Calamity Politics is a political blog where we try to post relevant political news, tart commentary, engaging analysis, focusing on progressive opinions and speculations primarily written by me, Darlene Mitchell, a life long agitator and troublemaker. Due to some recent health issues I have been silent for several days. I’m doing fine, but I have a few tests and doctors visits in my near future. So, enough on my medical condition, let’s get to what’s going on in the United States political news scene.
Flag Day, June 14, 2017, ironically is my son’s birthday and the birthday of Donald J. Trump, President of the United States. June 14, 2017 was also another day of gun violence in the United States.
In an upscale Alexandria, Virginia neighborhood, a well armed lone gunman, opened fire at a Republican baseball team practice, wounding 4. Three Capital Police officers, assigned to Majority House Whip Stephen Scalise returned gunfire, by witness accounts, saving multiple lives. The legislators and aides had been practicing for the last several weeks for their up coming annual benefit game against the Democrats.
The Republican Team Had Been Practicing At The Same Baseball Field For The Last Several Weeks
Within minutes, officers from local police departments converged on the site in response to numerous 911 calls. The arriving officers immediately engaged the shooter. Two of Scalise’s security detail, Capital Police officers, were wounded in the gunfire. Crystal Griner was wounded in the ankle and another Capital Police officer, David Bailey was wounded in the leg. Bailey was treated and released, while Griner remained hospitalized for her injuries.
Representative Scalise was shot in the hip. The rifle bullet tore through internal organs and left the Louisiana House Rep, near death. Also critically wounded was Matt Mika. Mika was shot multiple times and was at last report on a respirator. Mika is a former congressional staffer, now working as a lobbyist for Tyson Foods.
A staffer for Representative Roger Williams, Zachary Barth, was also shot and is hospitalized with undisclosed injuries. Roger Williams (R. Tx) was also injured in the melee, spraining his ankle as he ran for cover from the hail of gunfire. Roger Williams, was treated and released on crutches.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R.La.) Wounded Critically
The shooter has been identified as 66 year old, caucasian, James T. Hodgkinson from Belleville, Illinois. Hodgkinson was shot multiple times and was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital. Hodgkinson, a former home inspector, who had sold his business and allowed his Illinois contractor license to expire last November was identified by his Illinois driver’s license. His wife told reporters that “he sold everything and went to Washington, to work on taxes.”
Neighbors state that Hodgkinson has been visible in the Alexandria, Virginia up scale enclave for the last 4-5 months. Hodgkinson, who was described as “quiet, but a bit gruff,” had been seen daily at the local YMCA, and appears to have been living in his white cargo van.
Hodgkinson’s motives are unclear. Multiple anti-Republican and anti-Trump postings were found on his Facebook page. Posts condemning Clinton were also noted, however not to the extent of his rants and ravings on social media against the Republicans. Hodgkinson claimed to have worked for the Bernie Sander’s campaign, however Sander’s quickly came out denying any connection with the shooter after reviewing volunteer records from Illinois.
Additionally, the names of six Republican law makers along with their Capitol Hill office numbers were discovered among the shooter’s personal effects. And, at least one bystander reported the shooter asking, “Who’s playing, Republican or Democrat?” Early information seems to support the theory that Hodgkinson may have been specifically targeting Republican office holders.
Statements from President Trump, and both Democratic and Republican leadership, stress a need for folks on both sides of the political argument to turn down the heated rhetoric and focus on getting the people’s work done. It looked like a real Kumbayah moment for everybody. Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi took to the House floor and spoke of a unified voice against violence. I guess when gunshots are flying by your ear, it might be a ‘Pass Jesus in front of you moment’.
Kumbayah Moment In Washington, D.C. After Shooting Of Republican Congressmen, Aides, And Capital Police
Grab hands; forget that we have had knives at each others throats for nearly a generation. Since the time of the divisive, combative and disgraced former Speaker, Newt Gingrich, the tone has been hot and nasty. Very nasty.
Speaking of the divisive Mr. Gingrich he has been making the rounds of the cable news networks, working to gin up the right wing base with attacks against any and all “liberals,” “lefties,” and the “Democrats” specifically, because these groups are “inciting radical violence” against President Trump, and the GOP. Citing the Alexandria shooting on “liberals.”
The Republicans have sunk so low that a SuperPac promoting the Republican candidate for congress Karen Handel in Georgia’s 6th District is using attack ads against Democrat Jon Ossoff showing pictures of wounded Rep. Scalise being carried from the field alleging it to be a “liberal attack” against the Republican baseball team. Mind blowing.
Cynic that I am, I think any moderation in tone is a momentary thing. It can’t and won’t be sustainable. But, I’m willing to watch and comment along the way.
I must mention that firebrand musician Ted Nugent is calling for a cool down of the rhetoric. Thank you, Ted.
Lastly, I want to say that I am appalled at the second mass shooting on Flag Day, in San Francisco, where three people were killed and two wounded by a disgruntled UPS worker at a packaging center, where after shooting his co-workers, the gunmen turned the gun on himself, committing suicide.
At some point, we as a country need to decide if the killing of thousands of people in this country annually by gun violence is worth examining.
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