America came awfully close to experiencing one of the worst mass shootings in our nation’s history.
As it was, Wednesday’s shooting at a practice for a congressional baseball game in Alexandria, Virginia, was an incredibly dangerous situation. Five people were wounded, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who’s in critical condition; an aide; a lobbyist and two police officers who bravely but their lives on the line to prevent any further loss of life.
The shooter, identified as James Hodgkinson, was shot by police. He died later in the day.
We can’t underscore enough how grateful we are more people weren’t hurt and that there wasn’t (as of press time) any loss of life among the victims. Several members of Congress who were present remarked how 20 or more people could’ve been killed. They were sitting ducks, baseball bats their only defense against a disturbed, armed gunman.
The idea that 20 or more members of Congress could’ve been killed is beyond imaginable. Attacking anyone in the fashion as the Alexandria gunman did is callous and evil. That House members were targets makes it an attack on all of America.
In America, we have seen far too many mass shootings. Wednesday’s attack comes virtually within a year of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, when 49 victims were gunned down in a gay nightclub. Mass attacks by gunfire, explosives and even motor vehicles are becoming far too common here and abroad.
The madmen and women responsible for these despicable, cowardly acts are guilty of crimes against humanity. As abhorrent as these acts are, they fail to shake our resolve as a nation. They unite, not divide.
We watched with pride as senior Republican and Democratic leaders stood united, condemning the attack in the strongest possible terms. House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Bernie Sanders delivered moving speeches that needed to be heard.
President Donald Trump did the same, swiftly addressing a nation whose nerves were understandably frayed. It was a wonderful show of unity among our nation’s leaders at a time we needed it most.
Above all, we wish to salute the U.S. Capitol police for its bravery and quick thinking. Officers Krystal Griner and David Bailey, themselves wounded in the shooting, took out the gunman. Griner and Bailey saved many lives, illustrating perfectly that the vast majority of law enforcement officers in this nation really do serve and protect.
Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., summed it up this way:
“The shooting this morning was reprehensible, and I am grateful for the bravery of Officer (Krystal) Griner and Officer Bailey. They each embodied the courage and selflessness that Capitol Police officers display each and every day,” the statement read.
Wednesday’s shooting was a terrible act, a black eye on the very heart of our democratic processes. But it also could have been much, much worse. We are beyond thankful that it wasn’t.
— Aiken (South Carolina) Standard,