Senate leaders, who normally use floor speeches to spar over upcoming legislation, on Monday instead offered short reflections on last week's mass murder in Aurora, Colo.
"Today we pause to mourn the dead, but also to honor how they lived," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid noted the12 people killed included a former Nevada native, Jonathan Blunk, a Navy veteran and a father of two.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell read the names of the dead in subsequent floor speech.
"I think it's entirely appropriate for the Senate to take a moment today to acknowledge, as we just did, the victims of this nightmarish rampage, their families, and the wider community of Aurora," McConnell said. "In the life of a nation, some events are just so terrible that they compel all of us to set aside our normal routines and preoccupations, step back, reflect on our own motivations and priorities, and think about the kind of lives we all aspire to live."
McConnell commended President Obama, along with Colorado's Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and religious leaders "for the time and effort they've put into consoling the families of the victims and the broader community."
"We accept that some things we just can't explain. Evil is one of them," McConnell said. "And we take comfort in the fact that while tragedy and loss persist, so does the goodness and generosity of so many."