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Death Threats? I Doubt It.

Joyner at OTB: [1]

As many as ten Congressmen have allegedly [2] received death threats over their votes on health care reform.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is warning that some of his Democratic colleagues are being threatened with violence when they go back to their districts — and he wants Republicans to stand up and condemn the threats.

The Maryland Democrat said more than 10 House Democrats have reported incidents of threats or other forms of harassment about their support of the highly divisive health insurance overhaul vote. Hoyer emphasized that he didn’t have a specific number of threats and that was just an estimate. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Capitol Police and sergeant at arms briefed Democrats behind closed doors today about the incidents of violence — the most high profile of which have been toward Democratic Reps. Thomas Perriello of Virginia, Steve Driehaus of Ohio and Louise Slaughter of New York.

Hoyer hinted that Republicans should do more to condemn these threats of violence.  “I would hope that we would join together jointly and make it very clear that none of us condone this kind of activity,” Hoyer told reporters. “And when we see it, we speak out strongly in opposition to it. And I would hope that we would do that going forward.”

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the majority whip, said Democrats and Republicans should continue to speak out on these threats. “Silence gives consent,” Clyburn said.

But Minority Leader John Boehner already has condemned threats of violence — and sought to explain why people are so angry.  “I know many Americans are angry over this health care bill, and that Washington Democrats just aren’t listening,” Boehner said. “But, as I’ve said, violence and threats are unacceptable. That’s not the American way. We need to take that anger and channel it into positive change. Call your congressman, go out and register people to vote, go volunteer on a political campaign, make your voice heard — but let’s do it the right way.”

A Republican aide also pointed out that over the years Republican members of Congress received their fair share of death threats during volatile times. Newt Gingrich after the 1994 Republican revolution and the late Henry Hyde during the Clinton impeachment in 1998 both received numerous death threats. And just last month, Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) received death threats after his filibuster of unemployment benefits, according to a report in Roll Call.

There have, alas, been some real incidents and some Members are, quite reasonably, frightened [3]:

One Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Phil Hare of Illinois, said he knows several Democrats who have told their spouses to move out of the home districts while the lawmakers are in Washington.   “If this doesn’t get under control in short time, heaven forbid, someone will get hurt,” Hare said.

And House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland told reporters after a caucus meeting that members who feel in danger would “get attention from the proper authorities.”

Hare is holding eight town hall meetings in his district over the recess and requested that the Capitol Police coordinate with his local police department to provide security. His wife has pleaded with him to cancel the events.   “My wife is home alone, and I’m worried for her,” he said. “I am about to have my first grandchild. I don’t want to have to be worried.”

Incidents are sprouting up all over the country. The gas lines were cut at the house of Virginia Democratic Rep. Thomas Perriello’s brother, near Charlottesville, Va., prompting an FBI investigation.  Local police are making routine checks of the home. A tea party activist from southern Virginia posted online the address of Perriello’s brother, thinking it was the lawmaker’s.   Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio) had his address posted on the Internet, with a message from a right-wing blogger asking people to show up at Driehaus’s Cincinnati “mansion” to protest his health care vote. A photo of Driehaus’s family appeared in a Cincinnati newspaper ad urging the lawmaker to vote against the health care bill last week.   A brick was thrown through the window of the Democratic Party’s Cincinnati office.   And Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who negotiated the breakthrough on abortion language in the health care bill, has received numerous death threats and faxes with violent images at his office.

OTB Regular Steve Plunk says:

One brick and one propane line on BBQ grill. So far that’s all the violence that it takes to make these congressmen shake in fear?

Well, really.  I say, over there:

I doubt the majority of what is being called “death threats” really are such; I suggest that what’s happening here is there using a relatively minor comment and blowing it out of proportion so as to use it like they would any other tool; to tar their political opponents with.

Meanwhile, I have cited over the past nine years or so that my site has been online, many instances of left on right threats and overt violence, which brought none of the condemnation from the left that we’re now seeing from the all too ready to apologize right. Why is that, do you suppose?

That said, there’s one additional point needs be made. That of the question of the legitimacy of such acts.

Mind, I make no judgments here nor calls to violence, but I will ask the question; I look at our own American revolution and the violent acts which gave birth to this nation. And, I wonder; at what point would such actions be considered legitimate, today? Would in fact our revolution be considered as legit today? I’ve seen many who think this nation should never have been founded while they reap the benefits of the violent overthrow of Brit rule.

Consider the words of Lincoln, in his first inaugural address:

This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.

Be careful when you answer the question about how legitimate an act of violence against the government is; You will, perhaps, in your answer inadvertently delegitimize the founding of our nation. Or, perhaps not so inadvertently, some of you.

I can’t wait to see what responses that one brings…. LOL