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Shootings In Arizona Show High Price Of Public Service
Monday, Jan. 10, 2011
I shuddered when I heard of the shootings in front of the Tucson, Arizona Safeway store. A congresswoman, holding a “meet and greet” with her constituents was the subject of an assassination attempt. Unthinkable.
In my role as mayor I spoke at community meetings, countless ribbon-cutting ceremonies, and even served once as a volunteer “bell ringer” for the Salvation Army red-bucket campaign. I walked precincts during my campaigns, and went door-to-door with a code enforcement officer to speak with residents in a low-income neighborhood. But the only place I felt the least bit vulnerable was at city hall, whether in my office or at a city council meeting. Somehow I thought discharging my official duties in a government building was more of a risk than assisting Girl Scouts sell cookies outside the library.
The painful truth is that we all take a risk each day: driving to work, walking to school, riding a bicycle to the park, taking the bus to buy groceries. .” Indeed, military, police, and fire professionals risk their lives every day for the public good.
In a message to alumni of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, Dean David T. Ellwood noted that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was “engaged in public service and may have been targeted for that work.”
We owe all who serve our respect and gratitude. As Dean Ellwood says, “public service is a calling… It always requires sacrifice and often requires uncommon courage. Women and men who serve the public interest, who speak with integrity and intelligence, and who work for positive change are heroes.”
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