Hundreds of House staffers and a sprinkling of congressmen gathered Monday morning outside the Capitol for a moment of silence for the victims of the Arizona shooting on Saturday.
The gathering initially was intended for Hill staff members, though several House members joined the event, which took place shortly before 11 a.m. on the east steps on the House side of the building in windy, cold conditions. The event came at virtually the same time President Obama was conducting a similar memorial at the White House.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, Missouri Democrat and an ordained United Methodist minister, gave an impromptu blessing for the 20 people shot in the Saturday attack in Tucson. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Arizona Democrat, was shot in the head and remains in critical condition, while six others died, including Gifford staffer Gabriel Zimmerman.
“Help us move from this dark place to a place of sunshine,” Mr. Cleaver said.
Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan Republican, who attended the ceremony, cautioned against overreaching security measures in reaction to the event, including the proposal that U.S. marshals be used to protect members of Congress.
“I don’t think that’s necessary at this point, I really don’t,” said Mr. Upton, who last week became chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “We are who we are,” he said, adding that many members already have have received threats but that there are already resources provided both on Capitol and in their home districts.
Mr. Upton said he supports the Second Amendment right to own firearms and doesn’t believe Congress should consider more restrictive gun laws.