Shifting the blame: a catalogue of conservative political violence
Attempts by conservatives to use the alleged crimes committed b y a very troubled young man to blame the left for the political violence are as misguided as the Tea Party Express’s shameless use of the murders in Arizona to raise money. Chuck’s blog, opposite, follows this meme and is mistaken.
The evidence cited by Chuck for Loughner’s liberalism proves the opposite. He cites an uncorroborated statement by a woman who knew Jared Lee Loughner four years ago that she thought he was “ pretty left wing “. No other person who has known him has corroborated the statement, she has never explained what she mean by “left-wing”, and numerous long term acquaintances of his have told interviewers that he has changed radically since they knew him four years ago and has become, if anything, an apolitical nihilist. All responsible commentators– liberal and conservative – agree that he was a non-political mentally unstable young man who had stalked the Congresswoman for four years.
Chuck cites a skull and candles in the killer’s back yard as further evidence of liberalism with absolutely no reference as to why this indicates a liberal leaning, rather the more normal use of this kind of symbology by conservative skinheads and militia-oriented motorcycle gangs. In 40 years of liberal politicking I have never seen a skull symbol by liberals (who are not to be conflated with Wiccans, pagans and other non-Christian religious groups – none of whom use skull altars either). The only widespread use of skulls – outside of skinhead groups – is by Mexican Catholics celebrating the The Day of the Dead, a religious holiday in Mexico and Mexican communities in the US. In truth,Loughaner’s skull altar is indicative of nothing but the demons in his head.
Chuck says liberals call conservatives “stupid” . While I don’t dispute the charge – there is a meme in progressive circles that conservatives are mindlessly manipulated by corporations and right-wing leaders, Chuck fails to recognize that conservatives make the same claim about liberals – and add threats of violence. A visit to www.foxnation.com or virtually any conservative blog will find dozens of comments by conservatives riddled with charges of idiocy against liberals and violent threats against the president, former Speaker, and liberals – some so violent they were investigated by the Secret Service. Both sides fail to give their opposites due respect – part of the problem.
Chuck cites the Loughner’s reading of The Communist Manifesto as proof of his liberalism. But the killer also listed the writings of the extreme conservative Ayan Rand and a number of children’s books. Loughner’s reading list shows immaturity and a hatred and fear of authority, not political thinking.
Chuck’s claim of recent left wing violence is equally without basis. The two incidents he cites were actually perpetrated by anti-government activists whose views resemble the anti-government rhetoric broadcast by conservatives for the past 40 years – and were reported as such. Joseph Stack hated the IRS, believed the income tax was unconstitutional – a claim made by some far-right extremists – as justification for attacking an IRS office with a plane. Chuck’s second example, John Patrick Bedell’s shooting Pentagon guards, was also described by police as an anti-government extremist who believed the Federal government orchestrated the 9/11 attacks – a conspiracy theory that has circulated in both right and left-wing extremist circles. But the anti-government attitude has been the central theme of conservatism since the Powell Memo was drafted for a conservative donor group in 1971 outlining how Republicans can roll back regulation by creating mistrust of government in the minds of Americans.
The facts show that the overwhelming amount of political violence and threats of violence in the past few years has been committed by extremist conservatives, as the list below shows. These are people who are not part of the proud conservative movement of the United States dedicated to smaller government and lower taxes. But rather, they are wrapped up in far-right conspiracy theories, hared of government and especially President Obama, and fanatic gun rights obsession. A perfect storm of right-wing conspiracy theories, the internet, widely available firepower, NRA lobbying for more widely available firepower and cynical, radical conservative interest group manipulation of the Tea Party and other conservative movements has led to a serious uptick in anti-government violence and threats of violence – although Loughner’s attack was not part of this.
This violence is not only directed at liberals and Democrats, but at conservatives who are not “pure” enough for the extremes. Chuck did not mention that the leaders of the Republican Committee of AZ District 8 – all conservatives – resigned this week because of threats of violence against them and their families from Tea Party supporters angered by their support for conservative John McCain in his race against a Tea Party candidate. Extremist conservatives now threaten Republicans.
