SPRINGFIELD (CBS) — You could see it Monday in the lines outside the convention center in Springfield: People lining up in the cold, waiting to get through metal detectors manned by Illinois State Police.
There were more of them to be sure, and all of them perhaps being a bit more careful followed last weekend’s tragedy in Arizona.
“Nobody wants to have a situation like that in Arizona happen on their watch,” Brad Demuzio, head of the Illinois Secretary of State Police, told CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine. “So we tell officers … be a little more prepared, a little more diligent.”
Inside the convention center, after Gov. Pat Quinn took the oath of office, the Arizona gunman was the first thing he talked about.
“Our hearts are heavy today, and our flags are at half-mast in our state and every state in our country,” Quinn said.
Even as he spoke, uniformed officers and plain-clothed security scanned the crowds. After all, there were not just state officials present, but mayors and federal officials, who later called the Arizona attack a kind of wakeup call.
“This is a great time for us to take this moment and to not let six people die in vain and (the other victims) wither in those hospitals without saying it’s a time for us to reconsider how it is we do our business,” Chicago Congressman Luis Gutierrez said.
“It’s like fueling the flames,” U.S. Rep. Danny Davis said. “I think what it really means for all of us is that the public debate, the public rhetoric that is used, should be curtailed.”
Still, Gutierrez and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk vowed not to cut back on their public schedule. Kirk said that he’d be coordinating security more carefully with local law enforcement. He said he will also be mindful about the tone of his remarks.
Observers say the nation’s heated political rhetoric may be partly to blame for the Tuscon, Ariz. Shootings, given the accused gunman’s reported rantings about government.