U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), in a follow-up interview with Chuck Raasch of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch five months after the congressional baseball shooting, continues call to tone down political rhetoric.
The following is an excerpt from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch November 22 article.
A Thanksgiving plea for gentler debate from Rep. Rodney Davis
“Every day,” Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., says, “there is not an hour in the day that goes by that I don’t think about that morning.”
“That morning” was June 14, when a gunman from Belleville sprayed bullets around a baseball field in Alexandria, Va., severely injuring Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., and wounding four others, including two Capitol Police officers.
The gunman, James Hodgkinson, was killed after he left yet another mark of numbing violence on a year that has included mass shootings from the bright lights of Las Vegas to the sanctity of a small-town Texas church.
Davis, a third-term Republican congressman from Taylorville, often finds himself back in that warm June morning, to visions of Scalise crawling for his life beyond second base; to police officer Crystal Griner, wounded in the ankle, returning the gunman’s deadly intentions with her own fire; to critically wounded lobbyist Matt Mika bleeding profusely nearby.
The sights, smells and sounds of those frantic moments at Simpson Field, where generations of children had played, are never far away for Davis.
It’s Thanksgiving now. Five months have passed, and the memories will be met with the comfort of home and hearth. Davis, the father of three teenagers, will spend Thanksgiving Day eating at a brother’s house, then going home to “watch football and sleep a turkey dinner off,” he said in an interview this week.
“I am just thankful that no one was killed that morning,” Davis said. “I am thankful that we have been able to see ... Steve Scalise walk back onto the House floor.
“And I gotta tell you,” Davis said, “I am grateful for being able to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family, because it is a tragic event like that that gives you a lot of different perspectives.
“I’m probably a little more patient with a lot of little things with my kids, although they would probably argue that I am not patient enough,” Davis said. “Criticism, political criticisms, they really don’t bother me as much as they probably used to. The sun is going to come up the next day.”
Even before the shooting, Davis had frequently expressed concern about the tone of public discourse. In almost every interview on every topic, he’d plead for calmer debate.
He helped form a “Mainstreet Caucus” focused on policy and forging a “governing coalition” in the House of Representatives, and that group of 72 Republicans has upped its efforts in the wake of the shooting.
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