Violence and guns have always been present in American politics and they predate the current left-right divisions. Denying this will isolate the deniers from steps needed to reduce its impact. And extremist left-wing violence did occur in the 60’s and 70’s and still whispers around the far, far-out edges of far- left political groups. But conservative violence has surfaced in the mainstream with a vengeance in the past 8 years. Denying this will not make us a “more perfect union”; it will turn us into Pakistan.
Chuck’s warning that Democrats and Progressive may try to use the killings in Arizona to frustrate the Republican House’s agenda deserves hearing. While I urge Democrats to be as aggressive in blocking Republican legislation as the Republicans have been in frustrating Democrats, using the shooting of Rep. Giffords by a mentally unstable man to do this would be reprehensible, although I see no evidence of this in Congress. Liberal interest groups have used the incident to fire up their bases (but not to raise money) – as have conservative groups – and both should stop it. The Republican agenda should fail on its merits – or lack of them – without any reference to political violence.
Chuck’s call for hope that the accusations and insinuations can be put aside and that the focus can be turned toward understanding the problem objectively with an eye toward logical solutions is exactly what the country needs and I wholeheartedly agree. I will join him in trying to make that happen.
A partial compilation of recent extremist conservative violence (with thanks to Digby )
July 2, 2010—The Wyoming Department of Revenue suspends sales tax collections at the state’s gun shows because of “increasing animosity” toward field tax agents by gun-toting conservative gun rights advocates.
July 3, 2010—Joyce Kaufman, a conservative radio hosts on WFTL in Florida, tells a crowd of supporters at a Fort Lauderdale Tea Party event, “I am convinced that the most important thing the Founding Fathers did to ensure me my First Amendments rights was they gave me a Second Amendment. And if ballots don’t work, bullets will. ”
July 6, 2010—Herb Titus, a lawyer for Gun Owners of America, tells Religion Dispatches, “If you have a people that has basically been disarmed by the civil government, then there really isn’t any effectual means available to the people to restore law and liberty and that’s really the purpose of the right to keep and bear arms—is to defend yourself against a tyrant.”
July 27, 2008—Jim Adkisson shoots and kills two people at a progressive church in Knoxville, Tennessee, wounding two. Adkisson calls it “a symbolic killing” because he really “wanted to kill…every Democrat in the Senate & House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg’s book,” but was unable to gain access to them.
September 22, 2008—The National Rifle Association launches its GunBanObama website, which predicts that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, “if elected…would be the most anti-gun president in American history.” The website is part of a $15 million NRA campaign to discredit Obama.
December 9, 2008—FBI teams investigating the murder of white supremacist James Cumming find supplies for a crude radiological dispersal device and other explosives in his home. Cumming’s wife explains, “His intentions were to construct a dirty bomb and take it to Washington to kill President Obama. He was planning to hide it in the undercarriage of our motor home.”
February 20, 2009—FOX commentator Glenn Beck hosts a program that games a 2014 civil war scenario called “The Bubba Effect.” It involves citizen militias in the South and West taking up arms against the U.S. government.
March 9, 2009—NRA celebrity spokesman Chuck Norris writes in an editorial published at WorldNetDaily: “How much more will Americans take? When will enough be enough? And, when that time comes, will our leaders finally listen or will history need to record a second American Revolution?”
March 11, 2009—NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre speaks at the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference and announces that “Our Founding Fathers understood that the guys with the guns make the rules.”
March 21-22, 2009—Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) states that she wants residents of her state to be “armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back.”
April 4, 2009—Neo-Nazi Richard Poplawski shoots and kills three police officers responding to a 911 call to his home in Pittsburgh. His friend Edward Perkovic tells reporters that Poplawski feared “the Obama gun ban that’s on its way” and “didn’t like our rights being infringed upon.”
