By Samuel Chamberlain; FoxNews:
Former Alaska Governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin filed a lawsuit against the New York Times Tuesday over an editorial that tied her to the January 2011 shooting of an Arizona congresswoman.
Palin’s attorneys claim the paper defamed her in the June 14 editorial, published hours after House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., was shot and wounded by a deranged man while Scalise was practicing with the GOP’s baseball team in Alexandria, Va.
“We have not reviewed the claim yet but will defend against any claim vigorously,” New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha told Fox News.
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Congressional Baseball Practice ‘A Killing Field’ for Gunman Targeting Republican Players, U.S. Capitol Police Hailed as Heroes
By Stephen Owsinski; OpsLens:
As Republican Party politicos practiced baseball on an Alexandria, Virginia field early Wednesday morning, the whirl of baseball pitches turned to whiz and bullet strikes as a crazed gunman unhinged and unleashed his malice upon the players.
In retrospect, the political party made an absolutely distinct target base. The lone gunman at the June 14th Congressional baseball team practice asked Sen. Jeff Duncan (R—SC), “Was the team practicing Democrats or Republicans?” Minutes after Sen. Duncan replied “Republican,” the man unleashed a stream of bullets, striking Congressman Steve Scalise (R—Louisiana), two Capitol police officers, one aide and one lobbyist.
Pandemonium ensued when James T. Hodgkinson, 66, opened fire on the political players practicing for an annually-held baseball game to take place Thursday night. On Mr. Hodgkinson’s Facebook page is a profile box depicting the American flag upon which are the following words: “Democratic Socialism Explained in Three Words: ‘We the People’”. Besides his Facebook banner, Sen. Bernie Sanders pictures adorn much of Hodgkinson’s Facebook account.
Also on Hodgkinson’s Facebook legacy are anti-Trump statements such as “It’s time to destroy Trump & co.” As a resident of Belleville, Illinois, Hodgkinson’s hometown news organization, The Bellesville-News Democrat, claimed Hodgkinson belonged to the groups “Terminate the Republican Party” and also “Illinois Berners United to Resist Trump.” Once again, we see seeds of hatred and the potential for destruction.
Sen. Paul Rand (R—KY) stated he observed Rep. Scalise “was shot but moving, trying to drag himself through the dirt out into the outfield” from second base where he was when the ambush launched.
Rep. Mike Bishop (R—MI) told WJR-AM Radio, “You could hear the ping, ping, ping coming off the backstop. It was unnerving, to say the least. I’m convinced he was hunting us because he was perfectly placed to take shots. He came out the one exit that was there.”
US Capitol Police Hailed as Heroes
Given Rep. Scalise’s presence, a cadre of Capitol police officers was at the ball-field, hence the real-time police response and swift abatement of the shooter’s destructive intent. Sen. Rand lauded US Capitol police by saying, “Our lives were saved by the Capitol Hill police. Had they not been there, I think it would have been a massacre,” per an interview with CNN.
Rep. Peter King (R—NY) said “God knows what would have happened if they [police] weren’t there,” according to the NY Times.
In an interview with Fox News, Sen. Rand described how everyone on the field was like “sitting ducks” as those who lain low on the ground endured bullet strikes all around them, vulnerable and pinned, until Capitol police engaged the shooter.
Two of Rep. Scalise’s security detail were first to engage rifle-toting Hodgkinson and were wounded in the exchange of gunfire. Within scant minutes of the ambush, Capitol police were joined by police officers from the Alexandria Police Department as well as other federal law enforcement agents in the area.
Of the U.S. Capitol police, Sen. Rand exclaimed, “They do a great job. These are brave men and women, and we were really lucky they were there.” Given that House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise was participating in the field practice, protocol engenders an accompanying security detail provided by the Capitol police force. Minus that factor, Sen. Rand implied no security forces would have been present at the baseball field, thus more unimpeded bloodshed could have transpired.
Rep. Mo Brooks (R—AL) tweeted after the shooting: “Praying for those injured at this morning’s practice. I’m especially thankful to the US Capitol Police who risked their lives to protect us.”
The presence of law enforcement officers at athletic competitions, political functions, town hall venues and concert events denotes what police officer and OpsLens Senior Contributor T.B. Lefever wrote about recently in his piece “These Days, Everything Always Ends in Gunfire.” Whether he is prescient or not, he is largely correct. Mr. Hodgkinson and the US Capitol Police on scene at the ball-field typified what Lefever explained. Readiness is implicit in his article’s title.
Baseball in the Name of Charitable Cause
This morning’s baseball practice was in advance of this Thursday night’s official game between the GOP and Democratic lawmakers, an annual competition which raises funds for charitable organizations. According to the Washington Post, last year’s game generated $500,000 disbursed among various charities.
As WaPo reported, “The teams have a group of assistant coaches that include congressional aides, former aides and lobbyists who have expertise in the game. While the game itself is a highly secure environment – fans must pass through the magnometers to get into the stadium – the [baseball] practices are not considered a secure event.”
Interestingly, “Republicans, and their fans, sit on the first-base side of Nationals Park, while Democrats take the third-base side of the field and stands” the latter of which is where Capitol police reported Hodgkinson took his shooting stance and let loose. Hodgkinson stood along the baseline of his party base.
Will this morning’s assassination attempt cancel the big game? Or, despite these horrific circumstances, will politicos play ball and dedicate the game to Rep. Steve Scalise and others who were injured…epitomizing American resilience?
In an instant, the field of dreams became the “killing fields,” Sen. Rand recounted. At this point, the only fatality is Hodgkinson, the one who inflicted hatred and mayhem by firing upon innocents playing ball. Rep. Scalise, two Capitol police officers, an aide and a lobbyist are among the survivors.
At the outset, President Donald Trump cancelled his agenda and took to the air, announcing the gunman’s demise while praising the “heroic actions” of Capitol Hill police officers who unhesitatingly took up the fight. In the name of charitable cause, the game must go on.