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As public anger over hot-button issues like health care reaches a boiling point, threats against lawmakers continue to rise, prompting some to cancel public appearances and others to take extra measures for security.
Threats increased nearly 300 percent over the first three months of 2010 when compared to 2009 and most come from those opposed to the health care bill that pass Congress last month.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi receives the most threats but both Democrats and Republicans have been targeted by those who issue obscenity-laced threats that range from violent retaliation to death.
“The incidents range from very vulgar to serious threats, including death threats,” says Tarrance W. Gainer, Sergeant at Arms of the Senate. Gainer, quoted by The Washington Post, is a former chief of the Capitol Police and said all threats are taken seriously and investigated.
“The ability to carry them out is another question and part of an investigation to determine what, if any, appropriate steps to take,” Gainer said.
In San Francisco, federal agents arrested a man for making threatening phone calls to Pelosi’s home. Another man in Yakima, Washington, faces charges for leaving threatening voice mails at the office of Sen. Patty Murray.
A Philadelphia man is under arrest issuing a threat against Virginia Republican Congressman Eric Cantor and his family in a YouTube video.
Some of the threats have been traced back to Tea Party activists.