April 7, 2009—The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis releases an assessment of right wing extremism in the United States. The Department notes that “the economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment.” Recalling the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing by right-wing militia-connected Timothy McVeigh, the Department speculates, “The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.”
April 15, 2009—Daniel Knight Hayden, 52, is arrested by FBI agents after he openly states on Twitter that he is going to turn the upcoming Oklahoma City “Tea Party” into a bloodbath.”
April 19, 2009—The Oath Keepers, an anti-government group made up of current and former law enforcement and military personnel and supported by Todd Palin, holds its first “muster” in Lexington, Massachusetts, the site of the opening shots of the Revolutionary War. The groups’ members pledge to disobey ten different orders that they deem “unconstitutional” and “immoral,” the first of which reads, “We will NOT obey orders to disarm the American people.”
April 25, 2009—Joshua Cartwright, 28, a member of the Florida National Guard, shoots and kills two Okaloosa County sheriff’s deputies attempting to arrest him on a domestic abuse charge. Cartwright is killed in an ensuing gun battle with police. Cartwright’s wife reports that he was “severely disturbed” that Barack Obama had been elected president. Okaloosa County Sheriff Edward Spooner states that Cartrwight was “interested in militia groups and weapons training.”
May 2009—Data released by the U.S. Marshals Service indicates that threats to the nation’s judges and prosecutors have more than doubled in the past six years, from 592 in 2003 to 1,278 in 2008. Federal officials blame a number of parties, including the “sovereign citizen” movement, white supremacists, and others who don’t respect federal authority.
May 21-22, 2009—We The People Chairman Bob Schultz hosts a gathering of 30 “freedom keepers” in Jekyll Island, Georgia. The meeting plays “a key role in launching the current resurgence of militias and the larger anti-government ‘Patriot’ movement.” One of the participants, former Texas militia leader Jon Roland, claims the federal government has “been engaging in warlike activity against the American people.”
May 31, 2009—Scott P. Roeder shoots and kills Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider, in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas. The FBI lists Roeder as a member of the Montana Freemen, a radical anti-government group
June 3, 2009—Hal Turner, a New Jersey resident and white supremacist blogger/radio host, is arrested on charges of inciting injury after calling for the deaths of two Connecticut state legislators on his blog because they sponsored a bill that would have transferred financial power in Roman Catholic parishes from priests and bishops to lay members.
June 10, 2009—James W. von Brunn, a convicted felon and a “hardcore Neo-Nazi,” walks into the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and shoots and kills a security guard. Von Brunn believed that Western civilization was going to be replaced with a “ONE WORLD ILLUMINATI GOVERNMENT” that would “confiscate private weapons” in order to accomplish its goals.
June 24, 2009—Hal Turner, a New Jersey resident and white supremacist blogger/radio host, is arrested again after calling for the murder of three Republican-appointed jurists on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals who had issued a June 2 decision upholding handgun restrictions in Chicago. Writing on his blog, Turner says, “Let me be the first to say this plainly: these judges deserve to be killed,” and includes photographs, phone numbers, work addresses, and room numbers of the judges, as well as a map of Chicago’s federal courthouse which points out its “anti-truck bomb” pylons.
July 13, 2009—Gilbert Ortez, Jr. kills a police deputy in Chambers County, Texas, with an assault rifle. Police were responding to reports that Ortez or his wife had fired shots at utility workers in the area. Police searching Ortez’s mobile home after a 10-hour standoff find more than 100 explosive devices; Nazi drawings and extremist literature; and several additional firearms.
July 15, 2009—Katherine Crabill, a Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates in the state’s 99th District makes headlines by calling on Americans to resist the course President Obama has set for the country. Appearing at a “Tea Party” rally, Crabill quotes a 1775 speech by Patrick Henry and then states, “We have a chance to fight this battle at the ballot box before we have to resort to the bullet box. “
July 31, 2009—On WWJB-AM in Hernando County, Florida, talk radio host Bob Haa takes a call from a listener who mentions ammunition, target practice, and Barack Obama. Haa tells him not to waste his ammunition on targets, to save it for the administration. Haa is later visited by an agent for the Secret Service.
