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Public Statements

Expressing Sense of House Regarding Arizona Shooting

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SHERMAN. We come together today as a Nation to mourn those who died in Arizona and to pray for the full recovery of those still lying in hospital beds in Tucson.

GABBY GIFFORDS has captured the love and admiration of this entire country as America has come to know her through news reports, just as we have come to know her over the last 4 years as the most delightful and engaging Member of this House, and as a woman who brought intelligence and determination to the service of this country.

The last time I had a chance to spend time with GABBY was just 6 days ago. We were here on the House floor. As it happens, we sat next to each other as we waited our turn to be assigned a portion of the Constitution to be read. We had a chance to listen to each passage, to speak briefly about some of the salient provisions. And as they got down the line to where we were sitting, it became apparent that GABBY would be called upon to read the First Amendment to the Constitution, and that I would be called upon to read the considerably less august Third Amendment.

For just a selfish instant, I wondered why luck couldn't have been just a little different. If we had been sitting just one seat over, then I could have stood here and talked about freedom of religion and freedom of speech. But providence had determined otherwise, had determined that GABBY GIFFORDS should stand on this floor and have the honor of reading the First Amendment, an amendment that is best known for its earlier clauses but which ends with the words that enshrine the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The day after she read those words at this podium, she flew home to Arizona so she could stand in front of a Safeway, intending to meet people peaceably assembled, and listen to people petition for a redress of their grievances.

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Mr. SHERMAN. I was relieved yesterday when doctors said that they were confident that the assassin had not taken GABBY's life. And I am confident that that assassin did not take from our people the right to peaceably assemble and to tell their elected representatives their ideas and, yes, their grievances.

I look forward to 2 years from now and 2 years after that and 2 years after that, to sitting here on this floor with GABBY and waiting until she is called upon to read the First Amendment.

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