Coverage of the stalemate in Congress that forced the U.S. government to a standstill

Capital Chaos: Three Tense Weeks for Residents

In the past 18 days, the capital region has confronted a mass shooting at the Navy Yard; the first federal government shutdown in 17 years, and on Thursday, a police chase and shooting on Capitol Hill

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The D.C. area has faced a trying three weeks. In the past 18 days, the Capital region has confronted a mass shooting at the Navy Yard; the first federal government shutdown in 17 years, with thousands of workers furloughed, and on Thursday, a police chase and shooting on Capitol Hill.

    On Sept. 16, the region watched in horror as a gunman stormed Building 197 at the Washington Navy Yard, fatally shooting 12 civilian workers and injuring three other people, including a D.C. police officer.

    Even after the gunman, Aaron Alexis, was shot by authorities, a tense wait persisted for hours before law enforcement determined he acted alone.

    The memory was still fresh Thursday afternoon when the first reports came in that shots were fired near the U.S. Capitol, and the building was on lockdown.

    The images could have been identical: Vehicles from multiple law enforcement agencies crowding city streets, flashing lights, yellow tape. But the lockdown was lifted shortly after police fatally shot Miriam Carey, a 34-year-old Connecticut woman who led police on a chase toward the Capitol after attempting to breach barricades at the White House.

    The chase happened in an area that normally would have been thick with tourists and government workers. Instead, the streets and sidewalks were emptier than usual, a symptom of closed museums and memorials, and furloughs for thousands of federal workers.

    As authorities worked through Thursday's shooting incident, both houses of Congress returned to the floor shortly after the lockdown ended, continuing discussions on day three of a federal government shutdown that's now set to continue into a second week.

    Local residents are dealing with the tension in a variety of ways, sharing their thoughts on NBC Washington's Facebook page.

    "Praying," wrote Monique Pyatt-Pollard.

    "Praying," wrote Vonetta Brown.

    "Vodka," quipped Shannon V. Mummey.

    Some writers compared the chaos of the past few weeks to other difficult times in the city's recent past. "I believe this area is becoming desensitize[d]," wrote Rachel Chandler Liu. "We've had school shootings, lockdowns, [the] sniper, Sept. 11."

    Practical matters are intervening for some, especially those facing furloughs who commented on how they're coping:

    "Not very well, I filed for unemployment on Tuesday and I'm waiting for a response from D.C." said Doris Woods.

    "By continuing my work and hoping they fix everything before our office gets impacted," wrote Matt Miller.

    "By saying extra prayers of gratitude that I moved 2,400 miles away! Yikes!" said Tracy Osborn Barksdale.

    Others were more philosophical.

    "There has always been violence and upheaval in the world, as well as creation and kindness," wrote Christine Kerns Gillette. "It's all in how these events are featured or ignored."

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