The US needs to look at its violence problem without ideological blinders
It’s happened again. This week’s horrifying assassination attempt against Congressional Republicans as they practiced for a bipartisan charity baseball game reminds Americans that violence is ever present in our society.
Four innocent people were shot and the highest-ranking victim, Rep. Steve Scalise, remains in critical condition at this hour. However, the fact that Scalise is the majority whip in the House of Representatives may be the only reason there wasn’t a far worse massacre. As the third-ranking Republican in the House, Scalise travels with bodyguards from the Capitol Police (two of whom were shot while protecting Congress-members). Had they not been present, a much bloodier event would have surely transpired.
The gunman was fatally wounded by those bodyguards – thereby saving uncounted lives – in a wild melée with dozens of rounds expended in a firefight on a suburban baseball diamond. James Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old from the St. Louis suburbs, was exactly the sort of angry ne’er-do-well commonly associated with such killings. A man with a lengthy arrest record known for violent outbursts, Hodgkinson descended into ever-greater anger until he traveled to Virginia to kill his political enemies.
On social media and in person, Hodgkinson exuded hatred for Republicans in general and President Donald Trump in particular. Whether the difference between this killer’s ideological venom and that of millions of perfectly peaceful liberals was one of degree or kind looms as an important question right now. Regardless, it would help the country if citizens on both sides of the aisle took this week’s tragedy as an opportunity to tone down our increasingly shrill political rhetoric.
Read the rest at The Observer …