Washington D.C. and the surrounding area is one of the most anti-gun zones in the nation. Despite the Supreme Court’s Heller and McDonald decisions, affirming the Second Amendment as a fundamental, unalienable, individual right, local politicians have done everything they can to disarm the law abiding. This morning, the consequences of creating a huge victim disarmament zone became obvious. Fox New Reports:
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and a congressional aide were shot by a rifle-wielding gunman who sprayed a hail of bullets at a GOP baseball practice in Virginia Wednesday morning, before U.S. Capitol Police took the gunman down.
Scalise was ‘badly injured,’ according to a tweet from President Trump, but expected to recover. A spokesperson from Scalise said he was s’table’ and undergoing surgery after being shot in the hip. Five people were ‘transported medically’ from the scene, Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown said. It appeared that included Scalise, a congressional aide, the gunman and two law enforcement officers — one of whom was hit by fragments.
Fox interviewed a witness who apparently knew what he was talking about. The suspect, who is in custody, was shooting an “AK-47 type” rifle, and once taken under fire, appeared to be moving and shooting. The rifle was apparently a semi-automatic. He was described as an adult male, and some reports have identified him as a James T, Hodgkinson III, 66, of Illinois, but little else is known about him or his motivations. Reports suggest from 50-100 shots were fired, but as is virtually always the case, such things can’t be taken as gospel early on.
Local police arrived within 3-4 minutes–an unusually fast response time–but what made all the difference in keeping the number of casualties low was the presence of plainclothes Capital Police bodyguards. They were apparently able to engage the shooter almost immediately. It is not, as this is written, known if they shot the shooter, or of the responding local police did, but they clearly forced him to act defensively and direct his fire toward them rather than his intended victims. The plainclothes officers were probably there, because as a member of the congressional leadership, Rep. Scalise has a full time security detail.
Regular readers will recognize this recurring theme: the police cannot protect any individual, and have no legal duty to do so. Their duty is only to the general public, and is limited to deterring crime by their presence, and investigating crimes after they occur. There are very few police officers, and with rare exceptions, they will virtually never have a role in stopping active shooters. This case is apparently a sort of exception, but only because plainclothes personal protection officers were present and able to more or less immediately return fire. As always, we are responsible, individually, for our safety and the safety of those we love.
The people practicing for a baseball game were apparently all Republican representatives and their aides. We don’t know if the shooter attacked them because they were Republicans, nor do we know, for the moment, anything of his politics or motivations. We don’t yet know if this was a terrorist attack, an attack motivated by the contemporary poisonous political atmosphere, or merely the result of the fevered imagination of a deranged person.
There can be no doubt this shooting will renew Democrat calls for gun bans. They have been demanding “assault weapon” bans in DC for years, and in the finest Obamite style, they won’t let a crisis go to waste. The Clinton gun ban, in effect for a decade, accomplished absolutely nothing for public safety, but such niggling details never stop progressives. The irony, of course, is DC and surrounding environs are among the most heavily regulated victim disarmament zones in the nation. The effect of this, obviously, is to disarm the law abiding. Criminals don’t obey the law and will always obtain whatever weapons they please. Someone planning mass murder is hardly going to say: “Uh-oh. Guns are illegal where I’m planning to kill people. Guess I’ll have to think of something else.”
We carry concealed weapons not because we can predict where an attack might take place, but because we can’t. It’s a certainty none of the people on that baseball field expected to be taking fire early that morning. This incident is an excellent example of the fact that the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
It will be interesting to see how many Republicans take the wrong lesson from this incident. What’s the wrong lesson? Anti-gun laws protect people. Will our representatives, men and women protected by agents carrying guns at taxpayer expense, decide they should deny the law-abiding their own means of protection, or will they continue to support the Constitution, to whatever limited degree they normally do?
SMM wishes Rep. Scalise, and the others injured in this attack, speedy and complete recoveries. I’ll continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
UPDATE, 0614-17, 1950 CST: The shooter–James T. Hodgkinson of Illinois–has been identified, and is dead, having died of his wounds shortly after being transported to an area hospital. It will come as little surprise that Hodgkinson was a staunch Bernie Sanders supporter, and a follower of “Democratic Socialism” as this screenshot from his Facebook page illustrates. Several other screenshots appear in this post. I have also discovered that his Facebook page has been scrubbed and no longer appears on the Internet. No doubt, some will say Hodgkinson was killed to keep him from talking, but there is no known evidence of that.
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) left the practice only a few minutes before the shooting, but not before Hodgkinson asked him “if the team practicing was a Democrat or a Republican team.” Duncan affirmed the players were Republicans, and Hodgkinson thanked him and left. He was not apparently armed at that point.
