By Elaina Plott
Joe Barton didn’t see the shooter until the end. For 10 minutes he lay face down behind the dugout, tasting the dirt, listening to the gunfire. Then, for several seconds, all would go quiet. “I thought it was over, but then it wasn’t,” Barton says. The shooter had two weapons, and he’d cease fire to reload or switch from his pistol to his semi-automatic rifle. In those silent seconds, Barton’s then 11-year-old son, Jack, would peek out from under the car where he was hiding. His father would frantically yell at him to get back down.
It was June 14, 2017, a steaming morning at the Alexandria park where Republican lawmakers had gathered for baseball practice. The annual congressional baseball game was the next day and Barton, a Texas representative and the team’s manager, had scheduled one last get-together on the field.
Just after 7 a.m., a man named James Hodgkinson, toting a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun and a SKS rifle, approached the field near third-base and opened fire. He gravely wounded House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a bullet scissoring through and exploding into thousands of tiny fragments inside his hip. He hit Capitol Police Officer Crystal Griner in the ankle, and congressional aide Zack Barth in the calf. Matt Mika, a lobbyist, took a series of blows to the chest. Hodgkinson, a left-wing activist, went down after a shootout with Capitol police and Alexandria police; he would later die in surgery.
Scalise was airlifted to MedStar. Over the next several days, he underwent a series of surgeries. Meanwhile, for the first time since Gabby Giffords was shot in the head in 2011, Americans breathed the phrase “assassination attempt” aloud.
The story may be familiar, but folks like Barton grapple with new facets of it all the …read more
Via:: The Atlantic