There’s always at least one person in a political debate to throw out the “Both sides do it” meme. But this mainly applies to corporate lobbying and influence, of which both Republicans and Democrats are unfortunately guilty.
Rarely does this talking point apply to gun control, though. Democrats, progressives, and liberals are almost universally in favor of stricter gun laws. Republicans and conservatives, on the other hand, favor looser gun regulations.
After Wednesday’s attack on GOP House members at an early morning baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, we find ourselves once again comparing notes and pointing fingers.
Since the gunman who critically wounded House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) was a reported volunteer for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) presidential campaign and outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, the right is now jumping at the opportunity to point its finger at the “violent left.”
A component to the shooting’s aftermath is the inevitable question some in the media are asking: Which party, Republican or Democrat, has statistically been literally targeted more throughout our nation’s history?
Since the year 1789 when Congress officially began, seventeen 17 members of Congress have fallen victim to gun violence, 14 of which were directly tied to politics – most of them Democrats.
Below is a list, in descending order since 2011, the last time a member of Congress was shot.
- Sen. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was shot in the head January 8, 2011. She survived, but six others did not.
- Rep. Leo Ryan (D-Calif.) was killed November 18, 1978, in Guyana while investigating the People’s Temple cult.
- Sen. Robert Kennedy (D-N.Y.) was shot and killed at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968 minutes after accepting the Democratic nomination for president.
- Reps. Kenneth Roberts (D-Ala), Ben Jensen (R-Iowa), George Fallon (D-Md.), Clifford Davis (D-Tenn.), and Alvin Bentley (R-Mich.), were shot outside the Capitol Building on March 1, 1954 by Puerto Rican nationalists.
- Sen. Huey Long (D-La.) was shot and killed in the Louisiana State Capitol building on September 8, 1935.
- Rep. Pinckney (D-Texas), and his brother were shot and killed at a political event on April 24, 1905.
- Sen. David Broderick (D-Calif.) was shot during a duel with David Terry, the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court on September 13, 1859, dying three days later.
- Klu Klux Klan member George A. Clark shot and killed Rep. Hinds (R-Ark.) on October 22, 1868.
- Kentucky congressman William Graves shot and killed Rep. Jonathan Cilley (D-Maine) on February 24, 1838.
- The first member of Congress killed was Rep. Spencer Pettis (D-Miss.), who was fatally wounded in a duel with Thomas Biddle on August 28, 1831.
Regardless of which “side” one is on, gun violence is gun violence, and it’s increasing due to bellicose rhetoric and firearm availability. Unfortunately, the scourge continued this week with the attack on the GOP congressional baseball practice and a UPS facility in San Francisco.
Even right-wing golden boy and gun enthusiast Ted Nugent stated he would tone down his aggressive language after this week’s events.
Jane Sanders, wife of Sen. Sanders, this week accused the mainstream of complicity in fanning the flames of aggression. To Wolf Blitzer on CNN, she said:
“I think the media needs to look at itself as well. The media characterizes every conversation as an adversarial one. Your job, the media’s job, I think, is to illuminate the facts, not fan the flames … And the media continues to cover the latest scandal, the latest back and forth, but not the issues so much.”
Our thoughts are with Rep. Steve Scalise, Capitol police officers, Alexandria police officers, and congressional staffers who were also injured in the melee.
Watch this report to learn more about the representatives shot over the years (after the jump):
Featured Image: Screenshot Via YouTube Video.