By Eustace C. Jackson.
September 30, 2017.
In the early dawn hours of June 14, JH, a loonie drifter from Bellville, IL, shot at a group of Congressional Republicans as they practiced for an upcoming for charity congressional baseball game. Before perpetrating his dastardly act, JH (whose full name isn’t worthy of mention in our print) inquired of a departing congressman, if the practicing group was Democrat or Republican. After having confirmed that the group Republican, he went in and began shooting at the practice participants. Armed with 2 firearms, JH had every intention of turning the arena into what Senator Rand Paul (who was present) referred to as “the killing fields.” When the dust settled, it became apparent that but for the two armed Capitol Police man and woman present (one of whom sustained gunshot injuries), Senator Paul’s fears may have been realized. JH had managed to shoot 4 people, including a congressional staffer, a lobbyist and of course Congressman Scalise, who turned out to be by far the worst injured. A single bullet to his left hip left a trail of broken bones and ruptured internal organs, triggering a massive case of internal bleeding. He was rushed to a local hospital, where top-notch doctors were assigned to his care. He was in what President Trump described as “a tough shape.” He went in and out of ICU a few times before he was deemed stable enough to be discharged on July 25. After the shooting, politicians from all sides put up the customary Kumbaya in an armistice that lasted until Manchild’s (Mr. President’s) next tweet!
Congressman Scalise is a force of nature. He isn’t physically a big man, but with his bullish disposition, he has in six short years risen to the leadership position of Majority Whip in the House of Representatives. As a Republican, he’s as loyal as they come. An ardent supporter of Trump’s agenda, he was one of the enthusiastic celebrants on the White House Rose Garden, after the House Republicans passed a moral grotesquery of a bill that would kick all of 23 million people off of their current insurance coverage. Shortly afterwards, Manchild, at whose behest this draconian law was enacted, would, in a rare moment of honesty and clarity, refer to it as being mean and heartless. Goodluck figuring that out!!
Against this backdrop, it’ll be political irresponsibility for Eustace to not inflect a little politics into this sensitive essay.
You see girls and boys, after the dastardly act of wanton slaying of first graders at Sandy Hook elementary in Newtown, CT., on 12/12/2012, Eustace totally lost faith in our lawmakers’ willingness and ability to promulgate any meaningful gun control It was often said at the time, that the NRA was a branch of the GOP. Eustace took umbrage to that myopic viewpoint then and now. The reality is quite to the contrary; the NRA owns the GOP! Yes, the GOP takes its marching orders from the NRA and the Grover Norquist led, fanatically anti-tax organization – Americans for Tax Reform – Its two biggest shareholders. Although it was disappointing, it was not at all surprising that the only law to come out of Sandy Hook was one by which Social Security beneficiaries, who have been deemed mentally incapable of managing their financial affairs are disqualified from purchasing firearms. And the NRA went berserk! Eustace is talking the huffing and puffing, blue murder, red-hot chili pepper strain of berserk. Less than 40 days into the Trump administration, that law was repealed. Guess who whipped up the votes in the House? You already know. Granted, this law, which affected all of 75,000 people – wouldn’t have curtailed JH, but why the reckless and maniacal advocacy for gun ownership?
Segue to our healthcare law. Jimmy Kimmel is a household name. He hosts a late night show on ABC and he’s quite witty. His monologue on May 7 however, was anything but funny. Delivered in a teary and trembling voice, he informed millions of viewers of his newborn son. That was joyful news until we learned of his medical woes which required immediate and major medical interventions, including specialist surgery. You see, girls and boys, Mr. Kimmel is man of means and could’ve well afforded the exorbitant costs of his son’s treatments, but Eustace suspects that by virtue of his high profile employ, he likely has full coverage medical insurance. He however saw first-hand the agony of the life and death decisions many face due largely to their financial and health insurance circumstances. Kimmel then postulated what he felt health insurance coverage should mean in this day and age on earth’s most prosperous nation. He essentially said to the effect that in today’s America, if and when people have to make life or death medical decisions concerning their loved ones, money and affordability shouldn’t be factors. The media quickly dubbed it the Kimmel test.” What gave the Kimmel test prominence was the fact that it was defined smack dab in the middle of the Republican effort to repeal the benefit laden Obamacare. Democrats embraced it like an oath and a few Republicans pledged their allegiance to the test.
Fast forward to June 14 and Congressman Scalise laying critically injured at second base. He was medically evacuated to Medstar Washington Hospital, where a team of doctors awaited his arrival. On arrival, he was rushed into surgery to stabilize his condition as a prelude to more substantive treatments. In all, he underwent 7 surgeries as part of a very comprehensive and aggressive treatment regimen. By virtue of his elective position as a representative of the people of Louisiana 6, Congressman Scalise is a recipient of taxpayer-funded full insurance coverage for himself and his entire family. Translation: his family didn’t have to concern themselves with anything other than his health. Someday, Congressman Scalise would leave Congress and would have to fend for himself insurance wise. He’d be confronted with preexisting conditions stemming from the long-term effects of his injuries. Except that he wouldn’t. Why? Because he has health insurance for life as part of his pension package. In all, girls and boys, do you think Congressman Scalise’s health insurance coverage meets the Kimmel test? Eustace says a deafening hell yeah! How about the one Congressman Scalise cheered on the Rose Garden? A blistering hell no! They don’t even belong on the same totem pole!
Now back to JH. He was politically active, which is commendable. He reportedly was a dedicated volunteer for the Bernie Sanders’ campaign (Bernie has since denounced both him and his actions). JH’s cowardly act is a textbook example of the sometimes blurry line between participating with zeal and being altogether a zealot. In hindsight, it’s fairly easy for many to deduce that JH couldn’t have been of a sound mind. That may well be true although it’s worthy of note that he was able to establish talking relationships at the “Y” with several people of repute, including a former mayor of Alexandria, VA. Eustace proposes that JH was a man filled to the brim with purposeful evil, who deliberately set out to commit mass murder of a group of people whose political views he doesn’t share. He had on him a list of 6 Republican lawmakers which the authorities believe might have been a target list. Congressman Scalise wasn’t on it. Take heart however girls and boys because as the Holy Bo ok counsels us, where evil abounds, God’s grace is even more bountiful! Eustace says it’s Providential that the only person that died in this attack was the very heavily armed JH himself!
To all you JH wannabes on any side of the political spectrum, Eustace says to repent, lay down your arms, unclench your fists and engage in the only battle the Founders prescribed – the battle of ideas! Lest you ensure for yourself an ignoble demise.
And lastly, back to Congressman Scalise. He is a true leader. By virtue of his presence on that playing field, we were spared the lives of 2+ dozen people, mostly lawmakers. Had his intervening security detail not been present, we’d be talking about a tragedy of far greater magnitude. Scripture tells us that there’s no greater love one can demonstrate than to lay down his life for his friends. He basically took a bullet for them all. We’re thankful he didn’t have to make the ultimate sacrifice.
On September 28, Congressman Scalise showed up for work under his own power albeit with crutches. He was welcomed with joyous applause from all present. A 51-year old bundle of answered prayers, Congressman Scalise had shed 50lbs and still faces arduous journey to full recovery. But he’s back at work in his leadership role as Majority Whip. The question is how will he behave? How will this experience affect him especially in the areas of healthcare and gun control. How will he behave? How will he be? Who will he be?
We shall see!