August 11, 2009—William Kostric is filmed openly carrying a handgun outside of President Obama’s health care reform town hall meeting in New Hampshire. Kostric holds a sign that reads, “IT IS TIME TO WATER THE TREE OF LIBERTY!”
August 17, 2009—Chris Broughton openly carries a handgun and AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle to a health care rally in Phoenix, Arizona.
August 25, 2009—During a GOP barbecue in Twin Falls, Idaho, an audience member asks Rex Rammell, a candidate in the 2010 Idaho Republican Primary, a question about “Obama tags” during a discussion about state-issued tags for wolf hunting. Rammell responds, “The Obama tags? We’d buy some of those.”
August 26, 2009—At a secessionist rally on the state capitol steps in Austin, Texas, gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina states that, “We are aware that stepping off into secession may in fact be a bloody war.”
September 9, 2009—With President Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol to address a joint session of Congress on the subject of health care reform, Joshua Bowman, 28, of Falls Church, Virginia, attempts to drive his Honda Civic into a secure area near the building. U.S. Capitol Police stop him and, searching his vehicle, find a rifle, a shotgun, and 500 rounds of ammunition. He is arrested.
September 25-26, 2009—Kitty Werthmann, a speaker at the “How to Take Back America” Conference in St. Louis, tells her audience, “If we had our guns [during the time of the Nazis’ reign in Germany], we would have fought a bloody battle. So, keep your guns, and buy more guns, and buy ammunition. Take back America. Don’t let them take the country into Socialism. And I refer again, Hitler’s party was National Socialism. And that’s what we are having here right now, which is bordering on Marxism.”
September 28, 2009—Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), the Chairman of the Second Amendment Task Force in the U.S. House of Representatives, calls House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a “domestic enemy of the Constitution” at a health care reform town hall meeting.
September 29, 2009—An editorial at the Newsmax website calls for a military coup to oust President Obama.
September 30, 2009—The Michelangelo Signorile Show, a talk radio program on Sirus, takes a call from “Jim” from Oklahoma, who claims that he and 200 others are meeting weekly to stage a coup against President Obama. Jim says they want to restore their “a right to bear arms” and bring the country back to where it was 400 years ago, before slavery was abolished.
October 18-19, 2009—Reports emerge that the Secret Service has received an unprecedented number of death threats against President Obama.
October 21, 2009—John Brek, a 55 year-old Newark Airport security guard, is arrested for making terroristic threats against President Obama. Authorities find 43 firearms while searching his home, including a stolen rifle. Brek, a National Rifle Association member, is also found to be in possession of illegal hollow point bullets.
November 2009—Billboard is erected on I-70 in Lafayette County, Missouri, that promotes “a citizens guide to REVOLUTION.” It urges Missourians to “LIVE FREE OR DIE” and ”PREPARE FOR WAR” with a corrupt government. The billboard is highlighted at the Lafayette County Republicans website.
November 11-22, 2009—More than 100 delegates from across the country attend a “Continental Congress” hosted by We The People. Attendees include Neo-Confederate secessionists, “Common Law Court” enthusiasts, adherents of the “Sovereign Citizens” movement, militia backers, and other radicals. Planned at an earlier May meeting in Jekyll Island, the Congress issues a document entitled the “Articles of Freedom” which declares that the federal government “now threatens our Life, Liberty and Property through usurpations of the Constitution.”
November 29, 2009—Conservative web publisher Andrew Breitbart tweets, “Capital punishment for Dr James Hansen. Climategate is high treason.”
December 23, 2009—Warren “Gator” Taylor takes three people hostage at a federal post office in Wytheville, Virginia. He is armed with four guns, One of Taylor’s hostages reports that he was angry about taxes and “the government taking over the right to bear arms.”
