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For Immediate Release

Monday, January 10, 2011

AFSCME Decries Anti-government Attacks

Statement of AFSCME President Gerald W. McEntee regarding the shootings on Saturday in Tucson, Ariz.

"The senseless tragedy that occurred on Saturday in Tucson, Ariz., has shocked all Americans. We do not at this time know what motivated the gunman who, in a matter of seconds, murdered six individuals and injured 14 others. We join in extending our prayers and sympathy to the families of all the victims, including Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

"This horrendous crime has produced a national conversation about the tenor of public debate and the use of violent imagery and extremist anti-government rhetoric in political discussions. As public employees, our members know what it is like to be on the receiving end of anti-government attacks. Less than a year ago, an anti-tax extremist smashed his airplane into the IRS office building in Austin, Texas, where more than 200 federal employees worked. Only last week, two mail-bombs were sent to government offices in Maryland where AFSCME members work to provide vital services.

"We urge everyone engaged in public debate to take concrete steps to ensure that our discourse remains civil and that nothing is said or done that might precipitate another attack on our democracy and the values we all cherish."