Ariz. shootings hit close to home for Rep. Speier

January 8, 2011 5:52:06 PM PST
Saturday's shootings in Tucson, Arizona hit close to home for Bay Area House member Jackie Speier.

In November 1978, then a legal aide, Jackie Speier was shot multiple times while trying to escape the Jonestown massacre in Guyana. San Mateo County Congressman Leo Ryan was killed.

Speier was out of town Saturday and spoke with ABC7's Amy Hollyfield on the phone. She said she was definitely having flashbacks to the assassination of Congressman Leo Ryan.

"I've just been sick to my stomach, in total disbelief," she told ABC7. "The more we heard, the more anxious I became because I fear for what's happening in our country. We all have to pause now and just lower the rhetoric."

Speier thinks there is too much hate being spewed out on the airwaves and she thinks the country needs more civility. She called Saturday's shooting "an assault on the democracy we hold so dear."

"I think we're all reeling in disbelief and astonishment at such a despicable act being placed on someone who we know and love, and who was doing her job," she said.

Speier called Representative Giffords an extraordinary member of Congress, one of the bright young stars who is very committed to her constituency. Speier said she too had a similar "Congress On Your Corner" event in San Bruno just a few weeks ago and she will continue to do them.

She thinks the country will have to pause and think about what this means when it comes to security, but says she will continue to be accessible to the public.