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Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act--Motion to Proceed

Location: Washington, DC




Ms. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, when people ask me what is the best thing about Alaska, I can talk about the mountains, I can talk about the trees, I can talk about our great salmon. They are all very wonderful, very special. But the very best thing about Alaska is its people. The spirit of voluntarism and civic engagement is what makes Alaska one of the best places in the Nation to live and to raise families.

Alaskans not only invest their time and energy in their own children, they also invest it in the development of their neighbors' children. This spirit of giving manifests itself in the thousands of hours that adult volunteers contribute to youth activities, such as Scouting.

Scouting enriches the lives of young people in many parts of my State because adult volunteers give generously of their time to work with our young people. My two boys have proudly participated in Scouting in the Mat-Su Western District as members of Troop 176 in Anchorage. I am very proud of the opportunities they have through Boy Scouts.

Now, as we know, last evening there were four adult volunteers who were associated with the Western Alaskan Council of the Boy Scouts of America who lost their lives at the Boy Scout Jamboree which is taking place at Fort A.P. Hill near Fredricksburg, VA. Accounts in the newspapers this morning back home in Anchorage were riveting, tragic, and I think they hit all of us in a place in our heart we are always going to remember.

Mr. President, the four gentlemen who were killed last evening were:

Ron Bitzer of Anchorage. Ron and his wife Karen had just recently made the decision to move out of State. They were selling their home, and they were going to be moving out of State.

Michael LaCroix, who I had the privilege of working with on the Boys & Girls Club board. Mike was a small businessman and owned a very successful business in Anchorage. He was with his son here in the jamboree.

Michael Shibe of Anchorage was also here with two of his sons, twin boys.

The fourth individual was Scott Powell. Scott moved from Alaska, as I understand, just last year. He had served for more than 20 years as the program director of Camp Gorsuch, which is the Boy Scout camp in Alaska.

In my office today, we were talking about Scott Powell and the recognition that just about every Boy Scout in Alaska and the moms and dads who go either to help out at the camp or go there for the end-of-camp ceremonies knew, recognized, and loved Scott Powell. He touched the lives of countless Alaskan youth.

All of these gentlemen are going to be terribly, terribly missed.

Another Alaskan volunteer, Larry Call, of Anchorage, was injured in the incident. We understand he is hospitalized. Of course, we are praying for his speedy recovery.

I do not intend to dwell this afternoon on the tragic details of what has happened. The fact is, these men are heroes and should not be remembered for the way they lost their lives but for how they lived their lives. This is a phrase that was coined by Vivian Eney, the widow of a U.S. Capitol Police officer, who lost her husband in a sudden and unexpected training accident.

The four Scout leaders who we pause to think about today will be remembered for the way they lived their lives. They will be remembered as heroes for the service they gave to the young people of Alaska.

At this time, Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate observe a moment of silence so we may reflect upon the events that occurred last evening and so we may also express our love and our support for the Scouts and their family members.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

(Moment of silence.)

Ms. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, my message to the families of these five outstanding leaders and to all of the Boy Scouts in Alaska and around the world is simple: Please know that the Senate and, indeed, the Nation grieves with you on this very difficult day.

I thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.

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