The entire U.S. Congress was seemingly simultaneously shocked when Rep. Steve Scalise was shot and murdered by an assailant later identified -then vilified- as James Hodgkinson, June 14th. This act not only yielded condolences from both sides of the aisle, but also tainted the great bipartisan activity of congressional baseball-something that the U.S. Congress appears to collectively consider inexcusable. Though Congressional members and hopefuls are expressing their grief in different ways , random shootings being a problem seems to be something that may perhaps -finally- be a bipartisan issue. See, the remarkable thing to me is that this kind of support and sense of tragedy isn't shown nearly as much even for mass shootings that have happened for years all over the country. The Right be they alternative or otherwise are notoriously against gun control finding any mere attempt to be in direct violation of our 2nd amendment Constitutional rights, and yet in the case of the murder (assassination?) of Rep. Scalise no one is speaking on that man's 2nd amendment rights and whether they affect his right to shoot a fellow citizen including -but not limited to- a public servant.
What many are taking away from the shooting is the opposing political views that came into play. Hodgkinson was reported to be a supporter of Bernie Sanders and wasn't too fond of Donald Trump being elected, this was cited by Rep. Rodney King as evidence that the shooter was a "political terrorist". While extremist sects from both political spheres should be a top concern for the U.S. Congress and the current administration, personally I don't see an onslaught of slaughter in store for future congressional baseball games for either side. In fact, the emphasis on possible political division leading to Scalise's death seem to be having more of a harmful effect on the nation some Democrats as well as Republicans have been receiving threats since Wednesday last week. Someone took the time to call the personal phones of representatives during a security briefing and told them "You're Next... You Democrats".
The shooter is now dead himself and left behind a legacy that will be politicized for at least another week or two before the president tweets another nonsense word that will end up on mugs and t-shirts. The bigger issue that I see here isn't how division led to the deaths of both Rep. Scalise and James Hodgkinson by gunfire, or how that continues to bring about deadly division towards democrats. No, the issue that I am bringing to light is that the United States Congress didn't seem to treat the gun epidemic as this big of an issue any time previously that an innocent man was shot. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but is it? Take police brutality. Think back to Philando Castile who has mountains of evidence in his favor and the cop responsible for his murder got off scot free. Even the Democratic members of Congress didn't seem to take someone else's murder by gunshot as this much of a personal affront before the shooting of Rep. Scalise.
Why is this the case when the shooting that Rep. Scalise was a victim of is reality for Americans all across the country every day? Democrats call for gun control after a fellow congressman was shot to death, and the public is left wondering if any will be done to prevent casualties such as this. So, why are our leaders treating shootings of innocent people as such a new concept? The shooting death of Rep. Scalise has made it clear to me that politicians are grossly tone-deaf when it comes to the experiences of the average American. While the American public is seemingly desensitized to mass shootings, congress is just getting used to the idea that this whole shooting thing is a real problem. They never expected this to happen to someone like him. Someone who is in power feels disconnected from the rest of the public.
The message should not be "Democrats/Republicans are out to get us", or "political division is ruining our nation", or even "We need to do something about these guns". The real message here is that our representatives are cut off from the nation they're representing to a dangerous extent. We wait after every tragedy for a sign that something would be done. Americans continue to die at the hands of a trigger happy hateful fellow citizen -usually a fellow citizen-, meanwhile politicians continue to vote down gun control measures. To the families of victims of gun tragedies I say: Rest in Peace and my sincerest condolences. To the U.S. Congress I say: Welcome to America.