Jim Saxon Scared of Tools

Shinola Shoe Polish Can Photo By now you’ve probably heard that the day-long scare over “gunfire” on Capitol Hill was really just Rep. Jim Saxon’s inability to differentiate the sound of construction machinery from gunfire. No word yet on whether he can differentiate excrement from a defunct brand of shoe polish.

As I note in my last update to the original post, “Saxon is going to go down in the Annuals of Congressional Courage along with Senator Mark Dayton, who closed his office the month before the 2004 elections based on a non-existent terrorism scare.”

Rep. Jim Saxon Photo No, Saxon never served in the military. Why do you ask?

He’s also apparently never seen “Heartbreak Ridge,” wherein Gunny Highway teaches his men, “This is the AK-47 assault rifle, the preferred weapon of your enemy; and it makes a distinctive sound when fired at you, so remember it.”

FILED UNDER: Congress, Terrorism, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Ugh says:

    Stupid Democrats, not knowing what a gun sounds li- oh wait.

  2. Jon Henke says:

    Oh, come on, give the guy a break. Some construction equipment could sound reasonably like a weapon, especially in the reverberating confines of a parking garage. It’s not that unreasonable a call.

  3. John Burgess says:

    On hearing an unknown sound, one might attempt to ascertain what that sound was. To assume it was a gunshot will necessarily bring about certain responses from security and law enforcement personnel.

    Had he heard a suspicious sound, he could have asked the Capitol Police to investigate a “strange sound coming from the parking garage.” Capitol Police might have asked, “what sort of sound.” He might have replied, “Loud bangs”.

    Talking with the Capitol Police and saying “gunshot” is equivalent to talking to TSA and saying “bomb”. Considered reaction is pushed aside by a need to take immediate action.

    BTW, there’s a very funny riff on the “shit and shinola” quandry in Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow.

  4. Guy says:

    In fact, some construction equipment IS a gun. When affixing pins to concrete to hold down walls, the tool uses a .22 caliber blank to fire the pin. Until we know exactly what the equipment was that he heard, we really can’t make fun.

  5. Alan Kellogg says:

    He did go off half-cocked on the other hand.

  6. McGehee says:

    When affixing pins to concrete to hold down walls, the tool uses a .22 caliber blank to fire the pin.

    Which would also produce the smell of cordite. Which was also being reported, at least initially.

  7. I hold no brief for Saxon, but some equipment can certainly sound like a gun shot. If he called capital police and reported hearing something that sounded like a gunshot, the fact that he was mistaken doesn’t make him a fool or a liar.

    The idea that he should have investigated is a personal call. If you are unarmed, going to find someone who you think has a gun and has fired it in a place that normally you wouldn’t expect gunfire can be called brave or fool hearty.