Going forward, it should be standard operating procedure for Members of Congress and their staffs to consider security precautions for every public event they hold in their districts. Security should become a mandatory line item in the planning stage, just like the speaking program and earned media. Members of Congress should invite local police to attend their public events, which will not only make them feel more secure, but will make those attending feel better also.
The tragedy in Tucson should not and cannot make it more difficult for our elected officials to be accessible to their constituents. Our system of representation requires constant feedback from the public for our Representatives to do their jobs.
But we should first acknowledge that the Capitol is secure. Second, we should all be more vigilant and take potential threats seriously by reporting them immediately. Third, Members of Congress and their staffs should pursue reasonable security procedures in their districts in the near term.
Rather than overreact, we can take reasonable measures in response to the tragic events in Tucson.
Matt Mackowiak, president of Potomac Strategy Group, is a former Capitol Hill aide who recently managed the campaign of Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas).
James Jones, communications director for DC Vote, tapes a "DC Constituents Service Day" sign on the wall as he stands with other DC residents outside of Rep. Andy Harris's office on Capitol Hill to protest Harris' actions against D.C.'s marijuana laws on Thursday, July 24, 2014. DC Vote encouraged DC residents to bring their complaints about city services to the Maryland congressman.