It was nothing short of a miracle, and a tragedy, that two Capitol Police officers were safeguarding Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and his fellow lawmakers on June 14 when a gunman opened fire at a practice for a charity baseball game. Officers David Bailey and Crystal Griner successfully held off the gunman while taking fire until Alexandria, Va., police could arrive.
The miracle part is that only the gunman was killed in the rifle vs. handgun shootout, although Scalise, Bailey, Griner and others were wounded. The tragedy part is that while Scalise is getting the best medical care money can buy at a private inpatient rehabilitation center and not giving a second thought about meeting deductibles, the friends of the two officers have been forced to start Go Fund Me accounts on their behalf to pay for their medical expenses and recovery time.
Nothing epitomizes America’s lopsided health care system quite like this case in point. Scalise=best of care. Bailey and Griner=Go Fund Me crowdsourcing. When not threatening North Korea* with “fire and fury,” Donald Trump is still urging Congress to re-introduce another Obamacare replacement that would strip 20-plus million Americans of any health care. That fits with his plan to give massive tax breaks to the wealthy. The first two versions, one by the House of Representatives and one introduced by the Senate, failed miserably when just three Republicans opted to vote what’s best for their constituents instead of what’s best for the party.
But Trump and Republicans are tone-deaf when it comes to the misfortune of others. To his credit, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) had the decency to return to the Senate after a brain cancer diagnosis and help defeat the Obamacare repeal. (A fellow senator said yesterday the cancer caused his poor thinking. How about we get McCain a gun, have him shoot the guy, and see if that cancer-thinking stuff will work on a grand jury?) Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) deserve most of the credit on the squeaker vote for taking an early stand against injustice.
“By putting their lives on the line, Agents Bailey and Griner prevented a massacre,” Bailey’s Go Fund Me account noted. “We hope you will consider making a donation.” Bailey, a father of three, was hit by bullet fragments and was placed on administrative leave. His fund has a $30,000 goal and has raised $8,870. He was released from the hospital in time to throw the first pitch for the Congressional Baseball Game, which pits Democrats against Republicans.
Griner’s Go Fund Me account also said all money will go to supporting her recovery. “The funds that are raised will be distributed directly to her family to use as necessary,” organizers said. The fund’s goal of $20,000 topped out at $46,000 this week.
Both officers received the Medal of Valor, the highest national award a public safety officer can receive, along with three Alexandria Police Department officers. Scalise put out a statement thanking the officers. That’s right, a statement.
Just to be fair, there’s no doubt the level of injuries of Scalise and the two officers is an apples and oranges thing. Scalise was hit in the hip and seriously injured and will require many months of rehabilitation. He did not resign from office and Louisiana is short one House member (thankfully, and keep reading why). Prior to the shooting, he was vitally involved with Obamacare repeal as House Majority Whip, gathering votes to take away health care from the poor, disabled and persons with preexisting medical conditions. He is one of the least wealthy members of the House but regularly has $3.5 million on hand for re-election, thanks to Republican Party campaign contributions. Barring new developments, he should be back eating crawfish in his district and raising money for re-election from out-of-state donors very soon. If he has to pay a dime for his medical expenses, we’ll eat the newspaper that crawfish is served on.
Our thoughts are with all caught up in that insane event for a complete recovery. The gunman was shot and killed at the scene. We’re not mentioning his name or bizarre brand of politics.
* We would also like to send our thoughts to our military friends in South Korea and Guam. Keep a lid on it and be safe.