January 2010—A group of nearly 200 “extremely concerned citizens” in Ravalli County, Montana, demand that local elected officials fill out a “questionnaire” pledging to form a local militia, prohibit mandatory vaccinations, allow citizens to bear any type of firearms they choose (including fully automatic machine guns), and require federal government employees to get written approval before approaching “any Citizen” in the county. The questionnaire is organized in part by Celebrating Conservatism, a group with direct ties to the militia movement.
January 2, 2010—More than 300 people attend a rally in Alamogordo, New Mexico, organized by the local Otero Tea Party Patriots and Second Amendment Task Force. The purpose of the rally is to protest health care reform, and many of the rally’s participants openly carry handguns and/or rifles. One attendee states that his handgun is a “very open threat” to the “socialist communists” in the Obama Administration.
January 12, 2010—Mark Campano of Cuyhaoga Falls, Ohio, pleads not guilty to charges of possessing destructive devices not registered with the federal government. Law enforcement find 30 pipe bombs, 17 rifles and handguns, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in the dwelling. Campano’s next-door neighbor states, “He was always trying to get me and another neighbor to listen to anti-government tapes and watch anti-government videos … He was some kind of radical, and he didn’t believe in the government.”
January 12, 2010—Charles Allan Dyer, 29, a former Marine with ties to Tea Parties and far-right-wing organizations like Oath, is arrested at his home on charges of raping a 7 year old-girl. Sheriff’s deputies find several firearms inside Dyer’s home and a Colt M-203 40mm grenade launcher, which was stolen from a military base in Fort Irwin, California, in 2006
February 9, 2010—Gregory Girard of Manchester, Massachusetts, is arrested for weapons charges after police find 20 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and explosive devices in his home. Girard’s wife says that her husband recently told her, “Don’t talk to people, shoot them instead.” In a January 30 post at a popular website affiliated with the Tea Party movement, Girard stated: “We have been in a state of war and state of emergency of some time for decades uninterrupted.”
February 13, 2010—An unidentified speaker at an event organized by the Lewis and Clark Tea Party Patriots in Asotin County, Washington, tells the audience, “How many of you have watched the movie “Lonesome Dove”? What happened to Jake when he ran with the wrong crowd? He got hung. And that’s what I want to do with [Democratic U.S. Senator] Patty Murray.”
February 18, 2010—Joseph Stack of Austin, Texas, flies a single-engine plane into an office building containing nearly 200 IRS employees, killing one and wounding 13. In a suicide note, Stack lays out his grievances with the federal tax agency, stating, “The law ‘requires’ a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully that they understand what they are signing; if that’s not ‘duress’ than what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is … Violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer.”
February 19, 2010—Johnny Logan, Jr. of Louisville, Kentucky, is arrested and charged with making threats against the president after his poem titled “The Sniper” is found on the website NaziSpace/NewSaxon.org by the U.S. Secret Service.”
February 2010—Pvt. 1st Class Lee Pary, an active duty soldier at Fort Drum and member of Oath Keepers, tells a reporter that he and five fellow service members at the Army base are preparing to take on the U.S. government when it declares martial law, and will turn their guns on their fellow soldiers should it become necessary.
March 2010—The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) announces that 2009 saw a dramatic increase in the number of new anti-government “Patriot” groups in the United States. Specifically, the number of Patriot groups jumped from 149 (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) in 2009—a 244% jump.
March 4, 2010—John Patrick Bedell, a California resident, travels to Arlington, Virginia, and opens fire on police officers at the entrance to the Pentagon. Bedell is armed with two semiautomatic firearms and “many [ammunition] magazines.” Bedell injures two officers before he is killed by return fire. Reports reveals Bedell to be a Truther who believed that the U.S. government had been taken over by a criminal organization in a 1963 coup.
