The GOP Baseball Practice Shooting – Unity from Tragedy? It Depends on the Application of Unity

by Oletta Branstiter

Majority Whip Steve Scalise remains in critical condition at this hour after an early morning attack on Republican congressmen practicing for their annual softball game tomorrow evening. reports that “Matt Mika, who works as a lobbyist, was the fifth person shot on the field during Wednesday morning’s practice, CBS News reported. He was reportedly shot multiple times and was admitted to an area hospital in critical condition.”

James Hodgkinson, believed to be a Bernie Sanders Democratic supporter, had a violent history including arrests for battery, resisting arrest, and driving under the influence of alcohol. In an afternoon press conference, President Trump announced that the shooter had died from injuries suffered when the security detail of Representative Scalise returned fire.

Fox News provides updates to this story.

Those engaged in social media today noticed at least two emotional responses to this crime.

Many bemoaned the level of anti-Trump and anti-Republican rhetoric as a possible motivation for the shooter’s actions. The calls for restrictions on the First Amendment, especially in response to a recent performance featuring the murder of a Trump look-alike in a production of Julius Caesar. Let’s be clear: neither heated rhetoric nor artistic license kills anyone.

Others, including Speaker Paul Ryan, called for “unity”. Unity on what? Political unity is not the cure for deranged murder. Yes, there is a case to be made for a unified effort to understand the proper and effective debate that does not devolve into personal attacks.

On this Flag Day, if we unite, let us unite on the solid principles that acknowledge the realities of dangerous Liberties, and guard against the reckless reactions that only serve to restrict honest debate and Constitutional freedoms –  even if it means our political opinions remain at odds.

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