New Security Protocols Implemented For Congress
SPRINGDALE — James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Ill., died following a shootout with Capitol police after he opened fire about 7:06 a.m. June 14, 2017 on several members of Congress and others practicing on a baseball field at Alexandria, Va.
Speaking about the incident after a sendoff he hosted for appointees to various military academies including former Farmington cornerback Javan Jowers and former Gravette wide receiver Daniel Huntsman, Congressman Steve Womack, R-Rogers, said the attack serves as a reminder that people who are predisposed to committing a terrorist act will use high-profile events — including sporting events, concerts, and those type of venues where a lot of people are gathered — to try to further their objective.
“People that are predisposed to committing those kinds of acts choose locations that go right to the heart of the soul of America and obviously sports is one of those common denominators that unites a lot of us,” Womack said during an interview at the Har-Ber High School cafeteria in Springdale on June 2.
New security protocols were implemented for members of Congress after the shooting.
“We’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of that shooting, and I had really, really dear friends of mine that were impacted by it, not the least of whom was Steve Scalise,” Womack said. “It has changed a lot of the protocols in Washington anymore when a number of members (of Congress) are together there’s usually some kind of security detail close by or at least local authorities are alerted.”
Even though Womack wasn’t present at Simpson Field in Alexandria, Va., when the shooting happened, the intensity of recalling the event was apparent. He rubbed his chin and clutched his chest during the interview.
“Yeah, it bothers me, and it troubles me that we have to have all these security precautions up at all the ballparks and Razorback Stadium and those kinds of places,” Womack said. “It’s troublesome, but it’s the world we live in.”
Democrats and Republicans played their annual Congressional baseball game for charity the day following the shooting with the Democrats winning, 11-2.
The game, which previously sold between 8,000 and 9,000 tickets, played at Washington Nationals ballpark, drew a record crowd of 24,959 and raised more than $1 million for charitable contributions.