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FBI Special Agent Tim Slater

At a press briefing today, FBI Special Agent Tim Slater said that members of a “dignitary protection team” were the first responders to James T. Hodgkinson’s attack on the GOP Congressional baseball practice game in Alexandria. That’s Washington-speak for “bodyguards” — and, in this case, “dignitary the bodyguards were there for was Representative Steve Scalise, the House Majority Whip.

Despite the fact that dozens of Senators and Representatives of all levels of seniority milled about on an open, unsecured field, Rep. Scalise was the only person that the government security services deemed important enough to warrant protection. Ironically, he was the man who was the victim most seriously wounded in the attack.

That’s not particularly surprising. Resources are limited, priorities have to be prioritized. Sometimes you’re the last person to get on the train; sometimes the train leaves without you. More on that in a minute.

Senator Rand Paul’s eyewitness account to MSNBC’s Morning Joe is very illuminating for a lot of reasons. Mr. Paul has a physician’s mind and very clinically dissects what was going on from his perspective. It’s worth listening to, particularly for anyone wanting to know how these attacks go down, and the sorts of decisions that must be made — in a split-second, with dire consequences for choosing poorly. I’ve transcribed some of the relevant portions below.

Sen. Paul was in one of the batting cages behind a tall fence when the attack began.

The first shot was sort of an isolated shot…. Then…there was a rapid succession…five or ten shots…. I’m outside the perimeter, I’m on the right field line in the batting cages outside the field…in the field I see Rep. Scalise is shot, but moving, and he’s trying to drag himself through the dirt through the outfield.

There’s two staffers in the field…they were laying down, but I’m seeing the shots hitting the dirt around them. They’re trying to make a difficult decision: do we lay here, stay low and hope he doesn’t hit us…? You have to make a decision at some point whether to stay or run. One of the staffers scrambled up over the fence [JKP: to Paul’s side of the fence], it was probably a 15-20 foot fence, he did it in about two seconds…. I don’t think I could’ve done that! He and I were hiding behind a tree.

But it takes a few minutes to determine — you’re not sure where they’re coming from. My instinct was they were coming from the third base line, and as more shots were fired, we were pretty sure that was [true], but we were kind of not sure which side of the tree to stand on. Because you’re not sure where the shots are coming from.

Everyone seemed to be congregating away from the third base side, behind small buildings in the dugout. The people in the field, unfortunately, didn’t have much of a chance because nobody could get to them, and they couldn’t get to us…. There was no way to get to people like Scalise until the firing would stop….

Eugene Simpson Stadium, via

I think he continued to reload, I probably heard 50-60 shots, and then finally we heard a response from the Capitol Hill Police. We’re actually very lucky they were there….  I could see him way in the distance…the gun sounded like an AR15 to most of us…we couldn’t see the gun, but it was a rifle.

One of the thing that’s really fortunate is that everyone probably would have died except for the fact that Capitol Hill Police were there and, the only reason they were there was because we had a member of leadership on his team. If Scalise hadn’t been on our team…it probably saved everyone else’s life. If you don’t have a leadership person, there probably would’ve been no security there….

We live in a free and open country, you know, a lot of people think when I travel I’ve got security, but we’re just like normal people. I go to the grocery store like a normal person, I go to the gas station. We live in a country where we hope there’s not such hatred or craziness. I don’t know. Disappointing. Sad.

We were picked up by a car driving by, we jumped in the car and left the scene…. The Capitol Hill Police, incredibly brave, probably saved the lives of everybody…. Had they not been there, it would’ve been a massacre…. We had no weapons and no place to hide. If he’d had advanced on the rest of us, there’d have been no chance. The only chance we had was that the shots were returned by Capitol Hill Police….

There’s a lot that can be learned from Sen. Paul’s riveting account, But the question I’d like everyone to consider — and this not to offend, joke, or insult, but as a serious question — why were the security services the only ones armed? They wouldn’t have even been there except for the presence of the House Majority Whip. Did no one think that a group of Senators, Representatives and their staffers gathering at an unsecured baseball field might pose a tempting, soft target for any two-bit loser who wanted to make a name for himself?

More likely, the thought never crossed anyone’s mind. It’s easy to fall into a mindset that someone else is going to take care of your physical safety for you. Insanely easy if you’re a politician in DC. But the rest of us ordinary folk aren’t immune to the siren call of “condition white” either, even though we don’t even rate a mention on the protection priority list.

