Marathon bombing and manhunt, and it was true in all of the other incidents before that. If you are going to get involved in any sort of discussion, don’t fall prey to the notion that anyone had more than scant knowledge, or that anything about this should have been obvious. That’s hindsight bias.
(one note, since you may not be familiar with DC at all: I don’t work at the navy yard. Emotions aside, in the grand scheme of things this event only had a minor impact on my day, in that we were in a heightened security situation)