In order to fully understand today's mass shooting in Washington, D.C., it helps to know a little bit more about the setting. The Washington Navy Yard in our nation's capitol is a sort of administrative headquarters for the Department of the Navy, including the home office of the Chief of Naval Operations. Not exactly a military base and not quite an office park, the Yard sits in the heart of the city and underscores the partnership between its civilian and military employees.

The Navy Yard Can Refer to a Lot of Things

D.C.'s Navy Yard is like any landmark in any city. There's the literal base where the Navy operates, but the name also refers to an area of the city in Southeast D.C. It's also the name of a stop on the Metro (D.C.'s subway system). The area is close to Nationals Stadium where the city's Major League Baseball team plays. It's also close to the headquarters of the Department of Transportation. People live in that neighborhood and people shop there too. In short, though this shooting happened at a place called the Navy Yard, it's very much a place where civilians work and live. 

The Naval Yard Is Close to the Capitol 

Southeast D.C. isn't busy or as bustling as Northwest D.C., but it is very close to the Capitol Building (right). That's why people got nervous this morning when there the news of the shooting first broke.

The Shooting Occurred at the Naval Sea Systems Command

There are several large buildings in the Navy Yard, including highly secure locations where people need ID access to get in. The building where the shooting occurred, is home to Naval Sea Systems Command.  "The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) is the largest of the Navy's five system commands. About 3,000 people work in the command headquarters at the Navy Yard," reports USA Today.

There Are Armed Guards There

One of the conversations that arises in mass shootings is whether or not more guns could have helped the situation. A lot of that has to do with the NRA, which said that more guns (i.e. armed guards) would help prevent mass shooting scenarios like the Newtown shooting. This mass shooting involved armed officers, and according to NBC News, there was a possibility that the shooter could have picked up another weapon off of a dead armed guard. Although it is a military setting, as on most bases, live weapons are still limited to on-duty military police.