Dale Hansen recently spoke about some of the partisan blaming that started after a recent shooting targeting Republican members of Congress. Hansen, a sports reporter for WFAA-TV in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, routinely offers his personal opinions on different sports issues as part of the nightly broadcast. He gained national recognition in 2014 after he defended an openly gay football player’s right to be in the NFL. Hansen called out the role homophobia played in the debate over Michael Sam’s participation in the NFL draft. Various people asked Hansen if he planned to offer any commentary about the shooting during the sports segment since it occurred during practice for a baseball game.
Five people were wounded during the shooting including Representative Steve Scalise who is also the House Majority Whip. After the shooter was identified as a campaign supporter of Bernie Sanders, who competed to be the 2016 presidential nominee for the Democrats, the focus of some discussions around the shooting devolved into conservatives blaming liberals. Hansen explained that some people deliberately implied that there have not been any conservative leaning shooters targeting liberals and challenged him to name even one. He quickly pointed out that belief was wrong and that it did not take much effort to remember the names of conservative leaning shooters, such as Dylan Roof. Roof, who Hansen describes as a “Confederate flag-waving nut,” murdered nine people in 2015 at a South Carolina church with a history as a place for civil rights activism. One of the people Roof murdered was Democratic state senator Clementa Pinckney.
Hansen claims that focusing on if shooters were conservative or liberal happens when people do not bother to think about what they are saying. It puts the focus on the wrong thing and does not address the actual problem. He pointed out that gun control was not about taking away all guns. Hunters would still be able to hunt using guns. The focus of gun control, he remarked, was about the weapons with no other purpose than to be used against other people.
According to a study from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States ranked very poorly against comparable countries in gun related deaths. In a comparison of gun related deaths in 23 high-income nations, 82% of the deaths occurred in the U.S. even though the country had a smaller population than some of the other nations. Hansen laments that people die each day in the U.S. because of people like Roof who should never have access to a gun. The fact that the other countries in the WHO report do not have the gun violence problem that America does should serve as a wake-up call. He decried the country’s inability to address the problem without it becoming a partisan issue.