While practicing for a charity baseball game, GOP congressmen came under fire from a would-be assassin today. The shooter, identified by police as James Hodkinson of Belleville, IL was injured when Capitol Police providing security at the event returned fire and is reported to have since died of his injuries.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was critically injured in the attack. As of this writing he has left surgery and remains in critical condition. Three others also received gunshot injuries: a capitol police officer, a congressional staffer, and a lobbyist. Another congressmen and a second capitol police officer suffered ankle injuries in the event. (Earlier reports erroneously listed the second officer’s injuries as being from gunshot.)
Hodkinson appears to have been an advocate of far-left policies and a Bernie Sanders supporter who had specifically singled out Representative Scalise in one of his online diatribes.
It’s disturbing enough to see someone using attempted assassination in this fashion, particularly since it gives every appearance of being an escalation of the violence we have already seen from the ironically named “Antifa” (claiming to be “anti fascist” while engaging in blatantly fascist tactics?) and other groups.
Far worse, however is the responses people have been making to the attack. From assorted Twitter and Facebook posts:
“So Rep Steve Scalise who once spoke at a white supremacist event hosted by David Duke (google it) was SHOT today in Alexandria”
“If the shooter has a serious health condition then is taking potshots at the GOP house leadership considered self defense?”
“Before you start dropping to your knees to pray for @SteveScalise remember that he’s a racist piece of shit and hateful bigot”
“Alexandria is the direct result of Scalise’s votes and teabagging beliefs. Love Karma. This is what you vote for trumpsters.”
“Rep Scalise got exactly what he votes for. Bummer. Or karma. Either way good for him.”
“Well the KKK fucker deserved it”
“@SteveScalise was shot in the hip in #AlexandriaVa. It’s as if karma literally bit him in the ass.”
“I don’t care nothing about that shooting in Alexander Virginia oh well karma my people are gunned down all the time by race soldiers”
“Leftist celebrating the shooting.”
“Just heard u were shot today. To bad u are not dead. Now if only 150 more of u repugnants get it. They might drain the swamp.”
Fortunately, the reactions are not all bad.
“Our prayers go out for a full recovery of Rep. Scalise, the congressional aids and police who were injured. We’ve got to stop the violence” Bernie Sanders
“We are pulling for your @SteveScalise. My heart is with you, the Capitol Police, and everyone who was on the scene.” Chris Murphy
“Unspeakable evil. Pray that Rep Scalise, police officers and everyone else will be okay.” Claire McCaskill.
“This morning, the U.S. Congress suffered a despicable and cowardly attack. My thoughts and prayers are with Whip Steve Scalise and the others wounded, Capitol Police and staff, and their families. We are profoundly grateful for the heroism of the Capitol Police, whose bravery under fire undoubtedly saved countless lives. On days like today, there are no Democrats or Republicans, only Americans united in our hopes and prayers for the wounded.” Nancy Pelosi
This is promising, but the others are disturbing. When coupled with the violence of groups like Antifa they suggest that the US has become polarized to a dangerous extent. While there have always been some few who were willing to use violence to achieve political goals they have generally been the extreme fringe despised by both sides of the conventional political spectrum.
But what we’re seeing now is more acceptance of the violence. Oh, few enough are actually engaged in it but we’re seeing more justification of it, more excuses for it, more “they deserved it” about the victims, and more overall acceptance of it.
I fear that if this continues we will soon reach a tipping point, and the results of that will be something nobody wants. Those who think they can achieve their goals that way will be sadly disillusioned. The rest of us? The rest of us can just hope to ride it out, survive, as best we can.
As for me, I simply pray that somewhere down at Urd’s Well the Norns can find within them a tiny drop of pity.