Another mass shooting in America has prompted reactions from all corners of the political spheres, from politicians both active and inactive. Joe Biden's tweet about the Capital Gazette shooting is one such example. On Thursday night, June 28, the former vice president reacted to the attack on the Annapolis-based newspaper with a call to lawmakers.
"Another shooting. Another night in America where a father, a wife, a friend, a neighbor won’t be coming home," Biden tweeted. "We can’t accept this. It must end. Congress must act. Our hearts are with the #CapitalGazette."
The attack on the Capital Gazzette newsroom in Maryland happened on Thursday afternoon, resulting in the deaths of five employees. Four of them were journalists at the paper and one was a sales assistant. Two others were injured, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Soon after the shooting, police arrested a suspect whom they say had a grudge with the newspaper. “This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette,” William Krampf, the deputy police chief in Maryland's Anne Arundel County, said Thursday. “This person was prepared today to come in. He was prepared to shoot people.”
During the shooting, Capital Gazette crime reporter Phil Davis effectively conducted live reporting of the attack via Twitter.
"Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees," Davis tweeted at 3:45 p.m. Thursday. "Can't say much more and don't want to declare anyone dead, but it's bad."
Afterwards, Davis added, "There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload."
Among the political figures that commented on the shooting were first lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump, who wrote on Twitter, "Prior to departing Wisconsin, I was briefed on the shooting at Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene."
Melania, for her part, tweeted, "Today's violence at the Capital Gazette was tragic & evil. My heart goes out to all affected in this brutal & senseless attack, & I send thoughts & prayers for comfort to the friends, family & colleagues of those killed & injured."
The responses from both Biden and the Trumps fit a familiar pattern: There was the prominent Republican lamenting the attack while offering thoughts and prayers, and there was the prominent Democrat calling Congress to action (perhaps to no avail, ultimately).
There was genre of response that broke the mold, however. On Thursday, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch's office tweeted a defense of the media, "The shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis is an attack on our First Amendment and our most fundamental rights. Today is a day to remember the importance of a free press, and our responsibility to defend the fourth estate."
After the police evacuated the Capital Gazette's newsroom in Annapolis, Phil Davis — the reporter who live tweeted the shooting — described the scene in further detail for The Baltimore Sun.
"I’m a police reporter. I write about this stuff — not necessarily to this extent, but shootings and death — all the time," Davis said. "But as much as I’m going to try to articulate how traumatizing it is to be hiding under your desk, you don’t know until you’re there and you feel helpless."
Now, that feeling of helplessness has prompted a familiar response. It has resulted in a call for Congress to enact laws in response to another high-profile attack. This time, one of the first voices to make that call is the former vice president, Joe Biden.