WASHINGTON – “I never thought I’d go to baseball practice and get shot at,” said Rep. Rodney Davis R-Ill., who was at bat Wednesday morning when a gunman started shooting at GOP lawmakers practicing for their annual charity congressional game.
“I was at bat. I was hitting. I heard a loud bang,” Davis said, talking at the Capitol, still in his scoffed practice clothes.
“It felt like somebody…dropped a big piece of metal. The next thing I heard was ‘everybody run, he’s got a gun. And we immediately ran and got into the dugout.”
You never thought, Rep. Davis?
You never thought you’d be subject to violence at baseball practice?
You never thought a madman with a gun would be staring YOU down?
You never thought you’d be running from bullets?
That was nice. That you never thought.
Nice for you to be safe. Nice for you to be protected. Nice for you to feel secure. Nice for your colleagues. I mean that sincerely. I don’t begrudge you that sense of safety. I think a lot of people like you share it. I think that’s a good thing.
You should feel safe. Everybody should.
I don’t want you to feel endangered. I don’t want to join the chorus of “see, don’t you get it now?!” going on on social media today. You shouldn’t have been scared to be in public, enjoying yourself. Enjoying your life. Feeling able to do that.
You shouldn’t have been afraid of a random hail of bullets. Nobody should.
Children in elementary school shouldn’t have had to feel that way, either.
Families on city streets. People at a shopping mall, attending a football game, going to work, coming home on the train, walking to church, playing soccer, swimming in the community pool. None of those people should have to be afraid.
None of them should have to expect, because of where they live or who they are or what they love, that they will be in mortal peril, just for going outside. Just for living in the world. Just for living their lives.
None of them should have to think about getting shot at.
None of them, none of us, should have to spend every day cowering in fear of a culture of armed paranoia that makes ordinary acts into reckless endeavors. None of us should have to delude ourselves — and we all have to, to a certain extent — that we can’t be touched by violence. Violence should not be so common that we have to lie to ourselves in order to avoid going mad.
I am not glad you were afraid, Rep. Davis. Your fear doesn’t make anyone else less fearful. Your actions could. Because you shouldn’t have to think you’ll go to baseball practice and get shot at.
I’m sorry that now, you do.