Domestic terrorism in D.C.
It’s hard to imagine that more than a few people who share the warped sensibilities of the gunman are not horrified by the shootings this morning in Alexandria, Va.
No elected official – indeed, no one – deserves to be targeted for his or her actions or beliefs. Period.
That said, a few thoughts come to mind:
One, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was taken to a Washington D.C. hospital, where he undoubtedly and appropriately received the best care available. But let’s not forget that Scalise, as majority whip, was largely responsible for whipping up votes among Republican members of Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a move that – if that bill or the secret measure being cooked up in the Senate becomes law – will deprive millions of Americans of health care.
The analogy isn’t perfect; any victim of a gunshot, even an uninsured one, would get emergency room treatment because hospitals do not turn such people away. But that’s not so for victims of cancer and congestive heart failure and lung disease and an assortment of conditions and ailments, who may be deprived of treatment or go bankrupt trying to pay for it themselves thanks to the actions of Scalise and his colleagues, all of whom have generous health insurance benefits on which they can rely.
Two, the shooter’s weapon reportedly was a semiautomatic rifle. It’s not yet been reported if this weapon was on the list of weapons that were banned in the 1990s – a ban that Scalise’s party allowed to expire. Regardless, this incident ought to instigate debate on how to – finally – rein in the terror caused by assault weapons. Instead, lawmakers selfishly focused on themselves and raised the specter of having personal security guards, a luxury not afforded the children in Newtown and the churchgoers in Charleston and thousands of other victims of gun violence.
Three, early on, even before the shooter was identified, newscasters said that terrorism wasn’t suspected in the case. Why was that? Because the shooter was a white man. Had he been a person of color, you can bet authorities would have been talking about terrorism.
Like the Oklahoma City bombing and the shooting of then-U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords and 18 others, this absolutely was an act of domestic terrorism carried out by a someone who expressed his political opinion in a horrific and violent way. Like Timothy McVeigh and Jared Loughner before him, he apparently acted out of animosity for government or elected officials, with the intent of either murdering them or making them fear for their lives. If that’s not terrorism, I don’t know what is.