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Threats continue to escalate against members of Congress

By Doug Thompson
April 9, 2010

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: Leader of the death threat sweepstakes (AP)

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.

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16 Responses to Threats continue to escalate against members of Congress

  1. bmclellan

    April 9, 2010 at 7:55 am

    The root cause of all this is the fact that the ” people ” are threatened by the politicians inaction that allows the continued Wars, the meltdown of our way of life, and the crap and hate spewed daily over the airwaves.

    I don’t condone the violence or the thought of it as the way out, but I have nary an ounce of pity for the bejeweled , bauble peddling, wannabe so called royalty that passes for statesman in D.C..

    If they want safety then it’s as easy to attain as simply following their oath of office to the letter.

    • griff

      April 9, 2010 at 3:20 pm

      Nary a nano-ounce (yeah, so I made it up).

  2. Bill Cravener

    April 9, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Strong partisan debate is one thing but the vigilante thug-like behavior cropping up over passed legislation is inexcusable and damaging to our country. The Tea Party movement is gathering increasing numbers of nutty followers who are easily pushed into the worst of behavior by the weaknesses and provocations of others. The Republican Party would do well to repudiate all these violent actions that are continuing to occur.

    • griff

      April 9, 2010 at 3:47 pm

      From a purely partisan viewpoint, you’re correct in saying the Republicans should repudiate violence and threats thereof, along with racist undertones.

      From an independent viewpoint, I see the Republican infiltration and near takeover of the tea parties as the reason for their radicalization.

      When the tea parties were but a few people picketing a Fed or IRS building no one paid them much mind, in the media or either party. As they grew, the Republicans saw a chance to co-opt the movement, particularly because the libertarian-leaning, small government stance of the tea parties bear a resemblance to classical Republican positions, as well as current Republican rhetoric.

      And we have the obvious provocateurs.

      The major problem with this is that we all know the Republicans no longer stand for these principles, and I highly doubt that they’ll be changing their tune on most issues. They’ll campaign on repeal this fall, but if given the chance, they won’t lift a finger to stop Obamacare.

      The main concern I have with this unholy alliance is the growing influence from people I call ‘national security conservatives.’ You can claim to be as conservative as you like concerning domestic and economic policy (Limbaugh, Beck, et al), but these are meaningless when we spend more than a trillion dollars per year on military aggression.

      The tea parties would do well to get back to their roots in being anti-tax, anti-Fed, and anti-war – if it’s not too late.

      Partisan politics – the ties that blind.

  3. woody188

    April 9, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    But we are told people are coming around to embrace health care insurance mandates. Doesn’t this fly in the face of those polls?

    You mean USA Today and Gallup stacked the poll to give a predetermined outcome?

    Where is the truth?

    You can’t have it both ways.

  4. b mcclellan

    April 9, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    Love is a two way street,
    but greed don’t need no stinkin roads !

  5. woody188

    April 9, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    From neithercorp.us:

    While being categorized as a homegrown terrorist may be a frightening prospect, what other people are led to believe about us is not so important. What is important is that we do not start to believe it ourselves. That we are not made to feel guilty for wanting to determine our own destinies, for wanting to keep government out of our lives and our children’s lives. We are not the instigators of this conflict, we are not the antagonists of this story. In the end, we are the deciders of this conflict. We are the authors of this story.

    • Doug Thompson

      April 10, 2010 at 7:10 am

      Woody:

      If you’re going to put a link in a comment, please do it properly. Having an entire paragraph underlined as a link is distracting to the reader and can screw up the comments that follow yours. I fixed it this time but in the future I will simply delete comments that creates problems with bank html.

      • woody188

        April 11, 2010 at 9:07 am

        Oops. sorry, I thought I closed the tag. I will do it differently in the future.

      • griff

        April 11, 2010 at 1:34 pm

        Speaking of links, I noticed the ‘target=_blank’ attribute doesn’t work on this new comment system. Any way to get that working?

  6. b mcclellan

    April 9, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    May we write a novel ?
    A true story of American home style abiding by the warm fires fueled with inarguable resolve ?

  7. b mcclellan

    April 10, 2010 at 12:40 am

    Thousands of miles away we ask our blood and life source to guard greed.
    What ?
    Walls, Tattered Halls, with agenda flying as a freedom bird, our young men and women are being used by fools that someday will try to reenact the Bible to it’s conclusion…….. ?

    Pop said , breath when yer so mad you can’t think, then we did our chores as we walked in the danger zone of the free man.

    It is not much, liberty, but “everything” in it’s pursuit !
    The one danger is, there is no danger applied to open and honest law. Here is the haunting prospect of war for profit, religion, or selfish human pride, not only innocents suffer, but , “innocence” dies again, and again etc…..

    What does an 18 yr old soldier carry on his back ?
    Me and You.

  8. Carl Nemo

    April 10, 2010 at 11:35 am

    What stuns me about these Congressional hypocrites is that they’ve been conducting themselves in seemingly a “deaf” fashion relative to the will of the American people. This is not unique to the Democrats, but Republicans too.

    Both parties have a less than 50% rating with the electorate and they seemingly conduct their business to please the interests of corporations in these times. Their actions are not subtle either, but an in our face message that we simply don’t count regardless of the issues from the ongoing engineered conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan to health care legislation.

    Now people are getting restless and angry. They’re tired of conducting business in a polite, “Roberts Rules of Order” fashion when interfacing with their elected crimpols in high places. They’re on the verge shouting get the ropes, tar, feathers and many sharp edged rails to take of seemingly necessary business.

    It’s these unresponsive, arrogant pols that have sown the wind and now must reap the mighty whirlwind for their duplicity.

    Carl Nemo **==

  9. Carl Nemo

    April 10, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    They’re on the verge shouting get the ropes, tar, feathers and many sharp edged rails to [ take of ] seemingly necessary business. …extract from post with brackets

    Amended to read: [ take care of ]

    My apologies for the error. The import of the sentence warranted correction.

    Carl Nemo **==

  10. Almandine

    April 11, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Ahhh…. the smell of fear on a Spring morn.

    • griff

      April 12, 2010 at 5:47 am

      It smells like…victory.