A Little Bit Of A Wonder Woman
Just what we needed for Pride Month – a Lesbian Superhero!
On the steamy first day of summer in Washington, D.C., Crystal Griner threw out the first pitch at the Congressional Women’s Softball Game to wildly enthusiastic cheers.
Griner threw her pitch from a wheelchair, where she sat, arm bandaged, her left leg raised in a complicated contraption, but smiling and showing the kind of determination and grit she once showed on the basketball court as a star athlete in high school and college.
The CWS event, now in its ninth year, pits female members of Congress against women in the Washington press corps and is a benefit for breast cancer. Griner was surrounded by a sea of pink-shirted women thrilled to recognize a different kind of survivor and a genuine hero.
One week earlier, on June 14, Griner had chased down and killed a terrorist who had attacked the early morning baseball practice for a different annual charity game. Special Agent Griner is, with Special Agent David Bailey, a member of the Capitol police force assigned to the security detail for House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA). Griner pursued the shooter, James Hodgkinson, and despite her own extensive injuries, was able to take him down.
Griner, 32, who graduated from Hood College in 2006 where she was a basketball star, was injured along with fellow officer Bailey, Scalise, congressional aide Zachary Barth and lobbyist Matt Mika. Scalise and Mika remain hospitalized.
"I know this House wants to state unequivocally that we are, as ever, awed by the tremendous bravery of the Capitol Police," Ryan said. "I spoke with Special Agent Bailey and Special Agent Griner this morning. I expressed our profound gratitude to them. It is clear to me, based on eyewitness accounts, that without these heroes, Agents Bailey and Griner, many lives would have been lost."
Hodgkinson, a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT-I), whose Facebook and Twitter pages were filled with screeds against President Trump, had many weapons and had already shot Scalise and several others with a semi-automatic rifle. Hodgkinson had gone to the field, according to sources, to "make a point" about Trump’s actions as president.
While Bailey got the near-fatally wounded Scalise to cover, Griner ran toward the gunfire in a act being termed "extremely heroic."
The courageous actions of Officer Crystal Griner, and that of Officer David Bailey, saved lives and prevented an even greater tragedy. pic.twitter.com/7RiSQTDL4E— Vice President Pence (@VP) June 15, 2017
Scalise was shot in the hip, but as is the case with semi-automatic bullets, the bullet exploded and shattered bone, tore into internal organs and Scalise was near death by the time he reached the hospital. He has required several surgeries and has had nearly his entire blood volume replaced. Several others were also shot, but all are expected to recover.
GRINER PICTURED WITH REP. STEVE SCALISE - SHOOTING VICTIM
Griner was shot in the ankle and has undergone surgery to restructure her leg and will need further surgery. She was released from the hospital just hours before the softball game. On June 15, Bailey, who had been treated and released the day of the shooting, but was on crutches, had thrown out the first pitch at the baseball game where Scalise had been expected to play.
Griner has gained notoriety for her bravery and selflessness in the face of extreme danger. Police are, of course, trained to protect and serve, but on a baseball field with no protective cover, as she and Bailey yelled to people to get down and flatten themselves against the ground, bullets stirring the dirt around everyone as Hodgkinson continued to shoot from his arsenal, Griner’s actions were extraordinary.
Whas also focused attention on Griner is the fact she’s a black lesbian on the security detail of a Congressman well known for both his racist and anti-LGBT beliefs. The irony that Scalise has been a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage has not been lost on the LGBT community.
Griner graduated from Mount Hebron High School in Ellicott City, Maryland and was a National Honor Society member. At Hood College, she played guard on the basketball team and was Rookie of the Year as a freshman, according to her player profile provided by Hood. She majored in biology.
What has angered some is the contradiction of the bravery of Griner juxtaposed to Scalise’s long history of rejecting the civil rights of women like her. Scalise authored a constitutional amendment to protect marriage from same-sex couples in May 2008. He voted no on re-authorizing the Violence Against Women Act in February 2013, which protects lesbians. He voted in June 2008 to amend the Constitution to define traditional marriage after the Prop 8 vote. He put forward a bill in September 2013 to protect anti-same-sex marriage opinions as free speech. In February 2014 he put forward another bill to assert that state definitions of marriage supersede federal same-sex marriage.
Scalise even voted against such legislation as the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, also known as the Matthew Shepard Act, is an American Act of Congress, passed on October 22, 2009, and signed into law by President Barack Obama on October 28, 2009.
GRINER PHOTOGRAPHED THROWING FIRST PITCH AFTER BEING RELEASE FROM HOSPITAL
Scalise also has a long history of having to walk back his support for white nationalist groups and the support of–and for–KKK leader David Duke, who is also a native of Louisiana. Scalise’s history of attacks on the rights of black Americans is almost as shameful as his attacks on LGBT and women.
Hodgkinson’s act of terrorism is a horrific one. No one on that field deserved to be shot or in fear for their lives.
No one rational wishes physical harm against even the most ideologically vile people–and Scalise, sadly, falls into that category. But the special irony that a black lesbian saved his life and those of his compatriots should be rocking the world of those in the Republican Party. Ryan said on June 14 that "an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us." He apparently only meant GOP members of Congress, however, because he has not changed his own mind on these issues of same-sex marriage and discriminatory laws against LGBT Americans.
For her part, Griner has been the epitome of bravery. She will need further surgery as well as extensive rehabilitation for her shattered leg. Her wife has set up a GoFundMe page for contributions. I searched and found that no members of Congress have contributed thus far. So while women like Crystal Griner risk their lives to protect and serve, it remains unclear whether there is reciprocity from those who owe their safety to women like her.
Help support her recovery by donating to the GoFundMe campaign here.