Members of Congress returned to work on Thursday the day after a shooter critically wounded Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) and four other individuals at a baseball practice before dying himself of gunshot wounds.
In the aftermath of the shooting, the message from both sides has been toning down partisan rhetoric and deploring violence. The shooter had volunteered for Senator Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign, but the Vermont firebrand declared that he was “sickened by this despicable act” and that “Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and anything else runs counter to our most deeply held American values.”
While Sanders denounced violence, President Donald Trump gave a speech where he praised the police, called Scalise his friend, and later made a surprise visit to the hospital where Scalise is located. Unfortunately, Scalise remains in critical condition, and CNBC reported that he might need additional surgery.
But while members of Congress and most Americans understood this shooting as a tragedy, some malcontents threatened members of Congress, which prompted a discussion about whether America’s elected leaders need additional security. Multiple members pointed that had Scalise not been accompanied by Capitol police for protection purposes, the result could have been a Republican massacre.
Furthermore, members of both parties indicated that they had received threatening emails or phone calls blaming them for the shooting and warning them that they would be next. Such threats are not protected by the First Amendment, and the members forwarded those threats to the Capitol Police, who will be investigating.
The discussion about security inevitably invited some discussion about guns, with some Republicans suggesting that concealed carry could ensure that they can protect themselves while Democrats suggested possible restrictions against guns.
But the spirit of unity continues to be the order of the day, as is best shown by the decision not to cancel the traditional Capitol baseball game, which will be played tonight. The game has been a tradition since 1909 and represents how despite their differences, Republicans and Democrats can get together to play the sport which is often described as America’s pastime.
Proceeds from the game will go to charity, and attendance is almost certainly expected to spike as a result of the shooting.
[Featured Image By Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images]