March 19-22, 2010—During consideration of health care reform legislation by the U.S. House of Representatives, vandals attack Democratic offices in Pleasant Ridge, Ohio; Wichita, Kansas; Tuscon, Arizona; Niagra Falls, New York; and Rochester, New York. Mike Vanderboegh, the former leader of f the Alabama Constitutional Militia, takes credit for the violence after posting a blog on March 19 that states, “If we break the windows of hundreds, thousands, of Democratic party headquarters across this country, we might just make up enough of them to make defending ourselves at the muzzle of a rifle unnecessary.”
March 19-22, 2010— Several Democratic members receive death threats, including Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), who is told snipers will “kill the children of the members who voted YES“; Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), who receives a message saying, “You’re dead; we know where you live; we’ll get you“; and Rep. Betsy Markey (D-CO), whose staffer is told by a caller, “Better hope I don’t run into you in a dark alley with a knife, a club or a gun.” House Minority Leader John Boehner, speaking about Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-OH), says he “may be a dead man.”
March 21, 2010—As the U.S. House of Representatives enters a final round of debate over a controversial health care reform bill, Conservative blogger Solomon “Solly” Forrell calls for the assassination of President Barack Obama on his Twitter account .
March 23, 2010—After Mike Troxel of the Lynchburg Tea Party and Nigel Coleman of the Danville Tea Party post the home address of the brother of Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) and urge supporters to “drop by,” someone deliberately cuts a propane gas line at the house. Rep. Perriello is targeted by the Tea Party activists because of his vote in favor of health care reform.
March 24, 2010—After voting for health care reform legislation, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC)receive faxes with drawings of nooses.
March 25, 2010—Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), who voted for health care reform legislation, receives a package containing white powder and an angry letter telling him to “drop dead .”
March 26, 2010—Rep. Vic Snyder (D-AR), who voted for health care reform legislation, receives a letter stating, “It is apparent that it will take a few assassinations to stop Obamacare. Militia central has selected you for assassination. If we cannot stalk and find you in Washington, D.C., we will get you in Little Rock.”
March 26, 2010—NRA Board Member Ted Nugent makes the following comment on FOX News’ “Your World” program: “I’m the expert on the health care bill because I kill pigs and a just shot a monster big pig here in Texas and seeing as how this is a pig bill created by pig bureaucrats to help out American pigs … We gotta’ kill the pig.”
March 29, 2010—A Northeast Philadelphia man, Norman Leboon, is charged with threatening the life of Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA). Leboon, 38, is arrested by the FBI after posting a YouTube video in which he referred to Cantor’s family and threatened,”bulllets…will be placed in your heads.”
March 29, 2010—Nine members of the Michigan-based “Hutaree” Christian militia are arrested and charged with seditious conspiracy and attempting to deploy weapons of mass destruction. The group targeted federal officials.
March 30, 2010—Dozens of sitting governors receive letters from an extremist anti-government group called the Guardians of the Free Republics. The letters demand that the governors leave office within three days or “they will be removed” from office.
April 1-20, 2010—Walter Fitzpatrick, a member of American Grand Jury (AGJ), attempts to effect a citizen’s arrest on grand jury foreman Gary Pettway at the Monroe County courthouse in Madisonville, Tennessee, and is arrested. Nineteen days later, on the day that Fitzpatrick is scheduled to face trial, Oath Keepers member Darren Huff is pulled over by Tennessee state troopers as he attempts to drive to the courthouse to arrest county officials he calls “domestic enemies of the United States engaged in treason.” Huff is armed with a Colt-45 handgun and an AK-47 assault rifle with 300-400 rounds of ammunition.
April 6, 2010—Authorities charge Charles Alan Wilson of Selah, Washington, with threatening a federal official after Wilson makes several phone calls to the office of Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).
