Only a year has passed since Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in Arizona. Many pointed to the overheated rhetoric from the Right and a political map that identified her and other Democrats as targets with sniper crosshairs over their districts as the inspiration for the shooting. Whether this is the case is debatable. Regardless of this terrible possibility, the violent rhetoric against Democratic lawmakers has continued unabated. Just a few days ago, a Democratic campaign manager in Arkansas arrived home to find his children’s pet cat murdered with the word ‘Liberal’ scrawled across its fur. And now, Missouri lawmakers are also being threatened.
On Tuesday, several state Democratic Senators and one Republican in the House discovered images of sniper crosshairs on their office doors. Not thinking much of it at the time, some removed the images, only to be replaced with bigger images later on. That’s when the Capitol Police and Missouri State Troopers were called in. Whether it is someone’s poor idea of a prank or a direct threat is unknown. Authorities are taking the incident seriously in light of the Giffords shooting and other recent threats against public figures.
According to the Columbia Daily Tribune, “the stickers were on the doors of all four Democratic women in the Senate — Jolie Justus and Kiki Curls, both of Kansas City, and Maria Chapelle-Nadal and Robin Wright-Jones, both of St. Louis.” A fifth Democratic senator and floor leader, Victor Callahan of Kansas City also found a crosshair image on his door.
Violent rhetoric against Democrats and other Left Wing targets has steadily risen since 2008. Several incidents have occurred targeting politicians and people the Right Wing considers “dangerous.” In the past three years, Right Wing rhetoric has led to the death of Dr. George Tiller by a pro-life fanatic, the killing of a black security guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC by a White Supremacist, the assassination of a federal judge and several bystanders during the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, among them a 9 year old girl, the killing of a cat belonging to the children of a Democratic campaign manager in Arkansas, and the breaking of windows by rocks thrown through Democratic offices nationwide, among many other incidents, threats, and plots. Ever since President Obama assumed office, gun sales have skyrocketed and the threats against the President have increased. Surely a coincidence.
As the 2012 Election approaches this November, we should prepare to hear even more of these kinds of stories as conservatives use hate and fear in a desperate attempt to take over the government. Crosshair images are a direct threat in this atmosphere created by the fear and hate-mongering of the Right. How much longer and how many more lives will be lost before we call this what it really is: terrorism?