The attack on an Arizona Congresswoman is sending shockwaves through the halls of government. It was certainly on the mind on California Congressman John Garamendi as he spent the night with voters at a fundraising event in Antioch.
”My heart goes out to those families,” Garamendi’s night was probably laid out much like Gabrielle Giffords trip earlier in the day to Tucson. Four decades ago Garamendi escaped his own brush with death. It was 1975, his first tour through congress, and tensions were high over new farm labor laws. ”About 15 feet away a farmer stood up, who I recognized, he pulled out a 45 automatic and pointed it at me and said: I’m gonna kill you! You SOB!” he says, reenacting how the farmer pointed his gun.
”Today is a very sad day for our country,” it was unclear if House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi was going to attend a scheduled event in San Francisco a few hours after the shooting. A visibly shaken Pelosi, wildly controversial herself, has also been threatened in the past, ”We stand before you with the deepest sadness for the act of violence that was committed against our colleague congresswoman Gabby Giffords.”
The shooting raises questions about the possibility of a similar attack in Washington D.C. where hundreds of lawmakers could be targets. California Republican Congressman Dan Lungren calls security “Good” around the U.S. Capitol building. But he admits, “When members go to their districts security does not follow them.”
Garamendi told FOX40’s John Lobertini, he wasn’t looking over his shoulder during the crab feed in Antioch. But he says Washington’s angry political rhetoric is feeding America’s discontent. ”The rhetoric carries the weight of hatred, anger, fear. And, we also know it carries the weight of a lead bullet,” says Garamendi, a lifelong politician and former Lt. Governor of California.