Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Patty Murray murder threat: Yet another example of right-wing unhingedness

The Seattle Times reports:

A 63-year-old Yakima County man has been charged with threatening to kill U.S. Sen. Patty Murray over her support of the National Health Care Reform Act.

The FBI and local police arrested Charles Alan Wilson at his Selah home early Tuesday. Wilson was scheduled to make an appearance in U.S. District Court in Yakima, and he will then be transported to Seattle, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

According to the charges, staffers in Murray's office in the Jackson Building in downtown Seattle had become concerned over a series of phone calls by an unknown man over the past several months. The calls came from a blocked number, and often were made in the evenings or on weekends.

Usually, according to a staffer identified by the initials "M.G.," the calls were merely vulgar and harassing.

But on March 22, "the caller began to make overt threats to kill and/or injure Senator Murray," according to the complaint signed by FBI Agent Carolyn Woodbury.

In that message, a man the FBI says it has identified as Wilson stated, "I hope you realize there's a target on your back now ... Kill the [expletive] senator! I'll donate the lead."

In several other vulgar and profanity-laced messages left over the next week, the caller repeatedly threatened the Democratic senator's life and said he "hopes somebody kills" President Obama as well, according to portions of transcripts in the complaint.

As I put it in a recent post entitled "The consequences of conservative speech: Violence against Democrats over health-care reform," cross-posted at HuffPo:

[W]hat do you think is going to happen when you call the president illegitimate, a foreigner who essentially stole the election? Or when you stoke fears of a socialist-fascist takeover of government and of government assault on freedom? Do you not think that some out there will convert your speech to action -- hording guns, building bunkers, and otherwise preparing for violence? And do you not think that some will actually take to the streets to wage whatever war they think you're calling on them to wage?

This guy, who may have acted out regardless (he's obviously got problems), certainly seems to be unhinged. But, then, so is much of the Republican Party, along with most of the conservative movement that supports it. And while it is this guy who has been arrested and charged, and deservedly so, it seems to me that much of the blame must be laid directly at the feet of the right-wing rabble-rousers and propagandists -- at Fox News, in talk radio, on Capitol Hill, and elsewhere -- who have been pumping their zombie-like followers full of lies, smears, and delusions.

Is is really any wonder the unhinged are acting out? Is it any wonder it has come to this? And this could only be the beginning, given that the rabble-rousers and propagandists haven't let up, and in fact have stepped up their vicious attacks since the Democrats' health-care victory.

This, you see, is what much of American conservatism has become, an ideology of venom that is poisoning the body politic and leading some of its adherents to violence.

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