Physical safety isn’t something to be delegated in extremis. Plan B has to be ready, thought through, before the balloon goes up.

The late Jeff Cooper commented that once someone in the public eye took his armed self-defense course at Gunsite, they ceased to employ bodyguards, except to “watch their car.” I suppose there’s something both frightening and liberating that occurs when we all realize that we’re our own best bodyguard. That lesson was driven home to some of the most powerful politicians in the country today.

At the very least, I hope that people still on the fence about the Second Amendment remember that when the rest of us — ordinary, decent citizens all — insist on having the chance to protect ourselves from terrorists like the one who hit Alexandria this morning.

UPDATE: At least one Congressman agrees. Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) has announced that his gun is “going to be in my pocket from this day forward.”

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  1. “…— why were the security services the only ones armed?”

    Because a lot of team probably lived in DC. For all practical purposes, a ‘may issue’ jurisdiction.

    That’s an open-and-shut case for 50 state reciprocity…


    • Except we all know it is not an “open and shut case” on reciprocity. If anything many will consider this an “open and shut case” for a renewed AWB.

      • Actually I tis open and shut for reciprocity. less than 0.1% of gun deaths are from assault rifles.
        There were 350,000 assault rifles in private hands in the middle of the ban and now about 30 million and killings with them have fallen.
        As we have seen from paris etc, banning guns does not ban bad guys from getting them

      • A guy killed way more at the naval yard with a Joe Biden approved as safe shotgun.
        A guy killed 60 people in Norway (biggest mass shooting ever) with a gun that is not an assult rifle.

        your nonsense post is why support for banning assult rifles has consitantly fallan for 25 years now. And yonger people are most oppsed to asult rifle bans than the geezers who are the gun control adovates.

        • He’s probably right, though. Facts don’t matter, remember? The guy used an evil black rifle, so of course they must be banned. No matter they’re so seldom used in crimes, statistically speaking.

        • 50 to 60 rounds out an “assault rifle” and he injured a few and killed none. A guy with a pistol in san francisco (what is that 110% Democrat?) killed someone a few minutes ago. The evidence is clear that revolvers and shotguns are used kill many more people than “assault rifles.” And at this point there is no support for the idea that there are more revolvers in the US, in fact that is doubtful.

          But the call to ban and confiscate assult rifles is helpful, it shows how marginal the gun control nannies are: half of Democrats now oppose an assult rifle ban, down from near 90% of dems supporting it 25 years ago!

        • It’s not nonsense. All I am saying is that this will not change any anti-gunner minds. Many of them will simply read that the shooter used an M4 (which he probably didn’t)/AR-type rifle, a favorite target of vilification for the pro-control crowd. Full stop after that. Never mind the facts regarding their near non-existent use crime. That’s not what it’s about. Where we will think the antis crazy for not seeing the value of an armed citizenry in this situation, they will think us crazy for continuing to defend so-called “assault rifles.”

        • No, Chris – San Francisco is at least 130% Democrat, if you add in illegals, people who have moved, and dead people along with write-ins from everywhere and stuffed ballot boxes. Thank God some of the live ones are too lazy to vote, or we’d have landslides in excess of registered voters like we did in Detroit in 2016. It’s all to avoid another 2000 election.

      • Yep. I agree Swilson. I believe we will get the chance to see if the Republican majorities in the House and the Senate will try to pass National Reciprocity, or an AWB, due to this little wake up call.

        And then we will get the chance to see which The Donald will veto, or sign into law.

        And then we will see what an America Made Great Again will look like, or one sunk into the throes of a civil war, depending on which one The Donald decides to make into law .

      • Swilson, the gun control Nazis aren’t in control of the House, Senate, or White House.

        *WE ARE*… 🙂

        Think about it, he is right, they should be allowed to carry, and what a wonderful scrap of red meat to throw us as they help themselves.

        They win, we win.

        The more I think about it, the more I like it…

        • Geoff,

          Of course they should have the right to carry…they’re American citizens, we all *should* have that right. I think maybe I’m not representing my thoughts clearly. I get that Congress and the WH are in the hands of Republicans. I understand and agree that this is an excellent case for national concealed carry reciprocity. BUT, I’m not one that needs convincing. Lefties, gun-grabbers, antis, etc will never be convinced though. Their brains work differently. Where we see a good case for armed resistance by citizens, they will see a good case for continuing to demand “reform” in the shape of an AWB or something similar. They don’t care they’re not in control of Congress, or that there isn’t a Dem president…they’ll shout from the rooftops and still introduce legislation to restrict civil rights. They won’t quietly go home and reflect on this tragedy and think about how a good guy with a gun could (and did) stop this attack. They will look at this and think “See LE protected these people from a nutjob with a gun that he, nor anyone, should ever have access to.”

