The U.S. Capitol Police must rue election season. The rage rhetoric on the right has again created a personal safety alert for an elected official.
Last week, an activist at a Tea Party Express rally near St. Louis implored the faithful in attendance to “kill the Claire Bear, ladies and gentlemen.” In a hyperbolic rant against incumbent Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, GOP activist Scott Boston exhorted the audience, “She walks around like she’s some sort of Rainbow Brite Care Bear or something but really she’s an evil monster.”
Police in the first-term senator’s home town of Kirkwood, Mo., were asked by federal officers charged with her protection to increase the local security detail. Not only is uncivil rhetoric dangerously taking society in the wrong direction, it is, incidentally, costing taxpayers money and resources. Last month, another branch of federal police, the particularly beleaguered Secret Service, investigated similarly incendiary comments against President Obama from 1970s rocker Ted Nugent.
I doubt the Missouri conservative was advocating that anyone actually end the life of the 58-year-old senator or, for that matter, that Ted Nugent was threatening the president with his crude bully talk. Most people recognize that the screaming bombast aimed at public servants is just horrible manners by attention-craving individuals apparently unable to express themselves civilly. But the trash-talking can incite unstable persons to commit lethal acts.
Just a few miles from the rally, at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Mo., Jared Loughner is being treated and evaluated for competency to stand trial for the Arizona shooting on Jan. 8, 2011, that killed six people and wounded 13, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Bonnie Goldstein politely tweets at @KickedByAnAngel.