Bernie Sanders stood on the floor of the Senate Wednesday and made a statement after learning James Hodgkinson, the man who opened fire on a congressional baseball practice, “apparently” worked on his campaign. Hodgkinson is the man who shot House Majority Whip Leader Steve Scalise, a lobbyist, a congressional staff member, and two officers from the Capitol Police during this shooting.
Witnesses said the shooter was able to get off about 50 rounds before the bloodshed came to an end. Hodgkinson was wounded in a shootout with the Capitol Police, and he died from those wounds while in police custody. Bernie took to the floor of the Senate to deliver a short, but powerful speech regarding violence.
Sanders started out by saying he was just informed that the shooter “apparently” worked on his campaign as a volunteer, reports NPR News. He also said that he is “sickened by the despicable act,” and then the tone of his voice changed into a deep and serious mode while saying,
“Let me be as clear as I can be — violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society, and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms. Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and anything else runs counter to our most deeply held American values.”
Sanders also wished for the speedy recovery for Steve Scalise, as well as the others who were injured in this event. It is not known to what capacity that Hodgkinson worked on the Sanders’ campaign, but it was on a volunteer basis in his home state of Illinois.
As seen in the Facebook post above, some people were quick to use this against Saunders, but the majority of the social media sites don’t see this as a reflection of Sanders views. They see this event as a very sick individual doing harm to innocent people. One of the theories that many people share across the social media sites is that Hodgkinson may have taken in all the banter of hatred seen in politics today and acted on this because he was an unstable individual.
The man who orchestrated the Bernie Sanders campaign in both Illinois and Iowa and he said that nobody he’s talked to remembers Hodgkinson. According to CNN News, Robert Becker said they had more than 10,000 volunteers that showed up to help elect Bernie Sanders and he can’t find anyone who remembers the man. Becker also said that Hodgkinson was not one of the 100 or so organizers paid by the campaign in either Iowa or Illinois.
The Washington Post found someone who remembered Hodgkinson working on Sanders’ campaign. Charles Orear, 50, said he became friendly with the 66-year-old Hodgkinson while working together in Iowa on the Sanders’ campaign. Orear, who is a restaurant manager from St. Louis was stunned when he was told who the shooter was.
While passionate about getting Sanders elected, Orear said Hodgkinson never showed any signs of “violence or malice” toward others. He stayed with Hodgkinson overnight at another supporter’s home while canvassing an area away from home. He described him as “quiet” and “mellow.”
There could have easily been 25 casualties today if it wasn’t for the Capitol Police, said Representative Roger Williams, who was one of the team members practicing on the field today when the shots rang out. He spoke at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon while appearing to fight back the tears at one point. Williams said the Capitol Police saved all of us, “all we had were bats.” The press conference took place in Washington this afternoon, which was seen live on Fox News at the televised press conference.
Williams said they were “sitting ducks” out on the baseball field. The shooter actually tried to get into the field are, but the gate was locked. If he had gotten on the field, Williams said they would have really been sitting ducks. He said the Capitol Police literally saved everyone’s lives. They were there on location as part of Steve Scalise’s detail.
[Featured Image by Uncredited/Senate Television/AP Images]