The “Massacre Script” Redux at GOP Baseball Practice. GOP Whip Rep. Steve Scalise Wounded, Staffers, and Capitol Police Attacked By Armed Gunman
Michael J. Matheron, June 14, 2017
[References are to MSNBC “Morning Joe” coverage]
Early this morning, while at a recreational baseball practice session in Simpson Park, Alexandria, Virginia, Republican senators, congressmen, staff members, and Capitol Hill Police (CHP) were attacked by (apparently) one attacker, injured by CHP, and now in custody. GOP Majority Whip, Louisiana’s Steve Scalise, sustained a serious hip injury, but reportedly is in stable condition. Ohio congressman Brad Wenstrup , a podiatrist who was a surgeon in Iraq from 2005-2006 assisted Mr. Scalise,and Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks applied a tourniquet to Scalise’s leg.
One unidentified staff person apparently was wounded, name and condition unknown. Two CHP were wounded but in stable condition according to reports thus far, names not yet released.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul provided an on-site review of what happened as he viewed the scene from the batting cage while ammunition tore up the area around him and others, he said “it’s sad that this kind of stuff happens.” There’s a report that Tennessee Congressman Duncan left practice early and actually spoke with the eventual shooter, who later on (apparently) fired shots from behind the dugout. The “blood score” of the wounded thus far at 8:26 am (DST) is four, two congressmen (one whose name has not been thus far released on MSNBC) and two Capitol Hill Police officers.
Democratic members were at another site. In a very chilling report, Florida GOP Congressman Ron DeSantis recalls the shooter asking whether Democratic or Republicans were practicing at the field. Whether political persuasion was dispositive of the attacker’s motivation, simply curiosity, or of no meaning whatever, no one presently knows.
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I wrote the article below following the 2012 Newtown, Connecticut elementary School mass murder.
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Connecticut Elementary School Mass Murder – The Massacre Script
By Michael Matthew Bloomer, Dec. 15, 2012.
Reports of shootings of more than three people come in, some sketchy, some false. The button called “Murder” is pressed firmly at TV and radio stations worldwide. Banners like “This just in,” “Breaking news,” and “Special report” appear on screens and from radios nationwide, not yet worldwide. More details emerge, some valid, some outrageously incorrect. Tweets overload the internet. Tweet-driven consensus reached by most telecommunicators. Buttons labeled “Mass Murder,” “Shootings,” and “School” quickly pressed. More details emerge directly from site. “Elementary school” button engaged. Scripts everywhere call upon memory, established patterns, usual guests head station-ward in fast cars. Live reports on the ground rush in. Initial facts emerge. Number of casualties assessed. How many “shooters”? “Kindergarten” script rushed into studios everywhere. This is new.
How could this happen? At an elementary school?! Who could do such a thing? More official-sounding reports arrive from school officials, law enforcement, first responders, local hospital(s), parents. Kindergarten classroom!??? Maybe 30 dead, mostly children?? Kindergartener? Babies. Official numbers emerge, information about shooter still sketchy. Another shooter? No. One shooter. He’s dead. Suicide affirmed. What’s his name?
Today’s not the day to talk of gun laws. 20 children dead, six adults, the “shooter” himself, all shot with deadly purpose – there is only one injured, all the rest are dead. School principal, school psychologist, teacher. 20 babies. 20 babies, 20 babies.
His name was Adam Lanza. He had pistols. Today is not the day to speak of gun control. Mourn today. Tomorrow gun control. “Shooter” was young man. Mother was Kindergarten teacher. Shot dead. No commercials yet. Maybe another shooter, or accomplice, Afam Lanza’s brother? How could anyone do such a thing? Where did he get his guns? Were they legal? He must have been either evil to the core or clinically insane. Why did he not get noticed? Has the mental health system again failed us?
Today is not the day to speak of gun control. Tomorrow. Perhaps in a few days. Not now. Mental health system, what happened? Or is he simply evil beyond description? kindergartener? Interviews of parents and tiny witnesses rush in. That’s the script, people want to know, they want to empathize, they like to feel engaged, a part of it all. “Please tweet us your reactions. We’ll be scrolling them at the bottom of your screen.” Commercial break for Fidelity Investments, Dial soap, orange juice, class action suits “you may be eligible for,” and tax problem mitigation firms. “New details emerge.” Mother of shooter was not at school after all. Found dead at her home. Adam Lanza, her son, shot her dead and then drove car to Sandy Hook Elementary.
Confirmed: 20 children, six adults dead. Includes “shooter’s” Mother, found at home as we just reported. Most of dead children were in one classroom. Four and five-year olds? How could anyone do such a thing? Where did he get his guns? Were they legally obtained? He must have been either evil to the core or clinically insane. Why did he not get noticed? Has the mental health system again failed us? How could he get those guns?
