House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was wounded in a shooting spree targeting Republican House members who were practicing for a congressional baseball game. According to reports, he was shot in the hip.
Though the injury is serious, President Trump has tweeted that Scalise is expected to recover fully. Sen. Jeff Flake, who was with Scalise in the hospital, reported that his colleague was awake and coherent throughout. However, it is not being reported that Scalise is in critical condition.
I have yet to see a report on the status of the other victims of the shooting. There are no reports that anyone has died, and the nature of the injuries apparently has not been reported. [UPDATE: All but one of the other victims are said to be doing okay. The condition of Matt Mika, a lobbyist for Tyson Foods, has still not been reported.]
There appears to be no doubt that the shooter was targeting Republicans. Rep. Ron DeSantis says that the man who did the shooting asked him whether the members on the field practicing were Republicans or Democrats.
We already know what the post-shooting spin will be. Liberals blame the lack of stronger gun laws; conservatives will blame over-heated anti-Republican rhetoric.
In my view, both talking points are misguided. The right to bear arms and to criticize harshly ones political opponents are constitutionally protected, and for good reason.
My talking point is this: We need to throw the book at protesters who engage in violence. We should lock up the hooded window-smashing anarchists and “resisters” for as long as the law permits and, to the extent permitted by law, keep track of them after they are released.
There’s no acceptable remedy for harsh political discourse. There is at least a salutary partial remedy for politically motivated violence.
UPDATE: The shooter has been identified as James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois.
Here is his what appears to be his Facebook page, complete with pictures of Bernie Sanders. The caption says:
Democratic Socialism explained in 3 words: WE THE PEOPLE.
In the case of Hodgkinson’s Democratic Socialism (but certainly not Sanders’), the real three words are: KILL THE OPPOSITION.
MORE ON HODGKINSON: Here.
ANOTHER HODGKINSON FACEBOOK PAGE: Here. Assuming the page really is his, he likes ABC News, along with Crooks and Liars, Raw Progressive, Democracy Now!, Occupy UCLA, Boycott All Things Trump, and Progressives for Our Revolution.