At The State House, Lawmakers Reflect On Security

By Sarah Birnbaum

Jan 11, 2011

BOSTON — Flags are flying at half-staff outside the State House in observation of the attempted assassination of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords -- which killed six people and injured 14 others. Giffords remains in critical condition.

Inside the State House Monday, lawmakers joined the national moment of silence in honor of the victims. Then, as the suspected shooter Jared Lee Loughner was getting arraigned in federal court,  Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert Deleo reflected on security, adding their voices to the national conversation that has arisen over the issue

Murray said threats are a part of public life. “We all get letters, we all get emails, we all get calls sometimes from people who are having issues,” Murray said.

Speaking with reporters at the end of the day, Governor Patrick said he’s satisfied with the state's  security precautions.
"I think our security here is good.  It’s constantly being rethought and reconsidered by the state police," Patrick said. 
But Patrick said safety concerns shouldn't prevent lawmakers from meeting with constituents. "We want to strike a balance as you would in any successful democracy to have the right level of security but not wall yourself off from the public," Patrick said.

Other lawmakers, like Rep. Niki Tsongas of the state's 5th Congressional District, have raised the question of how security issues impact the safety of constituents themselves.

Before he left for the evening, the Governor extended his thoughts and prayers to the victims.  He's ordered the flags to remain lowered until sundown Friday.

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