April 7, 2010—Gregory Lee Giusti, 48, of San Francisco, California, is arrested for making threatening phone calls to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Giusti allegedly called Pelosi dozens of times, recited her home address, and told her that if she wanted to see it again, she should drop her support for health care reform legislation
April 7, 2010—Brody James Whitaker, 37, is apprehended and arrested on charges including two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, aggravated fleeing, and attempting to elude. During his arraignment hearing, Whitaker questions the authority of the judge and states, “I am a sovereign. I am not an American citizen.”
April 10, 2010—At a “Second Amendment March” organized by the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, Martha Dean, the Republican-endorsed candidate for Attorney General in Connecticut, tells those in attendance, to use their firearms to oppose government attempts at gun control.”
April 13, 2010—Reports surface that state Sen. Randy Brogdon (R-OK) and Rep. Charles Key (R-OK) have met with Oklahoma Tea Party groups to discuss the formation of a new “volunteer militia” to defend against what they see as improprer federal infringements on state sovereignty. One Tea Party leader involved in these meetings, J.W. Berry of the Tulsa-based OKforTea group, has called for the Militia to “launch a thousand guerrilla attacks on the plans that these people have to ruin us and our country.”
April 19, 2010—Pro-gun activists conduct two rallies in the Washington, D.C. area to demonstrate their opposition to an “oppressive, totalitarian government.” Participants carrid automatic weapons and pistols and threatened to us them against the “oppressive Obama regime.”
May 20, 2010—Jerry Kane, Jr., 45, and his son Joseph Kane, 16, fatally shoot two Arkansas police officers with AK-47 assault rifles during a routine traffic stop on Interstate 40 in West Memphis. The Kanes are killed during an exchange of gunfire with police in a Walmart parking lot 90 minutes later. Jerry Kane, an Ohio resident and anti-government activist, and considered himself a “sovereign citizen” and ran a business that centered on debt-avoidance scams.
May 30, 2010—Sharron Angle, a candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senator in Nevada, tells the Reno Gazette-Journal that a recent increase in gun sales nationwide “tells me that the nation is arming. What are they arming for if it isn’t that they are so distrustful of government? They’re afraid they’ll have to fight for their liberty in more Second Amendment kinds of ways.”
May 31, 2010—Oath Keeper Rex Nichols, a candidate for sheriff in Montana’s Lincoln County, makes reference to federal agents’ standoffs at Ruby Ridge in 1992 and Waco in 1993 and promises to keep them out of the county if elected. “I am going to take my deputies and stand in the middle of the road and tell them to get the hell out,” says Nichols. “And if they want a war, they got it.”
June 27, 2010—Rick Barber, a Tea Party candidate seeking the Republican nomination in Alabama’s Second Congressional District, runs a campaign ad in which he compares taxation and “the tyrannical health care bill” to slavery and the extermination of Jews in Nazi Germany.
July 18, 2010—California Highway Patrol officers arrest Byron Williams, 45, after a shootout on I-580 in which more than 60 rounds are fired. Williams, a convicted felon, reveals that he was on his way to San Francisco to “start a revolution” by killing employees of the ACLU and Tides Foundation. Williams’ mother says her son was angry at “Left-wing politicians” and upset by “the way Congress was railroading through all these Left-wing agenda items.”
July 30, 2010—Camp Hill prison guard Raymond Peake, 64, is charged with robbery and the murder of Todd Getgen and theft of his guns. Peake tells police that he and Tuso had been stealing guns “for the purpose of overthrowing the federal government.”
August 19, 2010—Josiah Fornof, 30, of Pasco County, Florida, is arrested after threatening to “bear arms against” local law enforcement officers who were trying to serve him with a warrant. Authorities recover a letter that Fornof had tried to serve the deputies with, which reads, “I have the right to bear arms against such unlawful entities, up to and including the President of the United States, that are coming against me unlawfully, lethally, and genocidally.”
October 15, 2010—Conservative radio show host Glenn Beck lays out a hypothetical scenario on the air where the government is considering taking his children because he refused to have them receive a mandatory flu vaccine. Beck tells his audience that his response to the government would be “Meet Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson.”
