1. It’s Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
2. It’s Flag Day.
3. It’s been a pretty awful morning in America.
In Alexandria. Va., a gunman opened fire on Republican Congressmen practicing for a baseball game against their Democratic colleagues. Five people, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, were wounded.
The gunman was apparently killed. According to reports, he was rabidly anti-Trump and had supported Bernie Sanders in 2016. He also reportedly had a history of domestic violence.
In San Francisco, there are reports of a gunman at a UPS facility, with three people injured. The gunman is said to be a former employee. The details of this incident are still unfolding at this writing.
These are horrible events. My thoughts are with the victims and with the law enforcement officials with the massive burden of bringing – or having brought – these moments of terror to an end.
There will be those who would decry making political statements at a time like this. That it’s wrong to use an incident to press a position.
Almost every day in this country, someone uses a gun to inflict terror on people. Both these incidents are terrorism as much as what those jackasses attempted in London two weeks ago, or at a Baghdad ice cream parlor last month, or in Boston in 2013.
San Bernardino and Orlando were terrorism. So were Sandy Hook and Aurora and Charleston and Virginia Tech.
4. Exactly a year ago, in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting that currently stands as the largest mass killing by a single shooter, I asked the question of if the deaths of 49 people were the tipping point.
Is this the incident that changes the sentiment about gun control, and gets some provisions that keep these ridiculous weapons out of the hands of people whose mental or emotional competence is in question?
My answer today is the same as it was on June 14, 2016.
It’s possible that the National Rifle Association is sweating a little, since the victims this time are the people who have helped preserve their status quo.
But only a little. In the end, gun pimps will get these Congressmen to say that the solution is for everyone at the baseball practice to be armed. Forget the impracticality of stretching a single into a double with a revolver on your hip.
And with a little financial greasing, all will be well.
There is some heartfelt – and proper – sentiment in Congress today about wounded colleagues and staff. There is no sane person – none – wishing anything but a speedy recovery for Rep. Scalise. And both parties are joining in the sentiment that political differences are just differences – they are not justification for violence.
But in San Francisco, where we don’t know the final count, we do know that those victims didn’t deserve their fate, either. And other than the fact that the incident happened the same day as the Republican shooting, it will soon be forgotten.
Just like the idea of doing something to limit the proliferation of weapons.