By Congressman Bob Goodlatte
Republican - VA 6th Congressional District
On a recent Saturday morning the constituents of the 8th Congressional District of Arizona were gathering outside the local grocery store in order to speak to their Member of Congress, Gabrielle Giffords. By all accounts it started off as any typical weekend might. However, as we all know that changed in an instant and it had a tragic ending. Only minutes into Congresswoman Giffords’ first ‘Congress on Your Corner’ event of the year, a crazed gunman opened fire, killing six and wounding 14 including Congresswoman Giffords, who was shot in the head at point blank range.
Over the last few days we have learned more about the lives that were tragically lost that day. Among them was nine year old Christina Green, who had recently been elected to the student council at her elementary school. She headed to the grocery store that morning with a neighbor to meet her local Congresswoman whom she admired; Federal Judge John Roll, who was a distinguished member of the legal community for over 40 years; Dorothy Morris, who had been married to her high-school sweetheart for 55 years; Phyllis Schneck, a beloved grandmother who simply wanted to shake her Congresswoman’s hand; Dorwan Stoddard, who was killed while shielding his wife from the gunfire; Gabe Zimmerman, a devoted public servant who was only months away from his wedding. As Director for Community Outreach for Congresswoman Giffords, Gabe had planned Saturday morning’s meet and greet for the constituents of Arizona’s 8th District.
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords continues to fight for her life in a Tucson hospital but seems to be making positive progress. Just two days before this horrific act, Gabby joined me and other Members of Congress in reading aloud the U.S. Constitution on the House Floor. It was my privilege to yield to Gabby to read the 1st Amendment and she and those participating in her ‘Congress on Your Corner’ event were exercising their 1st Amendment freedoms of speech and peaceable assembly.
She was talking to her constituents about her work on their behalf in Washington and listening to their opinions and concerns. It is unconscionable that anyone would take violent action to deprive someone of their life or liberty.
While Saturday’s tragedy serves as an unfortunate reminder that evil does exist in this world, it must also remind us of the good in people as we hear the stories of the heroes of that day. Members of Congress cannot allow this senseless act of violence that occurred against Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords to deter us from our jobs. Nothing is more important to me than the safety of my staff and my constituents and so I will continue to take any necessary precautions to provide for everyone’s safety.
I ask my constituents from all across the 6th Congressional District to join me in praying for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, her staff, and all the others whose lives were forever changed by the heinous act of violence that occurred in Tucson.
To contact me about this or any other matter, please visit my website at www.goodlatte.house.gov.