Extra security for Yarmuth after Giffords shooting

By Elizabeth Donatelli - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Two weeks after U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was shot at a meet your congresswoman event, there was a noticeable increase of security around one Kentucky lawmaker during a public event.

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY 3rd) was a guest speaker Jan. 24 at a University of Louisville public forum about public discourse. During the event, a lot of the questions and topics centered around what happened in Tucson.

Visible at the forum were a security detail of five University police officers and three with Louisville Metro officers. Yarmuth said it's more for the public's safety than his own.

"I don't think it's necessarily something where I feel safer, but I do feel better for the people who come out to talk with me and to be with me," said Yarmuth.

According to Trey Pollard, a spokesperson for Yarmuth's office, the increased security for the event was done jointly by ULPD and Metro Police. Pollard said Congressman Yarmuth nor his office asked for additional security.

At the forum, Yarmuth shared the stage with Secretary of State Trey Grayson, talked about the power of words.

"The media play an enormous role in what has happened to our discourse," said Yarmuth.

Yarmuth, who founded the weekly paper "LEO," said the quick pace of TV can fuel harsh political rhetoric.

"It's not very healthy for coming to grips with the serious problems that you have when you can't discuss them," said Yarmuth.

Grayson spoke about the shootings and his friend "Gabby" Giffords with whom he was in contact right before she was shot.

"I got this great e-mail back from her," said Grayson. "She and Mark wanted to come up to Boston and work with me in my new job, and she mentioned wanting to pursue this conversation we're going to have today about civility and political discourse."

Grayson most recently lost the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in a heated primary to now Sen. Rand Paul.

"I've said things that I wish I hadn't said at time I should haven't have said it," said Grayson.

In the aftermath of the shootings, there's a concerted effort to tone down the polarizing and unproductive language. Moderator Mark Hebert asked Yarmuth how long will it last and is it just a show.

"If history is any guide, it will last about a month," said Yarmuth.

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