Senator Chris Murphy had this to say today about the shooting yesterday at the Congressional Baseball practice:
I am going to play baseball tonight. And I want to be honest with you – I don’t know what to think about that.
On one hand, I’m glad the congressional baseball game is going forward in the wake of yesterday’s tragic, soul-crushing shooting. I’ve played catcher for the Democratic team for the better part of the last ten years, and the game, to me, is one of the few things that is truly good about Washington D.C. It’s a chance for Republicans and Democrats to put politics aside and create lasting friendships. And the game raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for local kids’ charities. Moving forward with the game, even after the shooting, sends an important signal that the tradition of bipartisanship represented by the century-old congressional baseball game cannot be ruined by one unhinged individual.
So I get the importance of displaying our resilience. But what does it say about us as a country that we can so easily move on from such a seemingly cataclysmic event? Are we so jaundiced to gun violence and mass shootings that it only takes us twenty four hours now to revert back to business as usual. I mean, a Congressman is in critical condition after a ten minute long shoot out, and it feels like this story has another day or two of attention before the news media, and the public, moves onto the next set of headlines.
This was the 154st mass shooting of 2017. You heard that right – number 154. Mass shootings, defined as incidents where four or more people are killed or injured by gunshots, are happening a higher rate in 2017 than previous years. And it feels like no one has noticed.
Maybe that’s because regular slaughter has become the norm in America. We are becoming massively desensitized to the carnage. That’s what I feared exactly one year ago today, when I went to the Senate floor in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting and held a 15 hour filibuster. I worried then that our reactions to mass shootings had become predictable and rote. And I still worry today.
So I’m going to suit up tonight. I might even consider tipping a few pitches to my friend Senator Jeff Flake, who tended to Steve Scalise’s wounds as he lay on the practice field yesterday morning, when he comes to bat.
But we can never ever let this feel normal. We can never forget that this pace of carnage happens nowhere else but America. No other nation has to live through mass shooting after mass shooting like the United States. And in the end, the data tells us there is only one explanation. We don’t spend less on law enforcement. We don’t have more mental illness. We just have more guns. There are more guns in America than people, and many of them are dangerous, military-style weapons and many others are in the hands of very dangerous people.
I am keeping Steve Scalise, the Capitol Police, and everyone who was at yesterday’s shooting in my thoughts. But after tonight’s game, I’ll get back to work. Because until the laws of this country change, the slaughter – and the risk of normalizing it all – won’t stop.
Thank you for reading.
Every best wish,
U.S. Senator, Connecticut
Normally the pithy Progressives I write about are seeking office, where Senator Murphy is already in office. But I don't have a new Pithy Progressive this week, so perhaps this thoughtful and heartfelt essay (from a Senator whi represents the state Sandy Hook is in) will stand in.
Cross-posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4058092