Cantor said a bullet was shot through the window of his Richmond, Va., campaign office this week, and that he's gotten threatening emails.
"I will not release them because I believe such actions will only encourage more to be sent," he said.
He said to do so -- as some Democratic lawmakers have done -- would be reckless. Talking Points Memo
A preliminary investigation shows that a bullet was fired into the air and struck the window in a downward direction, landing on the floor about a foot from the window. The round struck with enough force to break the windowpane but did not penetrate the window blinds. There was no other damage to the room, which is used occasionally for meetings by the congressman. From the Police Report on the Incident Cantor is referring to
So Eric Cantor is trying to convince everyone that someone shooting a gun into the air in the vicinity of an unoccupied building where he has an office - the bullet fell, hitting a window pane but not breaking it* -- is the equivalent of a blog-directed attack in which people hurled bricks through the windows of several Democratic headquarters. Not to mention the relative of a Democrat pol whose home was rather dangerously vandalized after a couple of right-wing bloggers mistakenly posted it as the pol's address.
It looks like he and others on the right are gearing up to blame the victims if and when more serious violence actually breaks out -- so long as the victims are Democrats.
There are nutballs on either side of the political spectrum, and strong feelings can bring them out of the woodwork. If health reform had failed, I have no doubt that some Republican lawmakers would have gotten threats and obscene FAXes from supporters of reform. There might even have been some smashed windows.
But there’s a difference, one that ratchets up the danger quotient here. It can be summed up in two words. “Guns” and “Influence.”
Liberals did not react to the “election” of George W. Bush by running out and buying guns and ammo to the point where gun stores were running out of stock. They did not invite attendees at demonstrations to bring weapons, even in areas where carrying a gun in public is legal. They did not post numerous messages online citing armed insurrection as an option.
Yes, there were liberals who said they were leaving the country if George Bush were re-elected, but, no prominent elected Democrat stood before a cheering crowd and invoked secession. Yes, there were left-wing bloggers who claimed George Bush was using FEMA to build and man concentration camps, and insisted that Bush had himself engineered the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11. There was, however, and there still is, no left wing equivalent to Glenn Beck coming on the air almost every night and spouting half-mad (or just plain mad) conspiracy theories to a national audience. Yes, there were rocks thrown and windows broken at some demonstrations, often in the heat of the moment. What we did not see was a coordinated effort, organized online, in which cowards planned and executed night-time vandalism on party headquarters – or released the home addresses of prominent Republicans (or their relatives) and invited their constituents to pay them a visit. When a well-known liberal blogger did once confront someone at their home, he got called out for it -- by Keith Olbermann on national TV.
And that’s an important difference. Nobody is claiming that stupidity and irrationality are unique to the right wing. Unfortunately, leaders of the Republican party have, for the past twenty years, sought to use this irrationality as leverage in a manner the Democratic party has not.
Under the circumstances, Cantor's recent effort at shushing Democrats comes across as pre-emptive damage control -- the nervousness of someone who realizes that the mob he and his friends have been inciting all these years just might not be as controllable as he thought they were.