Yesterday morning, a gunman opened fire on Republican congressmen at a baseball practice in preparation for their annual baseball game with congressional Democrats, which raises money for charity. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot in the hip, and was among five men taken to the hospital for treatment. Though the identity of the gunman has been released, The Proud Americans will not release his name, as our practice is to not give mass killers the publicity they often seek.
Though the incident is less than 24 hours old, it is not too early to respond. There are seven things we know in light of this tragic shooting.
1. If not for the Capitol Police returning fire, this could have been much worse.
Sen. Rand Paul, one of the participants on the field, said, “Without the Capitol Police this would have been a massacre.” Other witnesses agreed that the 25 or so Congressmen on the baseball field were sitting ducks. The killer could have taken out most, if not all, of them. It was the heroic response of the Capitol Police, two of whom were shot by the gunman, that prevented dozens of deaths and unspeakable bloodshed. Ironically, if Scalise had not been there, neither would the Capitol Police, as they were there as security only for Scalise, as his position as House Whip is accompanied with such protection.
2. This will bring America together – for about ten minutes.
Congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle have called for more unity among their members. And they mean it. And like all tragedies, this will lead to introspective resolve – but not for long. Sadly, the rancor that has gripped the halls of Congress will return within days. It always does.
3. There will be a push for more gun laws for the bad guys to ignore.
In 2003 there were 4,000 federal gun laws that carried criminal penalties. By 2013, that number had grown to 4,850. That is an increase in gun laws of 21 percent in just ten years. I am still waiting to hear about the guy who said, “I was going to shoot people dead with a gun, but I read there was a law against that, so I didn’t do it.”
4. We live in a fallen world.
“Sin has entered the world” (Romans 5:12). That is the world we live in. God has given men the freedom of choice, and it takes just one man’s evil choice to take the lives of the innocent.
5. We all have a responsibility to help.
Albert Einstein said, “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” As believers, our job is to respond to evil – wherever we find it – with good. And there are many ways to do this.
6. With God there is always hope.
Scripture says, “Do not be afraid. Do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart” (1 Samuel 12:20). In God we have hope. We can face down evil with the holiness of God. And no matter the size of the ditch, there is a narrow road nearby that leads to joy and redemption.
7. God gets the final word.
In the end, God wins. Solomon wrote, “When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” Plato said it like this. “No evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.” He was saying that what is intended for harm will be used by God for good. What is evil now will be redeemed in the future. God always gets the final word.