|Scene from the congressional ballgame, a couple years ago.|
The purity of that grand thing was terrifyingly disrupted this morning with gunfire and chaos, the violent assault by one disturbed man, James T. Hodgkinson, and the bravery of DC and Congressional Police details who fired back at him to end the onslaught . The assailant was found to be a putative progressive who seemed to be targeting the GOP baseball practice out of malice for their politics.
I found myself more sympathetic to these GOP congresspeople reporting from the scene than I have been about GOP congresspersons at all for a long time. The visage of TX Rep. Joe Barton was shaken, as one could expect of a father whose sons were present at this terrible affray. Several of those who had been present recounted the event with tears of relief and horror--relief that it had not been worse--horror that it happened at all. And I am there for them, and my thoughts are with them. Partisanship should never erase the human strand that remains appalled at appalling things like this attack.
I want to address what I think about James T. Hodgkinson for a moment. I visited, as a curiosity, his Facebook page and found that while he had posted links to political cartoons and petitions, his FB wall was devoid of much of the personal, other than the message that he had ended his relationship with his business. At 66, with his career behind him, and having fed himself solely with political notions, maybe he was dry tinder looking for a spark--or, given what we know about his history of abusive and violent behavior--maybe he was dry tinder carrying a torch in a high wind. He apparently has treated human beings in his life terribly before this event.
This reminds me of so many other mass shooting events I have written about over the years. Obviously Elliot Rodgers was a hater, but domestic violence and attempts to translate the violent urge to politics, are not new to me. The story gets old. People who start with violence against family--especially women, can escalate to violence against anyone at all.
This terrible person left no manifesto, but we have his social media profile: Isolation, failure and a growing attachment to political identity can be a pretty dangerous mix. I abhor what he did, as did Senator Sanders, for whom this character once volunteered.
I don't like the resolution of anything political to be due to violence. I am for playing ball.
My thoughts go out to all those impacted by the frightfulness of this tragic event.