Minnesotan DFLers call for civility in wake of Arizona shootings

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At the inauguration ball celebrating newly elected Gov. Mark Dayton on Saturday night, DFL members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation weighed in on the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the deaths of six people at a constituent meeting at a Tucson, Ariz., grocery store. The members sent their prayers to Giffords and the other victims of alleged shooter Jared Loughner and called for civility in political rhetoric. None blamed specific political movements or ideologies for the shooting.

During the ball, Rep. Betty McCollum stopped the ceremony to hold a moment of silence.

“By and large in our country when people have disagreements, they do it with civility and they do it with respect, and today we saw the consequences of when that doesn’t happen,” said McCollum at a press availability following the event. “With freedom of speech comes responsibility.”

She told reporters, “The incident today will not change the way we do our job. We want to serve the public.”

Rep. Keith Ellison said Americans should not be intimidated by what happened in Tucson.

“Ours is a great country. We don’t bow to intimidation, and people who want to resort to violence to make a political statement will not prevail,” he said. “We will solve and work on differences through peaceful means, the ballot box, the First Amendment. As this day is tragic, it’s also a day we can remember what brings us together which is democracy and the rule of law.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar spoke of the solidarity that female members of Congress share and noted that she would not speculate on Loughner’s motivations. She said that people angry with their elected leaders must remain civil.

“It’s something I believe we can get through, but we have to remember that when people are angry or are mad at elected officials, that there are a lot of ways to handle it besides bringing a gun to a supermarket.”

Rep. Tim Walz, who is friends with Gifford’s husband, urged Americans to remember her family. “I hope as a nation – and it appears like we are – that we focus on the great sacrifice that Gabrielle Gifford’s family has put forward to serve this nation, and I am just humbled to have served with her.”

Sen. Al Franken said that the shooting should cause people to think about how they respond to political speech.

“This is a tragic day,” he said. “We don’t know what went through this guy’s mind. I don’t know if we’ll ever know. I don’t think that’s necessarily the point. I think this event still could serve as a warning to temper down the rhetoric, talking about violence while talking about politics has no place in America.”

Here’s video of the press conference courtesy of TheUptake: