A Rising Tide Of Anti-Government Threats And Violence

A Rising Tide Of Anti-Government Threats And Violence

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

The assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was not an isolated incident. For the last two years we have seen a rise in acts, and threats, of anti-government violence. At the same time, we've seen an eruption in dangerous, often violent, anti-government rhetoric embraced and mainstreamed by the right-wing media in America.

Here is a look back at some of the troubling events that have taken place since 2009.

-April 4, 2009: Richard Poplawski waited inside his mother's apartment knowing the police would soon be responding to her 911 call regarding a domestic dispute. When two policemen arrived at the door Poplawski opened fire with and shot them in the head. A devoted fan of Glenn Beck and other right-wing conspiracy pushers, Poplowski was obsessed with the threat of Obama banning guns. Poplawski killed three cops that day.

-May 31 2009: Abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was assassinated in his church by a right-wing activist. The killing came in the wake of Fox News' Bill O'Reilly launching relentless on-air attacks on the doctor : "Tiller has killed thousands, thousands of late-term fetuses without explanation."

-Aug. 6: Tampa police were called to calm a mob of hundreds of 200 conservative protesters (including fans of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh) who sparked a scene of "mayhem," which including several scuffles, at a health care forum hosted by Rep Kathy Castor (D-FL).

-March 4: Anti-government fanatic John Patrick Beddell opened fire outside a Pentagon security checkpoint, wounding two officers before being stopped by return fire. (The gunman later died from his wounds.)

-March 19: A thrown brick smashed a window at Rep. Louise Slaughter's district office in Niagara Falls, New York.

-March 19: A tossed brick demolished a window at the Sedgwick County Democratic Party headquarters in Wichita, Kansas.

-March 20: A brick was thrown through the window of the Democratic Party office in Rochester, New York.

-March 22: Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) received racist images, including a noose, on faxes sent to his office.

-March 23: Rep. Tom Perriello's (D-VA) brother's address was erroneously posted online by a Tea Party blogger who invited activists to descend on the house. A gas line outside the brother's house was cut.

-March 24: Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) was the target of threatening faxes and phone calls, including death threats. Also receiving threats around the same time of the health care voter were Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-CA) Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-OH), and Sen. Mark Udall (D-UT).

-March 25: Rep. Anthony Weiner's office in Kew Gardens, New York, had to be evacuated after suspicious white powder was found in an envelope mailed to the office.

-April 6: A devoted Glenn Beck fan left a series of death threats ("Kill the fucking Senator! ") on the voice mail at the office of Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). (The caller was "was under the spell that Glenn Beck cast," reported his cousin.)

-April 10: The FBI arrested a California man for making threatening phone calls to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

-June 9: An Arizona man was indicted on federal charges for allegedly threatening to "blow the brains out" of Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ.

-July 17: Devoted Beck fan Byron Williams, who saw the right-wing talker as a "schoolteacher on TV," keyed into Beck's dark conspiracies about the ACLU and Tides Foundation and set off to assassinate staffers at both left-leaning organizations in order to spark a political revolution. (Police arrested Williams before he was able to unleash his shooting spree.)

-July 29: Grijalva shut down his Yuma, AZ, office after staffers discovered a bullet had shattered a window.

-Oct. 21: An envelope containing a suspicious white powder substance, as well as two pieces of papers with swastikas drawn on them, were mailed to Grijalva's office.

-Oct. 25: Attending a Rand Paul campaign event in Lexington, KY, a MoveOn.org volunteer reportedly received a concussion after being tackled and having her head stomped on by a Paul supporter.

-Oct. 28: The League of Women Voters of Illinois contacted local FBI officials when the League's office began receiving death threats. The threats came after Beck attacked the group on Fox News for not allowing the Pledge of Allegiance to be said prior to a Congressional debate that the League was sponsoring.

-Jan 8, 2011: Rep. Giffords was shot in the head while appearing at a meet-and-greet event in her Arizona district.

-Jan. 10: The office of Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) contacted the FBI and Capitol police after receiving a death threat. The suspect was arrested.

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Glenn Beck
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