Congressman Mike Doyle

Find Congressman Doyle’s display at Duquesne University.

“The shooting caused me to think about how our words can hurt people. A lot of what happened that day has faded, but I see all of my colleagues in the Republican Party a little differently than I did the day before.”

I represent Pennsylvania’s 14th Congressional District, which includes the city of Pittsburgh and most of Allegheny County. I’ve been associated with the congressional baseball game all the years I’ve been in Congress. I was a player for 12 years, and these last 10 years, I managed the Democratic baseball team. We practice every morning. It’s very competitive. We want to beat them and they want to beat us. You get to know members from the other party in a different context, because they’re not wearing suits and debating with you on the House floor. We’re playing a game that we all love.

One day we were practicing. Our pitcher was throwing knuckleballs, because last year the Republicans had a knuckleball pitcher and it cost us. My phone went off. It was a message from my staff asking, “Are you okay?” A minute later a flash came across all of our phones that there was a shooter at the congressional baseball practice. It didn’t immediately identify which one. It wasn’t us. We practice at different fields. I called the players off the field, because I didn’t know whether this was coordinated. We sheltered in the dugout and I said, “why don’t we all say a prayer for our colleagues,” because we didn’t know if anyone was… we knew they were being shot. We said a prayer that God would protect them, and that nobody would be seriously hurt.

The police came and went back to the Capitol. We learned that six people were shot including Steve Scalise, who was the Republican Majority Whip. He didn’t always come to practice because, being in the Republican leadership, he often had other responsibilities. Because he was there he had a security detail with him. Had they not been there, there would’ve been a massacre on the field.

I remember thinking how much we’re just like everyone else. We all bleed. We have families. We have friendships. When we saw the Republicans that day, we hugged them and told them we prayed for them and how glad we were that they were alive. The shooting caused me to think about how our words can hurt people. A lot of what happened that day has faded, but I see all of my colleagues in the Republican Party a little differently than I did the day before. The shooting caused self-examination about how our words can hurt people and make people feel like they have to strike out. There’s good people on both sides. Everyone knows this, but we don’t say it enough.

 

MikeDoyle