Arizona Republican: 'Bullets of fanatics' will not deter lawmakers from duties

Rep. Jeff Flake on Saturday stressed that last weekend’s shooting, which left fellow Arizona lawmaker Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) fighting for her life, would not deter lawmakers from talking and listening to the concerns of their constituents.

Giffords was hosting a small event for voters in front of a grocery store in her district city of Tuscon when a gunman opened fire on the crowd, killing 6 people including one of her staffers, a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl, and wounding 13 others.

ADVERTISEMENT
“It’s part of what distinguished us from the tyrannies of old and it continues to separate us from the despotisms of today,” said Flake in the weekly Republican address, referring to constituent events like the “Congress On Your Corner” one that Giffords was holding.

“The people are sovereign. The freedom and wisdom of the people determine our future, not the whims of dictators and certainly not the bullets of fanatics,” he said.

“And so it is our duty to uphold our oath, to listen and to represent. We will not let this inhumane act cow us into doing otherwise.”

Flake traveled almost immediately to the hospital where his Democratic colleague was being treated when he heard the news of her shooting, he said in floor remarks shortly before a bipartisan resolution condemning the attack was passed unanimously this week.


“Arizona is defined not by the actions of a lone crazed gunman, but by the heroism and bravery of those who left us on Saturday, and those, like our friend and colleague Gabby Giffords, who will continue to lead us into the future,” he said.

As gunfire erupted last weekend, several people, including an intern of Giffords’, sprang to action, applying pressure to wounds and shouting directions to those who were not wounded but frozen in shock. While Giffords remains hospitalized, she is making significant progress and two of her wounded staffers, Pam Simon and Ron Barber, were released earlier this week.

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers and law enforcement officials held a series of lengthy and somber discussions about how they could better protect themselves while engaging in public events. A particular focus had been placed on offices establishing a liaison position to coordinate with local law enforcement officials before such events.