Daily Dispatches
This undated cell phone photo shows Aaron Alexis in Fort Worth, Texas.
Associated Press/Photo by Kristi Kinard Suthamtewakul
This undated cell phone photo shows Aaron Alexis in Fort Worth, Texas.

Midday Roundup: Navy Yard investigators ask ultimate question—why?

Newsworthy

Why? The investigation into yesterday’s mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard has now turned to the gunman’s motives. Unnamed sources told the Associated Press that Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old former Navy reservist, had been diagnosed with several serious mental issues, including paranoia and a sleep disorder. He sought treatment at a Veterans Affairs clinic for hearing voices in his head. Alexis died in a gun battle with police after killing 12 civilians and contractors and wounding several others. FBI investigators are asking anyone who knew Alexis to come forward, in hopes they can shed light on his actions leading up to the shooting. Several acquaintances who spoke to the media said Alexis often complained about discrimination, and one person said he was mad at the government over a dispute about benefits. He was a convert to Buddhism and attended a temple in Fort Worth, Texas.

Ship wreck. On Monday, salvage crews raised the Costa Concordia off the rocks where the cruise ship ran aground along the coast of Italy 20 months ago. In what experts are calling an unprecedented salvage operation, crews used a system of cables, pulleys, and water tanks to rotate the massive ship until it once again sat upright. But much work remains before the ship can be floated away from the tiny island of Giglio. The salvage team hopes to haul the ship away by next summer. Thirty-two of the ship’s 4,200 passengers and crew died when the ship capsized. Two people are still missing, but salvage crews reported no immediate signs of human remains after the damaged hulk rolled out of the water.

Faith amid the flames. Fire investigators have determined an electrical malfunction caused the massive blaze that destroyed 68 businesses and four block of New Jersey’s famed boardwalk. The damage to the boardwalk in Seaside Heights is expected to total at least $1.88 million. Gov. Chris Christie pledged $15 million to help local businesses rebuild and additional funds for debris removal. The Rev. Richard Rossell, who pastors Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish and serves as police and fire chaplain for Seaside Heights, praised his parishioners’ faith in spite of this disaster coming so soon on the heels of Hurricane Sandy: “I’m up there, expounding, preaching, the faith of these people. They come back and they’re faithful. … This is what faith is about. I mean, you see the example of these people, they could very easily be discouraged and give up.”

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Rewarding Snowden? Representatives in the European Union have nominated fugitive U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden for one of the parliament’s top human rights prizes. Past recipients of the Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought include Nelson Mandela and Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Members of the Green party, which nominated Snowden, said he had done an “enormous service” for human rights. “Edward Snowden has risked his freedom to help us protect ours and he deserves to be honored for shedding light on the systematic infringements of civil liberties by U.S. and European secret services,” Rebecca Harms and Dany Cohn-Bendit, the leaders of the left-leaning Greens, said in a statement. But Snowden faces some stiff competition for the prize, including Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban last year for demanding education for girls, and former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a critic of President Vladimir Putin.

Leigh Jones
Leigh Jones

Leigh lives in Atlanta and is the managing editor of WORLD's website.

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