Serious Threats Made Against U.S. Lawmakers Triple After Healthcare Bill
April 9, 2010
(ChattahBox)—- In the toxic political climate leading up to the passage of historic healthcare reform legislation, law enforcement officials say the number of threats made against Congressional lawmakers have tripled compared to this time last year. A deep recession and joblessness have created an angry electorate susceptible to the overheated apocalyptic rhetoric of tea party members and Fox News. And combined with many Republican lawmakers adopting the vitriolic rhetoric of the far right, the result is an alarming rise in targeted threats against members of Congress, as well as an increase in violent militia groups.
According to the report by the Washington Post, the types of threats run the gamut from the obscene to more ominous death threats:
“The lawmakers reported 42 threats in the first three months of this year, compared with 15 in the last three months of 2009, said Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance W. Gainer, who had information about threats involving both chambers.”
“The incidents ranged from very vulgar to serious threats, including death threats,” Gainer said. “The ability to carry them out is another question and part of an investigation to determine what, if any, appropriate steps to take. Nearly all of the recent threats appear to come from opponents of the health-care overhaul, said Gainer, who also served four years as chief of the U.S. Capitol Police. And, he said, there have been “significantly more” threats against House members than against senators.”
To date, three people have been arrested by federal authorities for making criminal threats against Congressional lawmakers. Gregory L. Giusti was charged with leaving dozens of threatening phone calls to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) homes in Washington and San Francisco, as well as her husband’s business office. Giusti’s elderly mother blamed his radicalization on Fox News. Charles Alan Wilson was also arrested for leaving death threat messages filled with misogynistic slurs, expletives and numerous threats to ‘kill,” “hang,” and “assassinate” Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).
And Norman Leboon is in custody for making a YouTube death threat against Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA). Leboon, suffering from multiple personalities, also threatened a number of other lawmakers on YouTube, including President Obama.
Let’s hope this disturbing trend decreases, as more arrests are made by federal authorities.