L. John Bost

June 15, 2017

Wednesday morning, June 14, 2017, a gunman open fired on a group of Republicans practicing for the annual Congressional baseball game for charity. House majority whip Steve Scalise was critically wounded and, at this writing, remains in critical condition. Also, former congressional staffer, Matt Mika, a lobbyist for Tyson Foods’, received injuries requiring surgery. He remained in critical condition as of Wednesday afternoon.  Rep. Roger Williams of Texas, the coach, injured his leg while diving to take cover in a dugout. He will play in the game and then travel back to Texas for evaluation by his physician. Zack Barth, a congressional staffer who works for Rep. Roger Williams, was shot in the leg. He is out of the hospital. Crystal Griner, a Capitol police officer is in good condition in the hospital. David Bailey, also a Capitol police officer, was treated and released. These two are the heroes who killed the gunman and prevented the tragic incident from becoming a massacre.

The gunman’s motives have been determined to be anger at Republicans for their political agenda, and hatred for President Trump. He has often made that anger and hatred known. He asked a congressman whether those practicing were Democrats or Republicans moments before opening fire on them. But who is to blame for the shooting?

Almost immediately after the shooting, the blame game began and has not slowed down as of this writing. It probably will not anytime soon. Republicans blame the Democrats. The Democrats, oddly, blame the Republicans. Many on both sides blame President Trump. Many blame the Liberal media. The Liberal media blame the Conservative media. Others have been blamed because of their “rhetoric and vitriol.” Just about everybody but the dogs and cats have been blamed.

To be sure, there has been too much caustic rhetoric by politicians of both stripes, and the media. There have been calls for just about everyone to “tone down the rhetoric.” The president is especially encouraged to tone down his rhetoric.

So, who is to blame? The SHOOTER is the only one who is to blame. He allowed his hatred of the Republican agenda to turn into hatred for the president and the Republican Congress. He allowed that hatred to drive him to perpetrate a violent act against unarmed men who were practicing for a baseball game to raise money for charity. He bought the gun, legally, by-the-way. He went to the ballpark. He deliberately took aim and pulled the trigger. He fired between 50 and 100 bullets critically injuring two men, and inflicting relatively minor injuries on three others. He alone is to blame for this senseless act of violence.

Should the political rhetoric be toned down? Absolutely! People must learn to disagree, even on strongly held political and religious views without hatred and vitriol. The media must report the truth about events rather than twisting the truth and making up “fake media.” Reporting must be fair. The violence must stop. The riots on college campuses and in the streets must stop. We have a Constitutional right to speak our minds and protest what we do not agree with. But we have a moral responsibility protest peacefully. We have a moral and legal responsibility to protest without violence.

We all must learn to listen to one another. We just might learn something! And, we must not blame one another without evidence to back up our statements.

Paul writes in Romans 12:18, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Good advice. That includes those with whom we disagree politically!

But, having said all of that, the only one to blame for any act of violence is the one who commits it.