Effects of Political Violence

Belleville, Illinois, resident James Hodgkinson left for Washington D.C. several weeks ago in order to “fix the tax system,” according to his wife Suzanne. Before leaving, he sold all his belongings, she reported. Political activist Hodgkinson then shocked our nation Wednesday morning with his rifle assault on Republican congressmen practicing for a baseball game against Democrat congressional opponents. He struck Steve Scalise (La) and four others. The ten-foot high chicken wire fence enclosing Scalise and the many others practicing for an annual Republican vs. Democrat lawmaker baseball game on Thursday, created extreme vulnerability. Two armed security detail accompanying Republican Majority Whip (vote counter) for the House of Representatives, Steve Scalise, saved many lives. “Without Capitol Hill police, it would have been a massacre—we had no defense—we had no defense at all,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said on “Fox & Friends.” “We were like sitting ducks.” Only Scalise’s two-man security detail in civilian clothes, prevented that massacre. As I write, Scalise, though somewhat improved, remains in critical condition from gunshot wounds to his hip area. A fellow representative and surgeon reported he could see the entry wound, but not the exit wound. The bullet hit Scalise in one hip, shattered into 100 pieces and continued through his body to the other hip area, affecting  many important internal organs. Doctors admitted that, when brought to the hospital, he was at risk of imminent death. He has undergone several operations already and his condition has improved. As of this writing, however, he remains in critical condition. We join his family, congressional colleagues, and our nation in prayer for his speedy recovery.

The attack didn’t come from nowhere. A comedienne’s “joke” of holding a mock severed head of our president, as well as nightly Central Park, NY, performances of “Shakespeare in The Park,” which depicted the assassination of Julius Caesar as a figure made to look like President Trump led up to this crisis of actual violence. The FBI reports that Hodgkinson had a list of Republican lawmakers on his person.

Although some on both sides of the political aisle point accusing fingers at the other side, many others have begun to call for calm, tolerance of dissent, and a non-violent response. “An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us,” Speaker Paul Ryan said in his address to congressional members. Let’s also pray that our citizens will heed these calls for national unity, including one from President Trump played on the Jumbotron at the game. Leaders of both parties need to work overtime to ratchet back the extreme rhetoric. If our democratic principle of self-government is to survive, they also need to work diligently to re-establish the civil society.

The next day, lawmakers played the scheduled game with a record crowd for this event:



Pray that God works in us to maintain our sense of unity.

[Sources: “Scalise shooter went to Washington to ‘fix the tax system,’ wife says.” Fox News June 15, 2017. Brooke Singman, “Shooting spurs calls for new lawmaker security measures” Fox News June 15, 2017. Photo: Alexander Clark, Katherine Rodriguez, Bretibart.com

About Grose

Gordon Grose loves most to write, speak, and preach on the message of hope from the book of Job. Using drama, video, and PowerPoint, he has preached and presented this message of hope to churches around the country. Grose pastored three congregations 25 years, then served 12 years as a pastoral counselor in a Portland, Oregon counseling clinic. He now serves with Good Samaritan Counseling Services, Beaverton, OR. A graduate of Wheaton College (IL), Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Brandeis University, and Boston University, he comes from a rich and varied background in theological and counseling training. In 2015, Gordon published Tragedy Transformed: How Job's Recovery Can Provide Hope For Yours, a book about turning to Job for hope after tragedy. If you have experienced life challenges or personal tragedy, visit his Transforming Tragedy (gordongrose.com) blog to learn more. TragedyTransformed.com provides a sample of Gordon's speaking as well as an opportunity to purchase copies of his book.
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