Today a gunman opened fire on the Republicans practicing for the Congressional baseball game that will be held tomorrow at Nationals Park, the home of the Washington Nationals. This is a bipartisan game that is held annually and raises over $600,000 for charity. It is a fun event and should be fully supported.
The gunman opened fire with what has been reported to be a military type assault weapon. Upwards of 50 rounds were fired. The House Majority Whip, Steve Scalise (R-LA) was wounded. He lay on the field for several minutes as other members of Congress fled to the dugout to shelter from the gunman. Cong. Scalise is now in the hospital undergoing surgery and should recover.
Since Cong. Scalise is a member of the House Leadership he has a security detail. They returned fire with one of them being hit as well. They were able to bring the gunman down and he is in custody. In addition a staff member for Cong. Williams was also shot and is in stable condition.
Listening to other members that were there being interviewed it became apparent that without that security detail there to engage the gunman the carnage would have been much greater. This gunfire went on for about ten minutes. Cong. Joe Barton (R-TX) stated after the incident that the Capitol Police and the Alexandria Police probably saved the lives of multiple people today with their quick reaction.
I don’t know the motive at this time of the gunman and I don’t want to jump to any conclusions. There was one report that the gunman asked someone if the members of Congress practicing were Republicans or Democrats. Not sure that really means anything. It does mean that someone with a grudge or mental illness was targeting members of Congress
The debate will immediately jump to the issue of gun control. The liberals will blame this on the number of guns in society and the ease in which anyone can purchase a gun. In this case I prefer to call it a weapon. I have long supported a ban on military style weapons. I don’t believe they have a real place in society and in some cases make a possible shooter feel empowered like he is a warrior.
But make no mistake. I am not against guns and I fully understand why the NRA and gun enthusiasts have taken a stand against any ban on these type of weapons. It is because the anti-gun people will not stop at that type of weapon. They will immediately move on to the next gun and demand that it be banned. They will not allow reasonable people to find a compromise. If I were in control I would ban the military style weapons but only if the anti-gun people would then publicly admit they will not longer push for other guns to be removed from the market. I also think a lot of people in society would agree with that position.
I am not optimistic of that type of compromise being struck. There are people on both sides that will not give in on the issue. That is the sad commentary of our society that the extremists on both sides of an issue prevent the moderates in both parties from bringing people together to effect meaningful solutions to the nation’s problems.