No way to resolve our differences

James T. Hodgkinson wanted to know whether the members of Congress practicing baseball at a field in Alexandria, Va., were Republicans or Democrats, according to multiple media reports. Told they were GOP lawmakers, Hodgkinson walked back to his car.

He retrieved a rifle and opened fire.

Capitol Police officers at the scene Wednesday morning returned fire, wounding Hodgkinson. The 66-year-old Illinois man later died at a hospital.

Before Hodgkinson was brought down, he wounded U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., a congressional aide, another man and at least one police officer.

Investigators may get some clues as to Hodgkinson’s motivation by talking to family members and others who knew him. But the fact he targeted Republican members of Congress suggests strongly that he was upset with them — and that he believed killing some of them was an appropriate way to express his displeasure.

In a nation of more than 325 million people, it is inevitable that a substantial number will be mentally unbalanced enough to commit violent acts for any number of reasons. But the blame game has already started.

Those on the far Right claim harsh rhetoric by Democrats and liberals over Republican President Donald Trump is creating this culture of violence. They blame such instances as a New York City drama group’s staging of “Julius Caesar” in which Caesar is played by an actor dressed and made up to resemble Trump. In the play, he is assassinated.

They also point to entertainer Kathy Griffin, who posted an internet video showing her holding up the likeness of the bloody, decapitated head of Obama?

Democrats, of course, can point to Trump’s own rhetoric and combativeness for creating an increase in anti-immigrant, racist incidents. And they can blame Republican lawmakers who have fought time and again against strengthening gun control laws in cases after case of mass shooting and violence. They will certainly challenge Republicans to take some action now that they themselves have become the target of a crazed gunman.

We don’t think fingerpointing and accusations are going to do anything to ratchet down the animosity in our political atmosphere. President Trump said we should unite on this, and he’s right.

Surely we as a nation can resolve our differences without sinking to the level of street gangs.


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