From all the descriptions I've read online, this looks like Canada Thistle, with the exception of the hairy stems. I live in Maryland just outside DC. My foundation beds are full of these.
Doesn't matter which type they are, if you didn't see them last year, now's the time to deal with them, or even if you did see them last year, in fact. Whether they're annual, biennial or perennial is irrelevant because you shouldn't ignore them; annual and biennial ones will set copious seed and pop up everywhere next year and there'll be even more of them. And absolutely not a reason to shoot yourself - maybe a reason to groan a lot, and yes, it's tiresome, but they're just plants you don't want, not a nuclear event! The way to tell which they are is to wait till the flowers arrive, but that's absolutely not a good idea. Just get them out, now, wearing thick gloves, using a garden fork, and get out as much root as you can. If they keep coming back, you may need to resort to a herbicide, but only as a last resort. Info here on how to deal with thistles (especially the Canadian type) http://homeguides.sfgate.com/way-rid-thistles-garden-100512.html