H.Res. 32 - Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives with respect to the tragic shooting in Tucson, Arizona, on January 8, 2011

January 14, 2011

Madame Speaker, I rise to support H.Res. 32.

I am deeply shocked and saddened by this horrific tragedy.

As a fellow Member of the class of 2006, I have gotten to know Congresswoman Giffords well and have developed enormous respect for her intellect and her love of this country.  She and I have served together on the House Armed Services Committee and she was even gracious enough to share her blanket with me as we braved the cold during the Inauguration of President Obama.

I am praying for Gabby, her family, staff and the other victims of this senseless act of violence.

As the former Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy, I would also like to say a few words about Federal Judge, John Roll, who lost his life on Saturday. 
Judge Roll was known as even-handed jurist who was with Congresswoman Giffords the day of the shootings to press for funding to relieve overcrowding in his district.

Judge Roll was appointed to the federal bench by President George H.W. Bush in 1991, and had served as chief judge of the District of Arizona since 2006.  Judge Roll had been a life time servant of his community and his State.  He was 63 years old.  As Chief Justice John Roberts said, “Judge Roll’s death is a somber reminder of the importance of the rule of law and the sacrifices of those who work to secure it.”

While we grieve, we must also recognize that violence has no place in our public life.  We must stand up against creeping violence and aggression in our political discourse.

As those feelings are expressed during debate and campaigns, we must act constructively to rebuild our economy together and avoid heated rhetoric that tears us apart and can push already disturbed individuals over a dangerous edge.

On Saturday, our nation saw the type of political violence most Americans ascribe to a war zone or a failed state.

Let me reiterate that the only way out of a political discussion is through open debate or the ballot box.

As this Congress looks to the political disagreements in the road ahead, I must ask my colleagues and all Americans to understand and consider the consequences of heated rhetoric and to make sure we discuss issues in a peaceful and constructive manner.

I encourage my colleagues to take appropriate caution, but to hold constituent meetings and do the job we were elected to do without fear.

To do otherwise would allow the gunman a small taste of victory and would diminish our democracy.

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