Donald Lambro

It is alarmingly evident by now that Barack Obama's presidency is drifting as he clings to his party's ideological beliefs and narrowing base of support in a sea of troubles.

He began his second term with no core agenda, except to continue playing the role of the nation's chief executive, paying lip service to the problems confronting our country, making excuses for his failed policies, and ignoring reality when it didn't fit into his government- centered mindset.

The most shameful example of this came Sunday when Obama delivered a memorial address near the Navy Yard where 12 people were shot to death by a Navy contract worker with a record of psychotic, violent, gun-wielding behavior.

The tragedy of the Sept. 16 shootings, beyond the loss of so many lives at the Naval facility, was the shocking fact that many government agencies knew about the gunman's violent past but he was given security clearance to military bases anyway.

Everyone knows that Aaron Alexis's mentally troubled past fell through the cracks at many federal departments and agencies. A long, detailed story of government-wide incompetence was plastered across the front page of the Washington Post on the day Obama spoke.

But the central thrust of Obama's speech wasn't about any of that. Instead, it was yet another call for increased gun control, declaring that the random shooting cried out for new "common sense" reforms restricting the sale and availability of certain firearms. Forget, for the moment, that the killer used a shotgun -- the kind of weapon that is perfectly legal to own and is not the target of gun control legislation.

But the real scandal is that frightful details of Alexis's violent episodes were so easily dismissed or overlooked by people in the Defense Department, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Navy officials and other law enforcement agencies.

The public record that was uncovered within days of the shooting reveal a severely mentally ill man who was a ticking time bomb ready to go off at any time.

He was arrested three different times in three states for various acts violence. In one case, shooting out the tires of a car. In another, firing into the ceiling of his apartment into a neighbor's home upstairs, just a few feet from where she was sitting.

In three other instances in other states, police reports cited him for acts of aggression and his hallucinations.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.