Early on Flag Day, 14 June 2017, the sound of the crack of a baseball bat was superseded in Alexandria, Virginia by the pop of bullets, as James Hodgkinson fired on a group of GOP lawmakers engaged in practice for their annual charity ball game with congressional Democrats. Four were injured, including Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA), House Majority Whip and third in the Republican hierarchy. The presence of Scalise likely saved many lives, as he was accompanied by a detail of Capitol Hill police, assigned to all leadership, who quickly returned fire.
Even so, more than fifteen minutes of pandemonium ensued before Hodgkinson was subdued and shot, later dying of his wounds. Players scrambled for what cover they could find, taking refuge in the dugout, or throwing themselves flat on the ground, as the sporadic, random shooting continued. In addition to Scalise, one congressional staffer, a lobbyist and a Capitol police officer were injured, though Scalise’s wounds were the most severe. Shot in the hip, the bullet splintered and injured several vital organs. After several surgeries, Scalise is improving, but continues in critical condition [*Note: upgraded to “serious” condition on Saturday 6/17].
The shooter was identified as James Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, who left his wife and home to move to Alexandria in March. Reportedly living out of his van and a gym bag, Hodkinson had become a familiar face in the district, known even to Alexandria’s mayor, who tried to help him find employment. On the morning of the shooting, Hodgkinson approached Representative Jeff Duncan (R-SC), who was leaving the field early, and asked if it was Republicans or Democrats who were practicing. After receiving confirmation that it was Republicans, Hodgkinson headed toward the ball field, and the shooting began a few minutes later, shortly after 7 AM.
Hodgkinson had a volatile presence online, in Facebook posts decrying Donald Trump and the GOP agenda, which he saw as favoring the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class. He was photographed in 2012 protesting outside the Belleville Post Office, and volunteered for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in 2016. Hodgkinson was armed with an M4 assault-style rifle and a 9mm handgun, both purchased legally.
The elements of the attack are rife with symbolism. The shooter was a down-on-his-luck small business owner, establishing JTH Construction in 1976 and running that business for nearly twenty years before converting it to a home inspection company. Several minor run-ins with police in domestic abuse, firearms and alcohol-related offenses establish him as typical of multiple shootings perpetrators in the US.
The site was the prosperous, almost bucolic DC suburb of Alexandria, VA, not used to gun violence, and the venue was a practice for the stereotypically All-American sport. The victims cover the spectrum of government-related employees, from a leading US Representative to a congressional staffer, a lobbyist and a member of the Capitol Police force.
A chart cast for 7:04 AM EDT, the approximate time the shooting began (the first 911 call was placed at 7:09), well reflects the surreal realities on the ground; compared with birth charts for Hodgkinson (born 12 December 1950) and Scalise (born 6 October 1965), a clear picture emerges of the intersection of fate and circumstance.
As is often the case with PNA activity, the Angles are the most telling points in the chart. The 10 Cancer Ascendant was conjoined by Mars at 6 Cancer and asteroid Apophis at 8 Cancer. Mars of course is the attack itself, as well as the guns, Hodgkinson’s anger, and violence generally. Apophis is named for the ancient Egyptian personification of true evil, and is a point noted as active when truly heinous deeds are committed. Also within orb of the Ascendant is asteroid Scalesse (for Steve Scalise) at 17 Cancer, which opposes Pluto at 18 Capricorn on the Descendant. The opposition to Mars is too wide to be active, but Pluto/Scalesse suggests a transformative moment, perhaps going so far as death, for Scalise. Just beyond Scalise is asteroid Atropos, named for the mythic Greek Fate who severs the thread of life at death, at 24 Cancer. This “close, but not exact” theme runs throughout the chart dynamics, suggesting that the cosmic tumblers had not quite fallen into place for Scalise to lose his life.
The 10 Cancer Ascendant also squares Scalise’s natal asteroid Stevin (one of several variants of “Steve”) at 10 Libra, which conjoins his 13 Libra Sun. In addition, it conjoins Hodgkinson’s natal Uranus at 8 Cancer (the shooting itself), which is itself exactly conjunct transit Apophis. The Ascendant exactly opposes his natal Mercury at 10 Capricorn, and is moving to square his natal asteroid Osiris and TNO Ixion at 16 Libra, and asteroid Alexandra at 17 Libra (all conjunct Scalise’s Sun). Osiris is named for the Egyptian god of the dead, another image of endings, while Ixion was noted as the first murderer in Greek mythology. Alexandra establishes the locale, Alexandria. This is a notable example of the intervention of fate; natally, Hodgkinson had a natural bent toward killing someone (Ixion), or dying himself (Osiris), in Alexandria (Alexandra), which was set into motion when he moved to the Washington suburb in March. Into this latent potentiality walked Steve Scalise, with his Sun primed to trigger the grouping, and became a victim of that potential.
