Indiana Senate reacts to Arizona shootings 

By Zach Osowski

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The bullets that put Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Az., in the hospital Saturday and killed six others also affected legislators in Indiana.

Sen. Vi Simpson, D- Ellettsville, stood before her fellow members of the Indiana Senate Monday and asked them to remember what went on in Tucson. She also asked them to do their best to not allow another tragedy like it in Indiana.

"We don't know why that young man did what he did. We don't know if political rhetoric had anything to do with it," Simpson said.

But Simpson reminded senators that the current political atmosphere is one of anger. She said that this past election year one columnist wrote that "to win, candidates had to tap into the anger of their constituents."

Simpson said this worried her because "there are going to be contentious issues [this session] that will be argued passionately. But we must be leaders in civil discourse."

Simpson urged her fellow elected officials to be passionate about issues but to also be "tolerant and respectful of other ideas. It is not through anger that we find solutions."

In this heated political atmosphere, Simpson reminded everyone to keep a cool head despite how one might feel about an issue.

Sen. Tom Wyss, R- Fort Wayne, agreed, saying that senators needed to be careful in order to prevent something like what happened in Tucson from happening again.

"A 9-year-old girl lost her life in the shootings this past Saturday," Wyss said, referring to one of the victims, Christina Taylor Green, who was born on Sept. 11, 2001. She was an elected member of the Mesa Verde Elementary School student council. She also was one of the children featured in a book entitled "Faces of Hope, Babies Born on 9/11", written by Christine Pisera Naman.

Gesturing to the young pages filling the room he urged the senators to not let anything like that happen in Indiana.

Sen. Allen Paul, R-Richmond, disagreed with Weiss. Paul said legislators should not "make life miserable for people who are trying to get in the Statehouse."

"As a former infantryman from Vietnam, I can tell that if a person is ready to die, there is nothing that can stop them. You can have 15 machines at the door and it won't make a difference," Paul said.

The above is one of an ongoing series of daily reports from the Indiana Statehouse by students at the Franklin College Pulliam School of Journalism.


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