This week has seen a flurry of renewed calls for gun control after the Orlando nightclub tragedy. Mass shootings are an epidemic in America, and it took the worst such incident in modern U.S. history to spur congressional action. President Obama’s been calling for a solution for years, and he finally gave up on bipartisan action and pushed an executive order though, but he hasn’t received much help in the Senate. Finally, U.S. lawmakers put on a protracted filibuster, which Senator Chris Murphy tied up with heart-wrenching detail. Meanwhile, trouble was brewing across the pond.
Jo Cox, a British Member of Parliament, was stabbed and shot to death outside a library in the town of Birstall (in West Yorkshire). The 41-year-old married mother of two was often referred to as a rising star after entering British Parliament as a Labour Party member. All of that ended after an assailant left her in critical condition. The man reportedly dragged her by the hair in between shots before kicking her and casually walking away. He was swiftly apprehended by police and taken into custody.
Cox later died at a nearby hospital from the three gunshot wounds she sustained. A BBC News video reveals how she struggled with her attacker, who may have specifically targeted her outside the library where she often conducted town hall meetings.
Sky News further reports that the attack may not have been random, for the man appeared to know exactly who Cox was. He reportedly shouted “Britain first!” This fact is currently in dispute, but if true, this could have been a reference to the upcoming “Brexit vote” — where Brits will consider whether the country should leave the European Union. A witness relayed how the man’s weapon resembled a “First World War or a makeshift, handmade gun.” At this time, police believe the attacker (identified as Thomas Mair) was a lone wolf who acted on his own.
British Prime Minister David Cameron expressed his sorrow for Cox’s family and also lamented, “We lost a great star.”
Fellow Member of Parliament Jeremy Corbyn tweeted a statement in tribute to his fellow Labor Party member.
Many politicians expressed their condolences as well. Arizona’s Gabby Giffords survived a similar attack, and her tweet is particularly poignant.