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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. SCHIFF. Madam Speaker, last Wednesday, this Nation and the world witnessed the orderly transfer of power in this House when Nancy Pelosi passed the Speaker's gavel on to Speaker John Boehner. That simple act occurred without violence. It occurred without soldiers in the streets or a massive show of force by the police. For most Americans, indeed for most people working in this building, the day was rather ordinary.

Our lack of political violence, our tradition of resolving policy arguments in the legislature and the courtroom is one of the greatest gifts that the Founders and all of the generations that followed them have left to us. But, as we were so cruelly reminded last Saturday, our peaceful civil discourse can never be taken for granted. It is a gift that must be safeguarded.

Last Saturday, our colleague, Gabby Giffords, set up shop outside a local Safeway in Tucson to engage her constituents to perform the central role of representative democracy--listening to the people. The hatred exhibited by the would-be assassin, before and during the shooting, were an assault on that connection between those of us who have the honor to serve and those we represent.

My heart goes out to Gabby, her family and staff, and to the families and friends of Federal Judge John Roll, Congress staffer Gabe Zimmerman, Phyllis Schneck, Dorwan Stoddard, Dorothy Morris, and Christina Taylor Green, who was born on September 11, 2001, and who deserved a longer life than this.

And to Gabby and her staff here in the gallery today, there is one day that we look forward to above all others, and that is the day that Gabby walks back onto this House floor and stands before this podium and is recognized.

We know that day will come, and we pray that it comes soon.

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