Monday, January 10, 2011

McConnell Discusses Arizona Shooting with Students

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell met with students at the new Collins High School in Shelbyville today to discuss the Arizona shooting. He emphasizes two points that have been lost in all the attempts to blame the Tea Party for the shooting. First, any attack on a public official who is exchanging ideas with her constituents is an attack on democracy itself. Second, this was the action of one deranged man.

Here are his prepared remarks:

“We are all still shaken by the shooting that took place in Tucson on Saturday, and we are thinking especially today about the six people whose lives were taken so senselessly. So I would again like to extend my heartfelt sympathy to all the families of those who died.

“Congresswoman Giffords is in critical condition but doctors are optimistic. Many others are out of critical condition and are recovering. I hope everyone will join me in praying for their recovery.

“At 11:00 today, we’ll all join the President and our fellow Americans across the country in a moment of silence. This is a devastating personal tragedy for those who were directly involved, but it is also a national tragedy.

“When an elected representative is gunned down in the very act of exchanging ideas with his or her constituents, Democracy itself is attacked. And all Americans are united in condemning this unspeakable act of violence.

“Even as we mourn for the dead and injured, we are inspired by the many acts of service we saw in the moments after the shooting.

“From those who spotted and tackled the gunman, to the first-responders who arrived at the scene so quickly, to the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff who have worked so hard to treat the injured and to prevent further loss of life. It’s one of the great truths about America that in terrible moments like this, generous men and women never fail to emerge and inspire.

“The Speaker of the House has directed that the flags at the Capitol be flown at half staff. And the President ordered flags at half staff at federal buildings and military installations around the world. The legislative calendar will also be revised, ensuring that our response to this attack is thoughtful and deliberate. As part of that, we will of course, thoroughly review the safety precautions that members of Congress take and consider what, if anything, needs to change.

“I’ve spoken with the Capitol Police and the Director of the FBI. I appreciate all they are doing in this effort.

“We don’t have all the facts yet, but we do know this: violence has no place in the Democratic process, and this heinous crime will not deter any of us from carrying out our duties. A strong democracy depends on a free and robust exchange of ideas. The actions of one deranged man this past weekend will not hinder that.”

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