Everybody, take a step back, before this really gets out of hand.
In an era of heated and hyperpartisan political rhetoric, five people — including a prominent congressman — were shot Wednesday on a baseball field just an outfielder’s throw from our nation’s Capitol.
That the players included the third-ranking member of the House of Representatives, Majority Whip Steve Scalise, the most grievously wounded victim, no doubt saved many lives. Because of his high-ranking position, a Capitol Police detail was present. The Capitol Police officers returned fire, killing the gunman, an Illinois man whose political expressions displayed antipathy toward the viewpoints of those on the field and President Trump.
The targets of Wednesday’s shooting were Republicans; the tragic incident recalled the 2011 shooting of Arizona Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived the attack but suffered a severe brain injury and eventually left Congress.
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Targeted shootings in this decade know no partisanship, which was noted by lawmakers in Washington, D.C.
Members of both parties stopped what they were doing to offer condolences and prayers. President Trump issued a statement that properly praised the efforts of the Capitol Police – two officers were wounded in the attack – in preventing further carnage.
But as too often happens, partisans retreated to the bunkers and took aim with their own rhetorical fire. Both sides of the gun-control debate immediately resuscitated their familiar arguments. Also, mutual finger-pointing ascribed blame to each other for bombast that escalated into bullets.
Fact is, no one has a corner on righteousness in this fractious national debate. So step back, take a deep breath, agree to disagree, tone down the hateful rhetoric and then get moving on governing a country where we remain free to say what we think about our governance.