        • For now. Midterms are usually tough for the President’s party, and that’s true for even highly popular Presidents, which Trump is not. Depending on if and how badly 2018 goes for Republicans, gun control may make a return.

        • Swilson, ObamaCare was rammed down our throats on the *slimmest* majority.

          The Senate will be no problem, as in no filibuster, thanks to Harry Reid gutting it to push Obama’s agenda down our throat.

          We’ll do this to them the *exact* same way. Call it ObamaCare Karma in action…

          *Mega-Snicker* 🙂

        • If we push for it, they can’t stop it even if they tried.

          They can cry all they want, IT WON’T MATTER. We have the votes to pass it.

          There is NOTHING they can do about it!!!

          Obama made us choke on ObamaCare, they will get to choke on 50 state reciprocity.

          Karma, a revenge dish that tastes good at any temperature, even cold…

        • “Depending on if and how badly 2018 goes for Republicans, gun control may make a return.”

          All the more reason to nail this down before mid-terms, Carlos…


        • Agreed, Geoff, but that’s going to take everyone pulling in the same direction, which has not happened too often so far.

        • Geoff, the filibuster was only removed for appointees. It is still in place for legislation. McConnell said he would not eliminate it.

      • “Except we all know it is not an “open and shut case” on reciprocity. If anything many will consider this an “open and shut case” for a renewed AWB.”

        He used an SKS, most variants of SKS were/are legal in DC before and after Heller, legal in DC during the assault rifle ban and legal in DC today. It is legal in Canada. In fac the mag fed versions are legal. it is only varients with thumbhole or grip below action that are illegal in those places.

        The shooter was not disqualified prohibited person in DC (or illinios, California, Massachusetts or Maryland) before or after Heller either.

        Gun control groups are already FALSELY using his domestic violence arrest to claim their domestic violence check would have stopped him from legally possessing his firearm. In fact he was not convicted of domestic violence.

        Expect this shooting to be used by gun control nuts to put forward the “Australia solution” That is the only “solution” that would have impeded this. I.e., ban on all semi auto rifles and handguns — and mass confiscation.

        They will do this incrementally.

        • Yea, I saw that new reports have him using an SKS. Although I know initial reports are usually erroneous, pretty much all sources were reporting an M4/AR type rifle at the time of my posts.

  2. Good for Rep. Collins. But so what? Who’s going to arrest him for carrying in a Federal facility?

    Now if regular government workers could carry without committing a Federal felony, that would be worth something.

  3. What makes Collins think that the D.C. police will grant him a CCW? And even if he does get one, isn’t it true that Capitol Hill is a guns free zone (except for LEO and security services)?

    • I personally know someone who has a DC carry license. A non-resident small business owner who occasionally does work in DC. It’s possible. Certainly, who would deny a Congressional application, as long as they weren’t otherwise prohibited?

      • “Johannes Paulsen says:
        June 14, 2017 at 13:18
        I personally know someone who has a DC carry license. A non-resident small business owner who occasionally does work in DC. It’s possible. Certainly, who would deny a Congressional application, as long as they weren’t otherwise prohibited?”

        Yo may know someone but you certainly don’t know DC law, regs or MPD requirements

        Your DC business address (and you absolutely are required to have one even for non resident) cannot not be a gun free zone. No congressional staffer, and about 95% of people who work on the hill are staffers, not members, can use longworth as their address for a carry application.

        You at leaving out a lot of salient facts:

        1) There are a total of about 65 resident and non resident carry permits.

        2) “occasionally works in DC”? NO. He must have an address under his ownership or leased to him to get a DC carry.

        3) His DC carry license will expire and he will be non-qualified once a prior threat to him become more than three years old, or if at three years he can no longer document he is carry large amounts of currency, jewelry or legal drugs as a necessary part of his job.

