America's Game: Baseball! (And Shooting People)
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 14, 2017
Some well-armed American shot up a YMCA complex in Alexandria, Virginia, this morning, firing what's reported as 50 to 60 shots from a semiautomatic rifle at a baseball practice held by Republican members of Congress in preparation for the annual bipartisan baseball game. Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House Majority whip, was reportedly hit and is in surgery with non-life-threatening injuries, as are two Capitol Police officers. It's unclear how many people were shot in total; at least two congressional aides appear to have been wounded as well. Capitol Police who were at the practice reportedly took the gunman into custody.
Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama texted, "Shooter attacked a GOP baseball practice. Rifle. 50+ shots fired. 5 hit including Steve Scalise. I am not shot." Brooks told CNN that Capitol police officers exchanged fire with the shooter and that the shooter did not say anything:
[Brooks] said he went to the aid of one of the victims and used his belt as a tourniquet to help stop the bleeding from a gunshot to his leg. He said it was about two to five minutes before other officers arrived.
“My adrenaline is raging,” he told CNN. “It’s not easy to take when you see people around you being shot and you don’t have a weapon yourself.” [...]
Mr. Brooks said Mr. Scalise was shot in the hip and was at second base and dragging himself into the outfield to get away from the gunman. “There is not a whole lot you can do,” he said. “It was emotionally distressing to know the position he was in.”
Joseph Miscavige, a web analytics director for PBS KIDS, was at the Y and took several photos of emergency vehicles and gunshot damage to the building:
Active shooter situation during this mornings trip to the Y. Terrifying. Am ok. Sheltered in place & under lockdown. pic.twitter.com/iJs6fZpjiK— Joseph Miscavige (@JoeMiscavige) June 14, 2017
Senator Rand Paul praised police for their quick response, telling CNN,
Nobody would have survived without the Capitol Hill police [...] It would have been a massacre without them.
“There was firing behind us from the security detail...we didn’t know if there were other shooters that had us surrounded,” Sen. Flake says pic.twitter.com/3rQ4HKyOmo— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 14, 2017
Flake also told CNN the estimate of 50 shots "would be an understatement, I'm quite sure," including the number of shots by police returning fire. On MSNBC this morning, Flake said the gunman appeared to be a white male in his 40s or 50s. Flake said he had called Rep. Scalise's wife in Louisiana so she wouldn't hear about the shooting from the news first.
The White House issued a statement:
The vice president and I are aware of the shooting incident in Virginia and are monitoring developments closely. We are deeply saddened by this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of Congress, their staffs, Capitol Police, first responders, and all others affected.
Shortly afterwards, Donald Trump tweeted,
Democratic lawmakers were practicing at another field a few miles away, and when they learned of the shooting, ended practice to pray:
Also, while it is never an appropriate time to talk about guns, let's take a moment to talk about guns, shall we? ThinkProgress political reporter Kira Lerner notes that the House Natural Resources Committee has cancelled a hearing on a bill to deregulate gun silencers that had been scheduled for this morning. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, held a "members only" demonstration of gun silencers at the Capitol Police gun range last week, so members of Congress could see how awesome silencers are and why they should be made more readily available:
The Atlantic's David Frum, hardly a raving lefty, notes these minor details:
One small correction to that: buyers at Virginia firearms dealers are of course subject to the same background checks as anywhere else, but the state requires no additional checks, such as background checks at gun shows.
You might wonder if maybe we'll talk about guns now that a Republican congressman has been shot. After all, school shootings are so routine now that they barely make it to the news crawl below the talking heads on cable news. 11,000 gun murders a year -- and that's not including suicides or four-year-olds finding mom's gun in her purse. Include those, and we're up to 30,000 a year -- 90 gun deaths every. single. day -- and the only thing Congress is in the mood to do is get MORE guns -- and hey, how about silencers! -- into circulation. Even though five people were shot today by a guy with a semiautomatic rifle, who was stopped only by a squad of police guarding the House's majority whip. This could not have been stopped by a single armed civilian. It was perpetrated by a single armed civilian, goddamn it.
Also a quick reminder: Our commenting rules remain in effect. You don't need to say anything nice about this shooting, and you are free to be as angry as you need to be about it. You are not, however, allowed to wish violence on anyone -- no, not even on people who think the answer to violence is more violence.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.