Let’s look at the Midheaven next. At 21 Pisces, it is exactly conjunct asteroid Lachesis, the Greek Fate who determines the span of life. Also here are asteroids Alexander (another variant of “Alexandria”), and James (Hodgkinson’s first name) at 20 and 17 Pisces, as well as Neptune at 14 Pisces and asteroid America, exactly conjunct Chiron at 28 Pisces. In this case, this highlighted Hodgkinson’s (James) lifespan (Lachesis) in a highly public, visible way (MC), and again establishes the geographic location (Alexander). Neptune here portrays the fanaticism evinced by Hodgkinson, and may indicate some level of mental illness as well.
Saturn at 24 Sagittarius and Ixion at 25 Sagittarius square this grouping, and signify the attempted murder (Ixion) of a government official (Saturn). The Sun at 23 Gemini is also in square, making the story a lead in the news for the day, and these form a Grand Cross with asteroid House at 27 Virgo, within orb of the 21 Virgo IC and identifying the branch of government which was involved, in the House of Representatives.
Incredibly, Hodgkinson’s natal asteroid Karma, the results of our actions, lies at 27 Virgo, exactly conjunct House and feeding into the entire pattern. Also in the mix is Hodgkinson’s natal Sun at 19 Sagittarius, asteroid Anubis at 16 Pisces, asteroid Phaeton at 21 Pisces, exact on the MC and Lachesis, and TNO Chaos at 26 Pisces. The Sun personalizes this moment to Hodgkinson, while Anubis, named for an Egyptian deity governing funerary rites, is another indicator of imminent death. Chaos is the pandemonium that ensued during the attack, and Phaeton represents a sudden explosive destruction. Hodgkinson’s Chaos exactly conjoins Scalise’s natal asteroid Stevens (another “Steve” variant), while Scalise’s natal asteroid Hodgkins at 22 Sagittarius is bound up with transit Saturn/Ixion, that murder of a government official.
Also of note, the Moon at 17 Aquarius has just opposed transit Alexander at 16 Leo, highlighting Alexandria and Hodgkinson’s natal Pluto at 19 Leo, as well as squaring his natal asteroid James at 13 Scorpio. This point exactly squares Scalise’s natal asteroid Scalesse, also activated by the Moon that day. Scalise’s natal Karma at 18 Aquarius was the Moon’s next stop, while his natal Damocles at 13 Aquarius was activated earlier, and forms a perfect T-Square with natal Scalise and Hodgkinson’s James, establishing him as a personal unseen doom for the Louisiana congressman. Hodgkinson’s natal Scalesse at 19 Capricorn was conjunct transit Pluto, and had received its most recent retrograde station two months prior, in exact conjunction.
Perhaps of most note is the placement and interaction of asteroid Nemesis, a point named for the Greek goddess of divine retribution and vengeance. Natally, Hodgkinson sported an exact opposition between asteroid Hodgkin at 4 Aquarius and Nemesis at 4 Leo, potentially identifying him as an agent of retribution. This forms a T-Square with natal Alexander at 6 Taurus, establishing Alexandria as a potent geographic locale for the enactment of the natal Hodgkin/Nemesis opposition. Incredibly, transit Nemesis had come to station at 4 Aquarius, exactly atop Hodgkin, just ten days earlier, and was still at that degree, activating this potential for Hodgkinson, who carried a list of Republican congressmen he had targeted for payback, including Scalise. Asteroid James in Scalise’s natal chart falls at 6 Leo, interacting directly with Hodgkinson’s natal Nemesis and Alexander; Scalise’s natal Nemesis at 9 Libra was closely squared by the 10 Cancer Ascendant for the shooting.
All in all, similar mass shootings, albeit with less public notice, are an all-too-typical event in America today. Hodgkinson’s attack was the 175th such event in 2017 alone. With US legislators now in the direct line of fire, will we finally see sensible gun legislation? Don’t hold your breath…