The good guys with guns fired back at James Hodgkinson. Their guns didn't provide them with protective shields. They were wounded. It also didn't protect Steve Scalise:
Only now he was aiming at human beings, and he hit Scalise over by second base despite the instant efforts of the majority whip’s security detail. Scalise went down and began to crawl across the field as the gunfire continued.More guns didn't protect anyone from gunfire. It stopped the shooter, but not allowing him to have a gun in the first place would have done more:
“The guy who’s shot out there—is he OK?” somebody called out.
The cellphone video shows Scalise sprawled in the field. And to see him was not to see a gun-control opponent or a Trump supporter or a Republican or a politician. He was a gunshot victim, as in need of help as any other, his blood as red as yours and mine.
His protectors continued to battle the gunman even after at least one of them was shot, calling out to the gunman, “Drop the weapon! Drop the weapon!”
The cadence of the protectors’ fire intensified and they brought the gunman down. The shooting ceased altogether.
In the cellphone video, figures can be seen rushing to assist Scalise. They included Rep. Brad Wenstrup of Ohio, who is also a physician and served as a combat surgeon in Iraq.
“You never expect a baseball field in America to feel like being back in a combat zone in Iraq, but this morning it did,” he later tweeted.
As night fell, Scalise and one of the other six wounded were listed in critical condition. Scalise’s wife and two young children were reportedly traveling from Louisiana to see him.
And Wenstrup was telling Fox & Friends, “If Scalise was not there, he’s the one with the security detail, we wouldn’t have had any protection, and God knows how bad that might have been.”
A deputy responded and determined that Hodgkinson had upgraded to an assault rifle such as a renewed federal ban would have kept him from legally possessing. Hodgkinson’s prior arrest for firing the shotgun and his outbursts in court had not prevented him from securing a Firearm Owners Identification card, which is needed to acquire and own a gun in Illinois.
“SUBJECT DID HAVE IN HIS POSSESSION A VALID ILLINOIS FOID CARD,” the sheriff’s report reads. “SUBJECT WAS ADVISED TO NOT DISCHARGE HIS WEAPON IN THE AREA.”
Hodgkinson was firing that gun in his backyard. A gun he simply shouldn't have been able to get, but for a change in the law. Had the law not changed there'd have simply been no need for good guys with guns to put their lives on the line, to risk death themselves, in order to stop a man from shooting other human beings for reasons we'll never understand, never even know. Although, according to Steve Scalise following the Sandy Hook shooting, even raising that issue is an affront to the grieving process.
Steve Scalise didn't deserve to be shot because of his A+ rating from the NRA, as a kind of ironic joke on him from the cosmos. But we don't deserve to live in a country ruled by the stupidity of slogans. Val Demings, D-FL, pointed out on NPR yesterday that:
But I do want to go back to something that my colleague said about, you know, repeating the NRA statement about the answer to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Let me just remind everyone here that the Capitol Police were on scene, and Lord knows there's no question about them being good guys with guns. But I think we do have a responsibility to make sure that they - as they protect us, that we do everything we can to protect our first responders.
Paul Mitchell, R-MI, interrupted her to challenge the idea he was an NRA puppet spouting their slogans mindlessly. It was not, he said, an NRA slogan, that one about the good guy with the gun. He recognized the threat, and he had to shut it down: this discussion can never be about people on the receiving end of bullets, it can only be about people on the possessory end of guns. Even discussion of gun safety, once the raison d'être of the NRA (how I first heard of them, in my youth), is not allowed. We can only focus on our ability to own.
"The love of possession is a disease with them." A friend had a poster which attributed that statement to Chief Sitting Bull of the Lakota Nation. That's all this discussion is about now: who can possess firearms. How they are used, what they do to us when they turn a school into a slaughterhouse, a baseball diamond into a combat zone, is not to be considered. Not even when the advocates of that possession are the victims of the violence it inevitably produces.
No wonder there is so much talk about who is responsible for this, and none of that talk focusses on our responsibility to each other, rather than to our possessions.