In case you’ve been off the grid you are aware that on Wednesday, June 14th an Illinois man, James T. Hodgkinson, 66, open fired with a rifle at a baseball practice of Republican lawmakers preparing for a Thursday night game with Democrats.

My apologies to the great Frank Capra movie, “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington,” starring the late Jimmy Stewart, but there are some comparisons between Mr. Smith and Mr. Hodgkinson.

Mr. Smith And Mr. Hodgkinson Comparisons

For those of you who have not see the movie Mr. Smith Goes To Washington might want to check it out.

In the movie, Mr. Smith is not elected — local corrupt politicians under the misapprehension they would be able to control his votes for their own profiteering appoint him.

Mr. Smith accepts the appointment to be a positive force for a children’s charity he favors.

Mr. Hodgkinson was self-appointed to go to Washington to make a difference and clean out perceived corruption as well.

Both men were spurred on by the approval of their particular groups. Smith by his children’s charity and Hodgkinson by Facebook posts of which his followers approved and encouraged.

Both were on a quest to make a difference— just in different ways.

One story being fiction and one being fact produced two different outcomes. Mr. Smith vanquished his enemies with the help of one of the very corrupters he wanted to stop.

Hodgkinson, on the other hand, was under the same impression that he was going to eliminate what he saw as another form of government corruption.

He saw a political party, not government, as the enemies responsible for all the ills foisted upon him.

He felt that one man can end corruption if you end the lives of the corruptors.

Some Final Thoughts

As everyone knows this incident could have had a much more tragic outcome. We could have been burying multiple people had the shooter had full access to the practice facility and had Capital Police not been there to protect the one person most seriously wounded — House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Lousiana’s 1st District.

In recent years many politicians are forced to hire private security when out of Washington, they’re shouted down at town hall meetings, threatened on social media and emails.

Is it any wonder that running for national office might give some very good future Mr. Smiths pause?

Has civilization come this far for this? Can we no longer exchange points of view without threat of physical violence?

Is the line between free speech and hate speech blurring? Do we even dare voice our thoughts in public unless we’re packing heat?

I think it’s time for all of us to stand up to those in social media that attack viewpoints rather than exchange them. Your life might depend on it.

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