Where will you stand?
On Wednesday morning, just after 7am, members of congress were under attack.
In preparation for a bipartisan baseball game to benefit charity, each side of the aisle holds early morning practices. The democrats get together in one location and the republicans in another.
Yesterday morning, a man casually strolled up to a couple of congressmen who were leaving practice early. He asked if the people on the field were republicans or democrats. Upon being told that they were members of the GOP, he returned to his car and emerged minutes later armed with a semi- automatic rifle as well as a pistol.
He shot at the congressmen for nearly 10 minutes without pause.
The house majority whip, Steve Scalise was hit almost immediately. He was struck in the flank. News reports are saying that he was hit in the hip. Using the word hip however, tends to minimize the impact of his injury. His pelvic bones were shattered and he sustained massive internal damage. The press seemed to be confused about the extent of his injuries, saying that he would be just fine.
Frankly, that is more of a hope than a given. Scalise has already endured several surgeries and will require several more. He remains in I.C.U.
A congressional staffer, Zach Barth, was shot through the calf. Incredibly, was back at work on Thursday.
A lobbyist for Tysons foods, Matt Mika, took multiple bullets to the chest. His condition is critical and the two capital police, who heroically fought and killed the shooter were injured as well. Chrystal Griner was shot in the ankle and David Bailey suffered leg injuries that did not result from a gun shot wound.
The two members of the capitol police happened to be present only because they serve on Scalise’s protective detail. The majority whip is a high level position and merits protection. Had Scalise not been there, the approximately 24 other senators and guests on the field would likely have been massacred. They were unarmed and without security. Some of the attendees were children who wanted to watch their dads practice.
The scene was horrific and gruesome. One congressman shoved his 10 yr old son under a suburban in order to protect him. The victims were forced to helplessly watch their friends and coworkers bleed profusely as they all tried to seek out whatever little shelter was available. Steve Scalise managed to pull himself about 15 ft towards a dugout by using his elbows. Zach Barth lay on top of a pile of congressmen in a dugout as blood flowed from his leg and the two capital police members ran toward the assailant in order to stop him.
It wasn’t until the gunman had been subdued that the men could lend any aid to the wounded. They were then able to tie a tourniquet around Zach’s leg and apply pressure to Scalise’s hip.
Throughout the remainder of the day, one after another, they would tell and retell their harrowing accounts of the events to reporters.
The reaction was nothing short of stunning. Congress was rattled. Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi each addressed the house and spoke of the need for unity and civility. Gestures were made by the democrats to extend support and prayers to their republican counterparts. Had the situation been reversed, they seemed to understand that they probably wouldn’t have survived. The party that isn’t in power isn’t allotted any security.
Senators and congressmen and women all took the day to reflect and comfort each other. They were all deeply affected by the episode.
Fox News covered the tragic event continuously throughout the day and night. While they focused primarily on the victims and the heroes, there was an undeniable tone of anger.
Clearly, the ultimate responsibility for this incident lies exclusively with the shooter but the current environment of uncivilized rhetoric and demonization of the right has played a role in the escalating political violence that this country faces.
Democratic Virginia governor, Terry McAuliffe took the mic at a news conference shortly after 8 am. He couldn’t prevent himself from immediately turning the event into an advertisement for gun control. Naturally, he couched his remarks in caveats like, of course now isn’t the time to address politics, before continuing with his agenda. It wasn’t entirely unexpected yet it was still a jaw dropper.
Most other politicians had the decency to restrain themselves for a few hours.
The Washington Post led with a front page story on the Mueller investigation. More unnamed sources are feeling chatty. They wanted everyone to know that the president is now personally under investigation for obstruction of justice.
The story may or may not be accurate. Either way, it doesn’t matter. The idea of giving credence to a leak from this supposedly super secretive, above board, council investigation, regarding such an intensely partisan issue in the wake of a politically motivated slaughter was repugnant.