October 21, 2010—Pastor Stephen Broden, the Republican candidate for U.S. Representative in Texas’ 30th Congressional District, tells WFAA-TV in Dallas that the violent overthrow of the government is an “option” that remains “on the table.”
November 2, 2010—On Election Night, supporters of Republican congressional candidate Nick Popaditch shout down and physically confront Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) and his staff as they exit Golden Hall in San Diego following the announcment of Filner’s victory in the race. “You’re a damn liar. You should be ashamed of yourself,” Popaditch tells Filner, leading the mob. Other Popaditch supporters yell “You’re a scumbag!” “Jew!” and “Don’t tread on me, Bob!” Another Popaditch supporter punches a Filner campaign staffer in the face.
November 3, 2010—James Patock, 66, of Pima County, Arizona, is arrested on the National Mall in the District of Columbia after law enforcement authorities find a .223 caliber rifle, a .243 caliber rifle barrel, a .22 caliber rifle, a .357 caliber pistol, several boxes of ammunition, and propane tanks wired to four car batteries in his truck and trailer. Patock former neighbor in Arizona reported that, “He hated the president. He hated everything. He said if he got a chance he would shoot the president.”
November 4, 2010—On his radio show, conservative host Glenn Beck fantasizes about President Obama being decapitated during a trip to India.
November 4, 2010—Fox News host Bill O’Reilly fantasizes about killing a Washington Post reporter while on the air.
November 9, 2010—U.S. Representative-Elect Allen West of Florida’s 22nd Congressional District hires conservative radio talk show host Joyce Kaufman as his Chief of Staff. On July 3, Kaufman told a crowd of Tea Party supporters, “I am convinced that the most important thing the Founding Fathers did to ensure me my First Amendments rights was they gave me a Second Amendment. And if ballots don’t work, bullets will.”
November 9, 2010—Concealed handgun permit holder George Thomas Lee, 69, of Walhalla, South Carolina, is arrested on the town’s main street for disseminating and promoting obscenity by bearing signs “laden with expletives and taking aim at U.S. foreign policy, President Barack Obama, blacks in general, Jews and the nation of Israel.” Officers also seize literature from Lee that details “the most expedient means of killing law enforcement officers.”
November 10, 2010—Public schools in Broward County, Florida, go into lockdown after an email threat is received by WFTL 850 AM. The email is sent to conservative radio host Joyce Kaufman in response to remarks she made at a Tea Party event in July (“If ballots don’t work, bullets will“). The email expresses support for her view of the Second Amendment and says that to further “their cause…something big will happen at a government building in Broward County, maybe a post office maybe even a school.” A phone call is then received at the station, allegedly from the emailer’s wife, warning that he is preparing to go to a Pembroke Pines school and open fire.
November 23, 2010—Larry Pratt, the Executive Director of Gun Owners of America, writes an editorial in The Register Citizen in which he calls for state and county sheriffs to organize large, armed “posses” as “a check on the unconstitutional exercise of federal power.”
January 6, 2011—John Troy Davis, 44, is arrested after threatening to set fire to the office of Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and shoot members of his staff. .
January 8, 2011—Fearing violence from tea party activists, Arizona Legislative District 20 Republican Chairman Anthony Miller, Secretary Sophia Johnson, First Vice Chairman Roger Dickinson, and former district spokesman Jeff Kolb resign from their positions. “I don’t want to take a bullet for anyone,” says Miller, who cites verbal attacks and threatening blog posts from tea party members upset with the fact that he is a former campaign worker for U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Miller also reports an incident in which a detractor made his hand into the shape of a gun and pointed it at him.
January 12, 2011—Charles Turner Habermann, 32, is arrested and charged with threatening a federal official after leaving a series of disturbing voicemails for U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) on December 9, 2010. Habermann, enraged by comments that McDermott made opposing tax cuts for the rich.”