Tom G. of South Russell takes issue with my most recent tirade against Senator Voinovich:

Concerning "Voinovich Feigns Shock at Extremism", I found an interesting article on line. I think the true extremists are decidedly from the left spectrum of political persuasion. Now you know.

The "interesting article" references incidents in which conservatives were the targets of — are you sitting down? — harsh words and, in some cases, vandalism. No injuries, and no hint of involvement or encouragement by prominent Democrats or liberals. But to Gretchko and many conservatives, these incidents are just as outrageous as the escalating, revolutionary rhetoric of the tea party movement and the real violence that even a Republican congressman recently called "domestic terrorism."

vernon hunter
Does that characterization offend you, Tom? Tell it to the family of Vernon Hunter (left). The 68-year-old husband, father and Vietnam vet worked at the IRS for more than 20 years, right up ’til February 18, the day that Andrew Joseph Stack flew a plane into the Austin building in which Hunter's office was located. Hunter was killed. In a long, rambling suicide note, Stack lashed out at the government, politicians and corporations, and wailed endlessly, if vaguely, about brainwashing and supposed thefts of freedom. Aside from the occasional allusions to Stack's impending death ("In a government full of hypocrites from top to bottom, life is as cheap as their lies and their self-serving laws." … "I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well"), the 3,200-word screed reads as if it were lifted from any tea party blog.

At right are Pittsburgh patrolman Eric Green, Paul Sciullo and Stephen Mahlye. All three were gunned down on April 4, 2009, by 22-year-old Richard Poplawski. Officers had been called to the house by Poplawski's mother; he met them wearing a bullet-proof vest and armed with an AK-47 assault rifle. Longtime friend Edward Perkovic later told a TV station that "Poplawski feared 'the Obama gun ban that's on the way' and 'didn't like our rights being infringed upon.'" Poplawski was a fan of rightwing pundits Alex Jones and Glenn Beck, and apparently bought into their endless conspiracy theorizing, including predictions — common among tea party members — that the federal government soon will begin imprisoning perceived opponents in concentration camps managed by FEMA.

And these are just two of the more high-profile cases — there have been many others. In each, deranged people were propelled toward violence by — and this is key — the very same anti-government obsessions that have spread like viruses among conservatives and tea partiers, from the leadership to the grassroots, since the election of Barack Obama.

Now you know, Tom G. of South Russell. Though I'm sure you and your fellow travelers will continue to equate violence and murder with shouts and keyed cars. — Frank Lewis

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