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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

Remarks During House Resolution Debate on Arizona Shootings

January 12, 2011
Floor Statement

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) placed the following statement into the Congressional Record today, as the House debated a resolution "expressing the sense of the House of Representatives with respect to the tragic shooting in Tucson, Arizona, on January 8, 2011," which claimed the lives of 6 people and injured 14 more, including her colleague, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ):

"The shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and the killing and wounding of members of her staff and community attending her "Congress on your Corner" event, was a national tragedy.

It is most appropriate that we speak out to share our sadness, sorrow and grief as well as our hopes for healing and recovery.

I am encouraged that Gabby continues to defy the odds and is showing signs of progress.  She is truly a survivor, with a strong will to live.   I know that she faces a long and difficult path to recover from her injuries, and I hope that our support – together with the prayers and well wishes offered by the people of Arizona and indeed all of America – will help her and her family now and in the weeks and months ahead.

Even as she copes with her own severe injuries, I am sure that Gabby is thinking of all the others who were killed and injured during the attack on her.  Gabe Zimmerman, her director of community outreach, was killed. Two more members of her Congressional staff, Ron Barber and Pam Simon, were injured in the shooting.  Congressional staff members help us, to help our constituents, but they often are not recognized or appreciated.  Let us all remember that our staffers – and government workers generally – are committed to public service.  They work hard, make many sacrifices, and they provide valuable, essential service.

We are thinking also of residents of the Tucson community who attended this event to meet and speak with their elected representative, never sensing that they would be in harm's way.

Christina Taylor Green, Dorothy Morris, John Roll, Phyllis Schneck, and Dorwan Stoddard were all killed in this senseless, brutal attack.

I join my colleagues in expressing condolences to their families, friends and loved ones.

In a matter of seconds, the gunman recklessly and viciously sprayed bullets in all directions.  In addition to killing six people and wounding Congresswoman Giffords, he injured thirteen other people.  We pray for their full and speedy recovery.

In a democracy, it is not only common but moreover essential that citizens and their representatives freely communicate and exchange ideas, even opposing opinions. Unfortunately, violent events like the shooting in Tucson have a chilling effect on our ability to engage in our civic duties without fear. We must not give in to fear.  At the same time, we absolutely must all do whatever is necessary to restore safety and security. We must rededicate ourselves to ending violence and promoting peace, and we must take necessary, commonsense steps to reduce the potential for killings like this."