You are hereChristian Science Moniotor: Arizona shooting: Seven times politics turned to threats or violence last year

Christian Science Moniotor: Arizona shooting: Seven times politics turned to threats or violence last year


Authorities say they believe Jared Lee Loughner, the primary suspect in Saturday's shooting in Tucson, Ariz., targeted Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) of Arizona but have not identified a motive, characterizing him as mentally unstable. The shooting followed a year in which several members of Congress have been threatened.

1. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

In the wake of Saturday's shooting of Representative Giffords and 19 others outside a Tucson, Ariz., supermarket, the local police chief linked the attack to vitriolic political rhetoric. Others, however, see the event as the misguided action of a disturbed individual and nothing more.

Saturday's attack has heightened the alert level of members of Congress, but many are resisting increased police presence when visiting with constituents, as Giffords was at the time of the attack.

Democratic whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland said Saturday's shooting struck at the heart of American politics. “This is not simply an attack on Ms. Giffords. This is an attack on democracy itself, on the ability ... to peaceably assemble, to come together to talk to one another,” he said on CBS’s "Face the Nation."

2. Rep. Tom Perriello

Last March saw a spate of threats against members of Congress related to their support of President Obama's health-care reform bill. US Rep. Tom Perriello (D) of Virginia was the target of one that hit especially close to home. The only problem: It wasn't his home.

On March 25, the FBI and local officials confirmed that a severed gas line found at the home of Representative Perriello's brother had been deliberately cut. At the time, there was speculation that the act may have been tied to a local tea party website that listed the home address of Perriello and encouraged tea party supporters to “drop by” and “express their thanks” for his health-care vote. The site gave the address of Perriello's brother by mistake.

No one was hurt in the incident, and Perriello called for calm and justice. "People who are doing these things ... are clearly outside the law," Perriello said. "As my very conservative attorney general said, these people need to be prosecuted, not brought into the campaign room."

Perriello was defeated in November in his first bid for reelection.

FULL STORY HERE:

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