With this in mind, I’m sure we’ll never know with certainty what motivated Hodgkinson.
Reports suggest Hodgkinson left his home in Illinois, where his wife still lives, several months ago, planning to go to Washington to “protest.” There can be no doubt he was serious about that. Other reports indicate Hodgkinson was ‘distraught” about the election of Donald Trump. Kemberlee Kaye has more on Hodgkinson’s virulent progressivism at Legal Insurrection.
As I suggested in the initial post on this incident, little time would be wasted demanding gun control, as Mary Chastain, also at Legal Insurrection, notes with these screenshots of tweets, the first in response to VA Governor Terry McAuliffe, who immediately went after law-abiding gun owners, claiming “we lose 93 million Americans a day to gun violence”:
Hmm–93 million times three and add a bit–America should be depopulated by, say, Monday afternoon. Illegal immigrants, come on in! Country’s all yours!
Frum is, of course, incorrect. All new gun purchases in VA and elsewhere require an FBI background check, and Federal law bans registration. VA’s concealed carry law applies only to handguns, and the idea that anyone would try to conceal a long gun is nonsense. There is no evidence whatever Hodgkinson bought his rifle and handgun in VA or the Washington DC area, rather, he brought them from Illinois.
Hodgkinson came to the baseball field not to shoot congressmen, but to shoot Republican congressmen. Some have already begun to compare this attack to the attack on then-congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. There is no comparison. Not only was her attacker a Democrat, he attacked Giffords, a Democrat.
One cannot, in our republican democracy, limit speech to that which might not provoke the insane to violence, but free speech allows us to reasonably place blame for needless and foreseeable provocation. The progressive war against Donald Trump is unprecedented. Not only have progressives, including virtually the entire Democrat contingent in Congress, proclaimed Mr. Trump illegitimate, they have screamed for his impeachment even before he took office. They, and their supporters, call Mr. Trump a traitor, they continue to push the fanciful Russian collusion narrative, and do everything they can to keep Mr. Trump from doing his job. No insult is too low, no incitement to violence out of line. Only today, congressional Democrats filed a lawsuit against Mr. Trump claiming he violates the Emoluments clause because he has part ownership–shares–in hotels where foreigners occasionally stay. This is legal nonsense, and nothing more than a juvenile political attack. As an example of working together and toning down vicious and destructive narratives–not so much.
The viciousness with which Progressives continue to attack Mr. Trump and his entire family is unprecedented. So too is their praise over a production of Julius Caesar featuring Caesar dressed up as Donald Trump, and a particularly gruesome assassination scene. Progressives just love that one. Many of them have been calling for his death since the campaign.
Had a Republican attacked Democrats, the screams for the heads of anyone that ever dared criticize progressive ideology would never end. The media would spend most of its time trying to expose evil Republicans that dared oppose the saintly Democrats whose only concern is for the welfare of the people.
Congressmen on both sides of the aisle are, for the moment, circumspect, calling to tone down the rhetoric and to work together. That will last perhaps two or three days, because Trump.
I did see several interviews with Republicans that were present at the baseball field. Many spoke of their helplessness and anguish at finding themselves weaponless against an armed attacker. All were very grateful for the two Capital Police bodyguards, and disturbed that had Rep. Scalise and is two bodyguards not been there, they would have been, as one put it: ”sitting ducks.” From witness accounts, Hodgkinson was maneuvering toward the dugout where most of the representatives had taken cover. Had the Capital Police agents not been present, he would have been able to slaughter them all before the local police could arrive.
One hopes they learn the appropriate lessons from this incident and pass legislation allowing them to carry concealed weapons anywhere in the nation, including the halls of Congress. Even some Democrats may be smart enough to go along as they too are reported to be “shaken” by the attack. Unfortunately, too many Democrats think themselves invulnerable by virtue of their superior intelligence and morality, and cannot break the bonds of progressive gun control orthodoxy.
And while we’re at it, this might be a good time to remind our political hired hands what various ancient Roman leaders were said to have done. They appointed servants to follow them around, and at appropriate moments to whisper in their ears: “Remember: thou art mortal.” I have no problem with giving them the ability to carry concealed wherever they go. They do have targets on their backs–particularly Republicans, thanks to their Democrat colleagues–perhaps larger targets than most Americans. However, their rights are no greater than ours. Their lives and the lives of their families are of no greater value. Whatever they give to themselves, they must give to us as well.
For their benefit, I’ll provide one free whisper into the ears of our congressional employees: Remember: only you are responsible for your safety and that of your loved ones; no one else. We know that. It’s about time they did too.