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Rep. Capuano: Security Would Impede Constituent Services02:41
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Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was shot at a public event Saturday and remains in critical condition. Six people were killed in the shootings, several others were injured.

In the wake of the incident, House Speaker John Boehner asked the Sargent at Arms, Capitol Police and the FBI to conduct in-depth security overviews for all member of Congress.

Speaking with Morning Edition's Bob Oakes on Monday, Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) said that despite calls for increased security for lawmakers, he would not want a security detail.

"I've been doing this a long time — I've never had security, from the time I was an alderman, to a mayor, and now in Congress — I think it gets between me and the people that I want to talk to," Capuano said. "I don't think it's going to save anybody, stop anybody from hurting me, if that's what they're really intent on doing, and I think it provides a buffer between us."

"I don't mind heated rhetoric, what I mind is violent rhetoric. There is a line and the line is pretty simple — it's one thing to say you're wrong, it's another thing to say you should die."

Rep. Michael Capuano

Capuano said he had been threatened in the past, but most incidents were not serious.

"I've had people tell me that harm should come to me, both to my face, in the mail and on voice messages." Capuano said. "But generally, that's just someone blowing off steam."

Despite the incident with Giffords, Capuano said that he would not be more nervous about participating in public meetings.

The shooting has sparked a national debate on toning down the vitriol in public discourse. When asked if this incident would help tamp down this type of rhetoric, Capuano said he was doubtful.

"I don't know if its possible," Capuano said. "I don't mind heated rhetoric, what I mind is violent rhetoric. There is a line and the line is pretty simple — it's one thing to say you're wrong, it's another thing to say you should die."

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This program aired on January 10, 2011.

Bob Oakes Twitter Host, Morning Edition
Bob Oakes has been WBUR's Morning Edition anchor since 1992.

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