40 Violent Incidents and the Right-Wing Rhetoric that Presaged Them
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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." In a subsequent press release, he adds, " Anyone who understands the law knows I was just joking, because Idaho has no jurisdiction to issue hunting tags in Washington, D.C."
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. We are aware. We understand that the tree of freedom is occasionally watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots.”
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 on weapons charges.
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. Ronald Kessler's account of presidential security, In the President's Secret Service, states that there has been a 400% increase in such threats in comparison with Obama’s predecessor. Another source of these reports is an August 5, 2009 study by the Congressional Research Service which finds: “The [Secret] Service’s protection mission has increased and become more ‘urgent’ due to the increase in terrorist threats and the expanded arsenal of weapons that terrorists could use in an assassination attempt or attacks on facilities.”
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."
December 23, 2009—Warren "Gator" Taylor takes three people hostage at a federal post office in Wytheville, Virginia. He is armed with four guns, including a .40-caliber Glock pistol, despite a criminal record that includes convictions for lewd and lascivious beheavior with a 13 year-old and attempted second-degree murder (Taylor shot his ex-wife three times in a parking lot in 1993). Taylor fires at least three rounds before the stand-off ends, including one at the station's fleeing postmaster. 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. “ The government fears the people, and a disarmed people are slaves,” he says. “ Political power comes from the barrel of a gun ... They’re pushing us to our limits.”
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 are called to Campano's apartment in November 2009 after he accidentally detonates a pipe bomb and loses parts of two fingers. They 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 Keepers, 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. Dyer had been an organizer of militia groups in Oklahoma and told one interviewer, " I'm going to use my training and become one of those domestic terrorists that you're so afraid of from the [Department of Homeland Security (DHS)] reports." In another video, Dyer states, " With DHS blatantly calling patriots, veterans, and constitutionalists a threat, all that I have to say is you’re damn right we're a threat. We're a threat to anyone that endangers our rights and the Constitution of this republic."
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 uninterupted ... The entire body of these War Powers and 'continuity of gov't' plans render our concept of a Constitutional Republic to be little more than thin veil of civility and justice layered over a monsterous, diabolic dictatorship that would break out of political cage but for Americans vigorously exercising their 2nd Amendment rights ... As it stands today at start of 2010, there is never a time that our gov't would find itself without some excuse, no matter how perverse, as the justification for unleashing their murderous 'War Powers' monster upon the public, in an attempt to subject us to tyranny."
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."