are you surprised that a person could get close enough to a congressman with a gun to actually shoot them? especially after giffords?
No, I’m surprised that more members of Congress haven’t been targeted for assassination, especially after Gabby Giffords was shot (and five innocent people were killed) in 2011. We live in an ugly and dangerous political climate and we’ve seen so many members of Congress confronted by constituents in tense town hall meetings, particularly since the beginning of the Tea Party movement, that I am genuinely surprised there haven’t been more assassination attempts or physical attacks.
It’s weird to put it this way, but we’ve been somewhat lucky that the shootings in Tucson and at the Congressional baseball practice have been the extent of physical attacks against members of Congress in this political atmosphere. That’s even more true when you think about the fact that members of Congress – particularly those in the House of Representatives – are surprisingly accessible, especially when they return to their districts and hold public meetings with constituents (and most do this a few times each month). And Congressional offices frequently share upcoming public schedules of Senators and Representatives. Members of Congress are usually pretty visible, but that also makes them dangerously vulnerable.
The vast majority of members of Congress don’t have any type of security protecting them in public. Only the leadership in both chambers of Congress are assigned security; fortunately, Representative Scalise is the third-ranking member of the House majority’s leadership because the presence of his security detail at the baseball practice on Wednesday probably prevented a massacre. But it’s impractical for all 535 Senators and Representatives to receive personal protection 24/7. The costs would be exorbitant and it would be a blow to the whole idea of our Congress if the people’s direct representatives had to be protected from the people at all times by armed security.
However, we should worry about the safety of the people that we send to Congress to represent us. I’ve been thinking about that over the past few days since seeing some of the questions and comments I’ve received since Wednesday’s shooting. What happened to Steve Scalise isn’t something to celebrate any more than we would have celebrated or put up with celebrations by people on the other side of the aisle when Gabby Giffords was shot. No matter how we might feel about an individual member of Congress or how frustrated, angry, and outraged we might be at the institution as a whole (and, don’t get me wrong, it sucks), these are our representatives. In Speaker Ryan’s fantastic speech on Wednesday following the shooting, he said, “An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.” He didn’t just mean that an attack on a Republican Congressman is the same as an attack on a Democratic Congressman. We sent these public servants to Congress in order to directly represent us, and we can disagree but we shouldn’t stand by and let anyone unilaterally decide that they can use violence as a veto power over the will of the electorate. An attack on our representatives – ANY of our representatives – is an attack on you and me and our friends and families. Most importantly, it’s an attack on our freedom of choice and on our power to choose whomever we think can best represent the things that matter to our communities. It is extremely important for us to protect those freedoms and, yes, to protect the people we send to represent us because there are times we have to understand the differences between the individual and the importance of the office, or between the individuals and the importance of the institution. And sometimes the individual in the office and the individuals in control of the institution don’t seem worthy of our respect let alone deserving of our protection, but they are worthy and they are deserving. Because they are our offices and institution.
JUST IN: Crystal Griner, the US Capitol police officer who was injured in the congressional baseball practice shooting attack, throws out the first pitch tonight at the Congressional Women’s Softball Game.
Although the weather in Washington looks headed toward a near-flawless summer night, an obvious and immovable shadow is being cast over Thursday night’s Congressional Baseball Game — a tradition that began more than a century ago.
Rep. Steve Scalise, the third highest-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, is still in critical condition after undergoing his third surgery Thursday morning as a result of a gunshot wound to his hip. He was one of five people wounded Wednesday in an attack on a Republican team practice in Virginia.
Since the shooting, members of Congress have spoken about a need for unity, at a time when polarization seems to be at an all-time high. The 59th annual baseball game, played at Nationals Park in southeast Washington, looks to be a place where members can show it.
maybe the only thing worse than a gunman using a republican congressional baseball practice as a shooting range is that all these congressmen who just literally almost fucking died and almost had their staffers die are already saying, “we had no weapons, if we’d had weapons we could’ve fought back, the only reason we survived was because our two security guards had guns” like are you sure that’s the takeaway here? still cool with the law fully permitting a guy to bring a semiautomatic rifle to a baseball game?
Scalise Shot by Assailant at Congressional Baseball Practice
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot Wednesday morning at congressional baseball practice in Del Ray, Virginia, and at least four others were also injured, according to a lawmaker who was at the practice. Alexandria police said on Twitter a suspect was in custody.
Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama said on CNN that he and other lawmakers tried to apply a tourniquet with his belt for one injured person to try and stop the bleeding.
“There must have been 50, 100 shots fired,” Brooks said.
Brooks said Capitol security forces were firing back with pistols at the shooter until the shooter was tackled to the ground.
The House Republican baseball team has been practicing in recent weeks in early mornings at the Alexandria site for Thursday annual congressional baseball game.
Scalise has been a avid participant in the game since arriving in Congress.
He is the third-ranking House Republican as whip, the chief vote counter in the Republican conference.
Brad Wenstrup, a Republican congressman who served as a military surgeon in Iraq, attended to Scalise after the shooter was down, Brooks said on CNN.
Brooks said the assailant “was trying to take out our security detail” before he turned to lawmakers.
Representative Ron DeSantis, a Florida Republican, left a few minutes before the shooting but told Fox News that a man walked up and asked if Republicans or Democrats were out on the field. He wasn’t carrying anything, DeSantis said.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, two Capitol Hill police officers, a lobbyist, and a staffer to Rep. Roger Williams, Zack Barth, were shot at the Alexandria baseball fields.
At a press conference on Wednesday morning, President Trump said the suspect in the shooting had died at a hospital.
Authorities have not yet publicly identified the suspect, but sources told multiple outlets that Hodgkinson was the suspect.
Hodgkinson’s wife told ABC News he has been living in Alexandria for the past two months.
Facebook pages that appeared to belong to Hodgkinson showed multiple posts critical of President Trump and supportive of Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina told BuzzFeed News the gunman asked whether those practicing were Republicans or Democrats before opening fire. Shown an image of Hodgkinson from his Facebook page, Rep. Duncan said the photo matched the man he spoke to.
Hodgkinson appeared to own a home inspection company, JTH Inspections, according to the business review website Yelp, his Facebook accounts, and online business records.
His Facebook page, which has been swarmed by users’ comments after Hodgkinson was identified as a suspect, contain multiple posts dating back to at least 2014, that are critical of the Republican party.
Hodgkinson appears to have a particular interest in political cartoons that took aim at Republican figures and their donors, as well as the politics and policies of the GOP in general.
Sen. Sanders said he had been informed that Hodgkinson volunteered on his presidential campaign.
“I am sickened by this despicable act,” Sanders said in a statement. “Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms.”
This is a developing news story. Check back for updates.
Gunman wounds a House GOP leader, 4 others in shooting that stuns Capitol
Gunman wounds a House GOP leader, 4 others in shooting that stuns Capitol
A rifle-wielding attacker opened fire on Republican lawmakers at a congressional baseball practice Wednesday, wounding House GOP Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and several others as congressmen and aides dove for cover. The assailant, prepared with “a lot of ammo,” fought a gunbattle with police before he, too, was shot and later died. Colleagues said Scalise dragged himself away from the infield leaving a trail of blood as they rushed to his assistance. He was taken to a hospital where he underwent surgery and was listed in critical condition. The shooter was identified as James T. Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old home inspector from Illinois who had several minor run-ins with the law in recent years and belonged to a Facebook group called “Terminate the Republican Party.” In his first remarks on the shooting, President Trump urged Americans to look past their frequently toxic political divisions.
We may have our differences, but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone who serves in our nation’s capital is here because, above all, they love our country. … Everyone on that field is a public servant. Their sacrifice makes democracy possible.
President Trump, addressing the nation from the Diplomatic Room of the White House
Shortly after the shooting, Bernie Sanders, the former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, said on the Senate floor that the shooter apparently was a volunteer for his campaign last year. Sanders said he was “sickened by this despicable act” and denounced the violence “in the strongest possible terms.” Lawmakers were stunned in the aftermath of the event, which raised questions about the security of members of Congress. The shocking event left the Capitol horrified and stunned. The House canceled proceedings for the day. Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California both spoke on the floor issuing calls for unity. “An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us,” Ryan said. FBI special agent in charge Tim Slater said it was “too early to say” whether it was an act of terrorism or whether Scalise was targeted.
When a gunman opened fire at congressional baseball practice, the sound of gunshots caused people to run to safety. Gutting silencer safety laws could make shootings like this more deadly, but the NRA’s allies in Congress are pushing a bill that would allow convicted felons & people with dangerous mental illnesses to buy gun silencers without a background check.
Text SILENCERS to 644-33 and tell your member of Congress to OPPOSE the gun silencers provision in the SHARE Act.