ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Before James T. Hodgkinson went on a rampage at an Alexandria, Virginia baseball field where a group of Congressman were practicing for a charity game, he reportedly asked Republican Congressman Jeff Duncan the players’ political affiliations.
Moments later, gunfire filled the air and since then, it has left many to wonder if political disagreements have really come down to a horrifying shooting scene.
The sister of Republican Congressman Steve Scalise, who lives in St. Petersburg, was too distraught to go on camera, but their brother, Glenn, told News Channel 8 over the phone from his home in Louisiana that he’s trying to understand how this could happen.
Many people around the area wonder, have politics led some to their breaking point?
“I think the climate has been escalating for quite a long time,” said Peter Evans, a neighbor of Scalise’s sister.
We asked him if he thought it was just spilling over now and he said, “Yes, yes, I really do.”
Pam and Peter Evans live just down the street from the sister of Congressman Scalise and to them, enough is enough.
We asked Pam about the political climate and if political differences have gone too far.
“Yeah, it’s gone crazy,” she responded.
Not long after today’s attack, partisanship in Washington D.C. was put on hold, but some political analysts say that it’s only temporary, not only for lawmakers, but for constituents as well.
We asked political analyst Barry Edward if he believed America is more polarized when it comes to politics than ever before.
“America is absolutely the most polarized it’s ever been in our history.”
When we questioned political analyst Susan McGrath if Americans are not learning to become so tolerant of each other when it comes to politics, she told us, “I certainly hope not. I think most of us realize we can have honest, robust dialogue about the issues that are important to us.”
Still, even with all of the finger-pointing and the sometimes nasty rhetoric, analysts can agree scenes like this can’t play out again.
“It’s like a stone rolling downhill,” said Edwards. “It’s gathering more and more dirt and ice along the way.”
“We can have some feisty robust conversations, but we have more in common than we have in difference,” McGrath told News Channel 8.
Congressman Scalise’s brother, Glenn, told News Channel 8 that he never expected anything like this to happen to his brother, especially when it came to politics. He also told us that whatever happens, he knows his brother would forgive the shooter, because he is a Christian.
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