        4) DC effective refusal rate for carry permits is about 99%. yes about 300 applied and 65 were granted but HUGE numbers of people who would apply, for certain virtually all 11,000 legal the DC gun owners.
        A DC gun owner of a legally registered firearm is committing a felony if 9mm brass pops off the guy next to him into his pocket at the range in Virginia and he drives into DC. You can have a live round in your pocket in DC if you have a carry, you are committing a felony to have shot brass in your pocket f you have a legally register firearm but no carry licensed.
        If you drive by a Dicks sporting goods in Virginia your SUV and don’t happen to have a locking container, you can buy ammo and bring it into DC if you have a carry, you can’t if you only have a ownership permit.

        If you have a carry you and your wife can list each other’s firearms and possess them. If you and your wife have an ownership permit you can NEVER touch each others firearms in DC.

        It is because of DC draconian, one tiny mistake and you go to jail laws for legal gun owners, that in DC especially people with registration would want to avail themselves of carry licenses to protect against prosecution. you know that 3/4 would apply if they already did not know that DC says “forget it” unless you have a pal VERY high up at MPD

    • You may be reasonably certain that if enough Congress critters insist that they be allowed to carry on the Capitol grounds, such will come to pass.

      • I’m sure even the lefties (no baseball pun intended) will create a capitol carve out for themselves since they are a higher class of citizen and can be trusted to be safe with a gun

  4. 50-60 shots fired. Damn this guy had no idea how to use that rifle and/or was amped on “buck fever”.

    Either way he was just spraying rounds rather than actually really aiming. Again, we’re saved to some degree by the incompetence of these violent nutjobs.

  5. Interesting that Rand Paul is pro-2A(on paper anyway). And hilarious is the call for “UNITY”…

    • Rand Paul is one of the most pro freedom representatives in the Senate? Where are you getting this garbage calling him anti 2A?

      • While Rand Paul is pro-2A, he is not like most of us. It’s not his “thing.” He has a lot of other stuff going on. He had no idea about the HPA until a constituent at a town hall meeting brought it up. He said he was in favor of what he heard and that anything that lessens burdens on the 2A was a good thing in his opinion.

        The issue with Rand Paul is making sure his constituents inform him of the 2A issues.

  6. “…why were the security services the only ones armed?”

    I don’t remember the name, but I heard an interview earlier this morning with one of the Congress members who was at the field. He mentioned that several of them would normally have been carrying – since they could do so in VA – but they did not since they’d be turning around and heading back to DC shortly and it was too much hassle.

    I suspect they will be re-balancing that equation in the future.

  7. What we really, really need, is Commiecrat control!

    At least since this one has assumed room tempature, he wont be trying it again!

    These are always perpertrated by “Commiecrats”, put them on the “no gun list”!

    But of course to the really dedicated ones, that wont make any difference! Its just partbof their belief, “The laws dont pertain to me”!

  8. If Scalise hadn’t been on our team…it probably saved everyone else’s life.

    Scalise may have been the principal target, in which case if Scalise hadn’t been on the team, nobody would have been shot.

    a lot of people think when I travel I’ve got security, but we’re just like normal people.

    I have news for you, dumbshit. You are “normal people,” or maybe a little worse.

  9. I found myself unarmed in a Walmart yesterday, first time in a while I’ve been unarmed outside work.

    It was unnerving and I found myself significantly spending more time than usual planning escape routes and locating the closest three exits. Glad at least one of these agrees

    • Terhe are more legal gun carriers and owners than ever and your risk of being murdered has fallen by almost 60%.
      Just carry as often as you are able and don;t worry, the criminals have been largely detered.

      And worry less in a walmart than you woud worry in Decmorat run cities, where murder decline has been much less than the national declines.

      • Luckily I live in a gun friendly open carry state. My concern arose from being in an unfamiliar part of town and a store I’ve never been in.

  10. “It sounded like an AR-15” 10 cents gets you a dollar he couldn”t tell the difference between a 45 and a 5.56

  11. Concealed carry,NO PERMIT reguired,nationally—it is time. How much did the comedian holding a head of Trump & a NYC play depicting the killing of Trump contribute to thus shooting? If good art can have good consequences then bad art can have bad consequences.

  12. Someone may have brought this up in another thread but this seems like the guy wanted to be a martyr. 60 somthing year old child who finally figured out he wasn’t gonna get his way. Spray and pray at the hated “other side” with the evil black rifle, go down in a blaze of glory, and prompt another round of ban some guns. That’s what it seems like to me anyways. 50 to 60 shots fired and he didn’t manage to kill a single person. I’d think if someone was intent on killing to make a statement they would prepare better.


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