Today is not the day to speak of gun control. Tomorrow. Perhaps in a few days. At least by Tuesday. Must be discussed, an “adult discussion.” Youngsters describe their reactions, experiences. “Yes,” says the five year old girl with missing front teeth,
“We wunned from the cwasswoom as fast as we could. I was fwightened and heard ‘boom, boom, boom’ everwhere.”
More details, more details, more details. Interviews, parents, babies, 4th graders. People want to know, they want to empathize, they like to feel engaged, a part of it all: “Please tweet us your reactions.”
Guns were registered to “shooter,” Adam Lanza’s Mother! Legally purchased. President Obama, Connecticut’s Governor, all will speak soon. Local law enforcement press conference in three minutes. Stay tuned. Commercials roll. We now go to the Newtown police force press conference. “We cannot answer many of your questions.” “Why?” “What about this?” “No.” “What about that?” “No. Can’t comment. Facts not in yet.” “But surely you can tell us . . .” “No. I cannot. Investigation ongoing.”
“Is today the day to talk about gun laws?” “No. Perhaps in a week or so.” “Can you tell us what you cannot discuss?” “No. We’ll be having another press conference in two hours and maybe I can answer that question then.” Roll commercial break featuring Cialis.
More details. Same details. Same interviews. New news: President Obama tangentially mentioned his frustration with gun laws, seemed to imply reform was on the table. Did he go too far this soon after the massacre of 20 children, reporters asked? He cried too.
Very serious panel discussion now about when it will be appropriate to talk about gun control. But not today. Mourn today. We can talk mental health though. Let’s do. Mental health system can be spoken of. It stinks. Needs major reforms. But state budgets are tight, solutions difficult. And we now know “shooter’s” gun was legally purchased! See. Legal. But mental health. Why did the system fail this young man? Failed society. Failed the poor babies. Was the shooter just simply in the final analysis at the end of the day just plain garden variety everyday evil? Hanging’s too good for him were he alive. “I wish to thank our panel for their very serious and appropriate input.”
New panel. On gun control! Tentative. It’s too soon to discuss this! No one wants to. Famous Atlantic magazine reporter: “But let me point out that there are innumerable schools where this kind of kindergarten event does not happen. And guns are everywhere. 300 million in the U.S. This particular massacre is an isolated incident. By and large our country is very very safe. Most of us have a very good chance statistically of never being killed in a massacre or even injured as result of gun violence. You have more of a chance of being in a car accident.”
Panelist: “No. What Atlantic guy just said is totally wrong, dangerous even.” Atlantic: “Is not.” Panelist: “Is.” Atlantic: “We must not be anti peaceable gun owners!” Panelist: “I’m not.” Atlantic: “You are. We need to mourn today.”
Panelist: “Can’t we mourn and discuss gun control?” Atlantic: “Nope, you’re anti anti anti peaceable gun owners!” Panelist: “Am not.” Atlantic: “Are.” News anchor: “Thanks to our panel for this albeit premature discussion of gun laws.”
Roll advertisement for “Les Miserable, the movie,” and Cymbalta because depression hurts. First responders grieving, weeping openly. Crisis counselors available. Keep tweeting. Third grader describes bullets’ sounds. “I closed my eyes.”
“And dear God, it’s Christmas season! Thoughts and prayers.”
- The following day, Saturday, December 15, among other things, we learn that the children were not kindergartners, but first graders, all aged six or seven;Ryan Lanza shot each victim multiple times, with a rifle, not a handgun. He had no criminal record, but was believed to have had a “personality disorder,” perhaps Asperger’s disorder. He was described as awkward, remote, odd, very different, nervous, smart, shy, seemingly unable to feel physical pain. Ryan Lanza’s Mother, Nancy Lanza, whom Ryan killed before driving her car to Sandy Hook was not a kindergarten teacher at Sandy Hook, nor was she ever associated with the school;His Father, Peter, had not been killed, and a major anti-gun control advocacy group of some 300,000 members, Gun Owners of America, blamed proponents of more restrictions on gun purchases and licensing for the Sandy Hook Massacre.
- Although it was “far too soon to discuss gun laws,” on the day of the shooting they quickly asserted: “Gun control supporters have the blood of little children on their hands. Federal and state laws combined to insure that no teacher, no administrator, no adult had a gun at the Newtown school where the children were murdered. This tragedy underscores the urgency of getting rid of gun bans in school zones. The only thing accomplished by gun free zones is to insure that mass murderers can slay more before they are finally confronted by someone with a gun.”1