The New York Times provided a similar but more cautious version of the story. Before offering them any kudos for their good choices, one might like to remember that the Times continues to sponsor Shakespeare in the park’s fun little production of Julius Caesar in which a Trump look- alike is stabbed to death on stage.
For the record, the play was attended in record numbers on Wednesday night and received standing cheers as the Trump character was repeatedly stabbed by women and minorities. What a delightful, family friendly show. Surely, you didn’t think that they would take a night off in light of the morning shooting.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper led with the Washington Post story on Wednesday night but quickly transitioned to an appropriately sensitive piece on the attack on congressional republicans.
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes was typically disgraceful. He joyfully opened with renewed optimism about taking down the president before he was forced to sideline the good times to cover the politically motivated shootings. His disappointment was palpable.
The LA Times thought that this would be an ideal moment to admonish republicans about being more amenable to gun control reform.
Unbelievably, it got worse.
Huffington Post writer, Jesse Benn issued a frightful tweet. He suggested that the world would be a better place without Steve Scalise. He also didn’t think that this incident went far enough.
Other low level democratic political wannabes hocked their precious brand of nonsensical gibberish to anyone who would give them air time. A couple of them actually maintained that this was a moment that highlighted the need for much more liberal immigration laws. We’d love to provide the logic for that line of reasoning but we try to make a concerted effort not to indulge lunacy.
To their credit, the cast of Morning Joe seemed to have been appropriately chastened by news of the attempted assassination of members of congress. Although, they reserved most of their judgement and criticism for haters other than themselves. It was an odd thing to see. It was simultaneously repulsive and beguiling.
There is something utterly surreal about watching members of the liberal media wag their fingers at republicans for the current political climate.
We’ve heard no end of vile commentary about the president. We’ve been subjected to a litany of ” artists” performing horrific acts of violence on Trump substitutes. Every single time republicans attempt to initiate a new policy, liberals come out of the woodwork to shriek about GOP plots to winnow down the democratic population by killing off children and the elderly.
The head of the DNC, Tom Perez, has made a tag line out of the phrase, ” Republicans don’t give a s**t about you”
The representative from New York, Kirstin Gillabrand, has recently taken to peppering her speeches with phrases like, F**k Trump, among other charming four letter worded auditory delights.
It is also an inarguable fact that nearly all of the recent politically motivated violence has been perpetrated by the far left. The majority of the culprits actually represent themselves as Sanders supporters. That is in no way to suggest that Bernie Sanders advocates this behavior. He does not.
He seemed visibly shaken when he was told that the shooter had volunteered on his presidential campaign. He immediately gave a speech on the senate floor in which he condemned violence of any sort.
The facts are clear. The media is complicit in the creation of the current atmosphere of unrestrained hostility. Politicians on the left bear some responsibility as well. By reacting with abject hysteria every single time the republicans make the slightest proposal, they encourage fear and rage. Political ads in which a guy who looks like Paul Ryan pushing an elderly woman in a wheel chair off a cliff are entirely unhelpful. Tearful and vitriolic rants about the cruelty and indecency of the Republican Party can no longer be tolerated. They are irresponsible and deceitful.
It doesn’t matter which side’s policies you prefer. You have every opportunity to make your opinion known at the ballot box. Just know that there was indeed a line drawn yesterday and it was drawn with 15 ft of Steve Scalise’s blood.
So the question is this. Where will you choose to stand? Will you discourage inappropriate and foul language from politicians and their surrogates? Will you refuse to support entertainers who market themselves with graphic images of politically motivated violence?
Alternatively, will you sit idly by and silently support further hostility simply because you didn’t want Trump to be your president?
Maybe you find some of it amusing. Maybe you even identify with some of the remarks. That’s really too bad because the bottom line is this, people are being killed and our society is headed no place fun. Either we dial back the level of animosity all the way around or we are now making a conscious decision in favor of anarchy.
For our part, we will no longer use the terms snowflakes or buttercups.
It should go without saying that our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those touched by yesterday’s incident and we wish all of the injured a speedy recovery.
The baseball game will be played at 7 pm this evening. It will air live on C-SPAN.