The horrific attack on innocent Americans that occurred just over a week ago during a GOP baseball practice in Alexandria, leaving several injured, some still hospitalized and facing a painful road to recovery, seems to have finally gotten the attention of Congress. It even moved House Speaker Paul Ryan to later say before a crowd of bipartisan supporters, “An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.”
We applaud his sentiments which suggest we’re all in this thing together. But one has to wonder why Ryan hasn’t expressed such thoughts of unity when untold numbers of other senseless shootings have taken place. We join one D.C. columnist who queried, “who is this ‘us’” to whom Ryan refers.
We want to know where was the Speaker and what words of indignation did he utter when a Black 30-year-old mother of four, three months pregnant and with a history of mental illness, Charleena Lyles, was shot and killed by Seattle police officers earlier this week — officers who were responding to a call she had made after reporting a possible burglary?
What did Ryan proclaim when a Miami teenager, Trayvon Martin, simply walking to a corner store for treats while visiting his father in Sanford, Florida, was gunned down by a quick-fingered, self-proclaimed community watchman who ignored the directions of law enforcement to wait for their assistance, instead taking the law into his own hands because of his fear of a Black male in a hoodie? What kind of legislation did Ryan propose that would protect the lives of youth like Trayvon? Since the shooting in Alexandria, some members of Congress want permission to carry concealed weapons. Yes, Ryan’s cronies believe that the answer to wanton shootings is to increase the number of guns on the streets. Absurd.
Does Ryan’s silence following the thousands of gun shootings that have become all but routine in America, and his now sudden utterance of outrage, hover on the notion that some lives matter more than others? If all lives mattered to Ryan and Company, including the over 35,000 Americans who died last year due to gunfire, they’d do a swift about face and propose laws that are in direct contrast to the beliefs to which they have tethered themselves for so long.