Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has a message for members of Congress who are citing the possibility of protests as a reason not to hold town meetings: “Have some courage.”
Giffords, wounded in a 2011 shooting outside a Tucson supermarket where she was meeting with constituents, was responding to a statement by Republican Congressman Louis Gohmert of Texas. Asked why he wasn’t holding public meetings, Gohmert said:
“Unfortunately, at this time there are groups from the more violent strains of the leftist ideology, some even being paid, who are preying on public town halls to wreak havoc and threaten public safety. Threats are nothing new to me and I have gotten my share as a felony judge. However, the House Sergeant at Arms advised us after former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot at a public appearance, that civilian attendees at Congressional public events stand the most chance of being harmed or killed—just as happened there.”
Giffords’ response was posted on the website of the gun violence prevention group she co-founded, Americans For Responsible Solutions:
“To the politicians who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this: Have some courage. Face your constituents. Hold town halls.”
Giffords noted that she was shot on a Saturday morning, and that by Monday her offices were open to the public.
There have been protests and tough, sometimes angry questions directed at several lawmakers who have held town hall-type meetings during the current congressional recess, as NPR’s Jessica Taylor has reported. But no violence has been reported at any of the sessions.