June 11, 2009 - Issue: Vol. 155, No. 87 — Daily Edition111th Congress (2009 - 2010) - 1st Session
OFFERING CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILY AND FRIENDS OF OFFICER STEPHEN T. JOHNS; Congressional Record Vol. 155, No. 87
(Senate - June 11, 2009)
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[Pages S6570-S6571] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] OFFERING CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILY AND FRIENDS OF OFFICER STEPHEN T. JOHNS Mr. REID. I ask unanimous consent the Senate now proceed to the immediate consideration of S. Res. 184. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the resolution by title. The assistant legislative clerk read as follows: A resolution (S. Res. 184) offering deepest condolences to the family and friends of Officer Stephen T. Johns and calling on the leaders of all Nations to speak out against the manifestations of anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hatred. There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the resolution. Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, today I have submitted a resolution condemning yesterday's heinous, horrific act of violence at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. I want to offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns. Officer Johns, of Temple Hills, in Prince George's County, MD, died in the line of duty. He ably served as a guard of the museum for 6 years. He was just 39 and leaves behind a grieving family. He gave his life to save the lives of numerous others. We must perpetually honor that ultimate sacrifice. I also want to commend all the staff of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the authorities who responded to the scene for their bravery. I have visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum many times with my family and friends. It is clear that the gunman's despicable rampage was intended to frighten and intimidate all people who care about equality and liberty. I introduced this resolution to affirm my commitment to ending the bigotry and hatred that led to this heinous act. There is no place in our society for individuals who would harm or deny rights to others, especially based on religion, race, gender, or ethnic identity. It is heartening that each and every U.S. Senator has cosponsored this resolution. Let there be no mistake about it, anti-Semitism and other hate crimes remain a pressing problem in our society. Anti-Semitism spawns from centuries of hatred, persecution, and the repeated attempts to destroy the Jewish people from their early days of slavery, through the Inquisition to the Holocaust and beyond. Hate crimes send a powerful message because they affect more than the individual victims; they are meant to intimidate and instill fear in entire groups of people. They create a sense of vulnerability and insecurity in others who may share characteristics with the victims. And that is precisely the intent of those who commit these crimes. I am privileged to be chairman of the Helsinki Commission and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. In those capacities, and as a U.S. Senator generally, I am afforded numerous opportunities to speak out against the scourge of anti-Semitism, racial bigotry, and ethnic hatred worldwide. Part of the battle is to publicize the intolerance and hateful activity. As Oliver Wendell Holmes remarked, The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of an eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will contract. This resolution is meant to be such a light and I am grateful that each and [[Page S6571]] every other Senator has seen fit to cosponsor it. We truly speak as one in our anguish at the tragic event yesterday and in our determination to root out its causes so that it will not be repeated. Mr. BURRIS. Mr. President, it is with deep sadness that I rise to mark the death of security guard Stephen Tyrone Johns, whose senseless murder yesterday afternoon at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum shocked us all. My heart goes out to his family and friends on this tragic day and to his colleagues and fellow security officers who must return to a workplace that will surely never be quite the same. Even as we mourn his death, we must commend Officer Johns, his colleagues, and all emergency personnel who responded quickly to prevent additional violence and protect the safety of museum visitors. In the aftermath of this killing, how can we make sense of that which can only be described as senseless? How can we comprehend the forces that would drive a person to such hatred, to such violence? The simple truth is that most of us will never be able to fully understand this tragedy. We can only comfort one another as we struggle to confront a world in which Officer Johns has been taken from us far before his time. The same incomprehensible hatred to which the Holocaust Memorial Museum bears silent witness. We must honor the memory of Officer Johns by continuing the work he supported at the museum, preventing further violence, and standing tall in the face of intolerance. It will not be easy to move on, but we can start by asking ourselves what we can do to prevent guns from falling into the hands of killers, to stop those who would commit hate crimes before more innocent people are slain. That is what we owe the legacy of Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns. That is how we can celebrate his memory, honor his sacrifice, and pay tribute to the spirit of his work and the continuing mission of the place where he died. Mr. REID. I ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate, and any statements be printed in the Record. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The resolution (S. Res. 184) was agreed to. The preamble was agreed to. The resolution, with its preamble, reads as follows: S. Res. 184 Whereas the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum was established as a ``living memorial that stimulates leaders and citizens to confront hatred, prevent genocide, promote human dignity, and strengthen democracy''; Whereas, since the dedication of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1993, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has welcomed nearly 30,000,000 visitors, including more than 8,000,000 school children and 85 heads of state; Whereas, on June 10, 2009, in an assault at the entrance of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Officer Stephen T. Johns of Temple Hills, Maryland, was fatally wounded and died heroically in the line of duty; Whereas, in the wake of this heinous act of violence, the people of the United States should renew the commitment to end bigotry, intolerance, and hatred; and Whereas there is no place in the society of the United States for individuals who seek to harm or deny rights to others, especially based on religion, race, or ethnic identity: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate-- (1) offers deepest condolences to the family and friends of Officer Stephen T. Johns; (2) commends the staff members of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for their courage and bravery in responding to the attack on June 10, 2009; (3) condemns anti-Semitism and all forms of religious, ethnic, and racial bigotry; (4) condemns acts of physical violence against, and harassment of, people based on race, gender, ethnicity, or religious affiliation; and (5) calls on the leaders of all Nations to speak out against the manifestations of anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hatred. ____________________