Angry Men With Guns Result In Surge In Death Threats To Lawmakers
The FBI is reporting that there has been a surge in death threats to lawmakers, based on a 2009 report provided to POLITICO.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich., pictured, center) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis., pictured, right) were threatened with assassination. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas) were threatened with bodily harm. Someone told Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) that her throat would be cut. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) was told someone would physically “f—- her up” if she held a town hall meeting in her district, according to the FBI files.
There have been many more threats, but the FBI won’t detail them, and threats are up 300% in the first few months of 2010.
Though each threat case is different, the FBI documents reveal some common characteristics. The suspects are mostly men who own guns, and several had been treated for mental illness. Most of the suspects had just undergone some kind of major life stress, such as illness or the loss of a job.
Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina (pictured, left) received a voice mail that said, “If you vote for that stimulus package, I’m gonna kill you. Simple as that.” A call to Senator Debbie Stabenow went like this:
“We’re gonna [expletive] get you,” he said in one message. “We’re gonna get you with a lot of [expletive] bolt action. Like we did RFK; like we did MLK. We know who you are. We’ll get you.”
FBI agents tracked the calls to a 54-year-old Texas man who lived alone — and who at one time had owned a 20-gun arsenal of handguns, shotguns and rifles. According to the documents, he told officers that he was “really, really drunk” when he made the calls.
The man said he was just “venting” and angry that the government would take away his favorite conservative radio shows because, he believed, they were going to enforce the Fairness Doctrine.
Law enforcement responded immediately when Ryan was threatened back home in Wisconsin. The lawmaker was out walking with his daughter when a black sport utility vehicle pulled up alongside them. “You’ve got a bull’s-eye on your head,” the driver allegedly told Ryan. “You’re gonna die, motherf—er.”
Local police records show that the driver believed Ryan had “blood on his hands” for supporting the war in Iraq. He told police that he was on disability for arthritis and that he felt “frustrated” that he could no longer support his family, the documents show.Click here for reuse options!
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