FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The man police believe opened fire on a congressional baseball practice in Virginia, was reportedly upset about President Trump taking office. James Hodgkinson apparently targeted Republican lawmakers, leaving one in critical condition.
Republican Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana was shot, and several other people, including members of Scalise’s security detail were wounded. The gunman was killed.
Many concerned about the state of the political climate – including Congressman Jim Banks. Congressman Banks calls it a “disintegration of civil discourse.”
“Gunman had strong political opinions we’re learning more about,” said Banks. “There’s so much we can learn from it. Aside from that we need to work to restore a proper level of civil discourse.”
IPFW Political Science Professor Mike Wolf said he is looking ahead to the coming days- and the political impacts. Wolfe said the First and Second Amendment will dominate the conversation.
“The high powered rifle for some will be the cause of this,” said Wolf. “For others it will be the fact that this person has said things online and elsewhere.”
Wolf said the political tone has been heading in the wrong direction for or a number of years and he said it is time for lawmakers to step up and change that.
“We are at a point where there are high levels of disagreement,” he said. “High levels of not even wanting to work with the other side. Political leaders need to take leadership and say, ‘enough is enough.’ We’ve got to try to change the tone.”
Lawmakers will likely address that and safety precautions in the coming days.
“Situations like these always lead to a re-evaluation of our safety mechanisms on Capitol Hill and when we travel,” said Banks. “As I travel around the district and have town hall meetings and discuss issues with those that have strong opinions that are different than mine, I always hope to approach the situations with as much respect as I possibly can.”