In a week where we’ve heard news report after news report that Washington, DC is a ghost town due to the government shutdown, the last thing we needed to hear was the sound of gunfire in our nation’s capitol.
Earlier this afternoon at around 2:18pm, a woman allegedly crashed her car into the White House gates, which led to a high-speed chase, a collision, and the exchange of gunfire. She was shot and killed as a result, and the lockdown was ended at approximately 3pm.
While it’s pretty unusual to hear that the instigator of the situation is a woman, it’s not completely unheard of. Women are not immune to mental illness, frustration, or the radical political ideals that lead to people doing desperate things in trying to make a statement.
(For the record, crashing into the White House gates is NOT the best way to communicate political dissent.)
One sad note: The woman had a child in the car with her. Luckily, according to CNN at this moment, the child is uninjured.
Again: taking your child with you to make a political statement that involves crashing your car is NOT a good idea.
When I heard it was a woman – and initial reports suggested it was actually the suspect doing the shooting – I immediately wondered WHY? Is she mentally ill? With a child in the car, I wondered whether she suffered from postpartum depression. What on earth would compel a woman – a MOTHER – to risk her life and her child’s life in such a fashion?
However, the saddest thought that ran through my head was my complete lack of surprise. We all feel so damned helpless. Maybe she’s frustrated because her WIC benefits were cut during the shutdown and she’s terrified that she won’t be able to feed her child. Perhaps she feels that the Affordable Care Act is such a huge mistake that she felt she needed to protest violently. Or maybe her spouse is serving overseas and she’s just exhausted with our endless wars.
There’s no way for us to know what was going through her mind, at this point. But whatever her reasons, I think we’re going to have to step back and take a long, hard look at ourselves as a nation. How can we have come to a place where this sort of event is EXPECTED?
I’m praying for everyone involved. I hope you will too.