Today is a day when it can be easy to pounce on the shooting of Republican congressmen to sort out the motives of the shooter and think we can clearly and precisely blame the shooting on Senator Bernie Sanders because the shooter was a volunteer in his presidential campaign and his social media pages were filled with admiration for Sanders. I reject this. Sanders is not responsible for this.
However, there are voices and actors on the left that are creating an atmosphere that is more hateful and threatening than anything that we’ve seen in political debate. Kathy Griffin’s photo of a beheaded President Trump and the New York City rendition of Shakespeare in the Park in which a Trump like character is assassinated are recent examples. So are the people who have attacked Trump supporters and ravaged college campuses.
The only good point for me this morning in covering this was my conversation with Congressman Ryan Costello. Costello and I have differences on policy issues but I was moved by the daily courage it takes to do. He and I agreed that the baseball game must be played tomorrow night and that congressmen should continue to do town halls.
My challenge is to be consistent in calling out those whose actions are over the line. Part of this is to make the point that most of these shooters have been acting out before the shootings but we have not mustered the will to stop them in time.
The second amendment debates that have come out of this are secondary to stopping crazed people from doing the worst. It’s the issue that I return to again and again. How do we balance liberty rights versus our rights to be protected from potential killers?
The game will go tomorrow night and there will be a display of unity and promises of civility. That’s a start.