June 16, 2017

Why Were There No Guns at the Republican Baseball Practice?

Chaffey College baseball diamond
By MarkTraceur (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The recent shooting of Republican members of Congress and their staffers at a public park in Alexandria, VA, raises many troubling questions. Was the shooter motivated by political hatred, mental illness, or something else? Are we going to see more incidents like this because of our political polarization and widespread social media incivility, or might this be the sort of catalyst that could bring at least some people together to explore the benefits of reducing triablism? How many days after the incident do we need to wait before it becomes acceptable to discuss the sort of steps that might make similar incidents less likely to take place in the future?

Yes, there are many questions worth asking. But since it is Friday and I'm not feeling much like engaging in deep thought at the moment due to the combined effects of insomnia, a summer cold, a busier than normal work week, and more rapidly approaching deadlines than I can keep track of, I think I'll skip that and offer something that is simpler and sillier.

Here's my question: why weren't all (or almost all) of these Republican members of Congress armed at the time? Shouldn't they all have been carrying guns? Yes, I realize that this was a baseball practice. Maybe it is not realistic to think that they all would have been running around the baseball diamond with concealed handguns on their persons, although I'm not really sure why. At the very least, they could have all had guns nearby in their bags. And if they had all have been armed, the outcome of this tragic event very well could have been different, right? I mean, isn't that what many of them tell us each and every time one of these things happens?

This appears to be a case where rapid and competent intervention by the Capitol Police likely made the difference between what happened (which was bad enough) and what could have happened (which could have been much worse). But how can these Republican members of Congress rely on law enforcement when we aren't supposed to? It does not seem to matter where an act of gun violence occurs. Every time, they tell us that more guns are the answer. When someone shoots up an elementary school, Republican officials quickly tell us that the elementary school teachers all should have been armed. And so, I can't help but ask why the same doesn't seem to apply here. They all should have been armed.