A Nov. 1 Roanoke Times piece “Roanoke Democratic Committee statement calls for need of fair elections” emphasizes, yes, the need for fair elections. All reasonable people agree that in elections, “it should be easy to vote but hard to cheat.” However, the article quoted Roanoke City Democrat Chair Mark Lazar who expressed much concern about election-related violence. To his credit, the Roanoke Times writer asked if Lazar had any specific threats or warnings, to which Lazar replied no, but he blamed the toxic national environment as one that could foster violence.
A Nov. 4 Washington Post article claims “Nearly 9 in 10 Americans (88 percent) are concerned that political divisions have intensified to the point that there’s an increased risk of politically motivated violence in the United States, including over 6 in 10 who are ‘very concerned.’”
This is America, and political violence should be alarming and unacceptable. However, anyone who has been paying attention has noticed that political violence has been growing in the US, just as our culture has become more brutal overall.
As we assess violence, we need to realize some people are mentally or emotionally-disturbed, even deranged. Clearly, these people need intensive help. However, much of the chaos has been fueled by extreme statements from our political and media leaders, people who have been entrusted with much influence.
This list is not exhaustive, but the timeline should indicate that the frequency of political violence is increasing.
June 14, 2017: A crazed 66-year-old from Ohio, James Hodgkinson, traveled to Washington with the aim of killing Republican congressmen. He went to a ball-field where some Congressmen were practicing for an annual game for charity, and upon learning which team were the Republicans, opened fire and injured five people, including GOP Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA). Hodgkinson may have been deranged, but he had been involved in the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, wrote anti-Trump hate epistles online, and was a self-proclaimed fan of Sen. Bernie Sanders. Sanders, to his credit, unconditionally condemned the violence. This was left-wing violence. The Roanoke Star reported on it here.
November 2017: US Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), an ophthalmologist who survived the June 14 baseball shooting and provided medical aid that day was attacked by a crazed neighbor just five months later who was a socialist and Democrat. The neighbor, Rene Boucher, attacked Paul from behind while the senator was mowing his lawn, breaking his ribs. Paul required months of medical attention and therapy to recover. Another example of left-wing violence.
June 23, 2018: Opposing President Trump’s actions to maintain a secure national border, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) incited an angry crowd to find and intimidate any administration officials they happen to see in public. Waters excoriated: “Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd, and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.” Her remarks did not call for violence per se, but they seemed to give a greenlight to mob rule, and the step from mob rule to violence is a short one.
March 4, 2020: While the US Supreme Court was hearing oral arguments about an abortion-related case, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) led a pro-abortion protest on the Supreme Court steps. Taking verbal aim at two of the newest members of the high court, Schumer unleashed a tirade that included this veiled threat: “I want to tell you Gorsuch. I want to tell you Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
Later, when faced with a strong backlash, Schumer tried to backpedal and say he was referring to “paying a political price,” but how can any Supreme Court Justice who is appointed for life and never has to face the voters going to “pay a political price”? A senator intimidating judges in that way was unprecedented.
Summer 2020: There were over 500 protests across the nation, with innocent people killed and homes, cars and businesses burned. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times calling on National Guard troops to be dispatched to restore order and stop the mayhem. The result? Woke employees at the NYT managed to get the editor who allowed that story to run to be forced out. Violent protestors besieged the federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon for months and aimed lasers at the eyes of police in hopes of blinding them. The leftist groups BLM and Antifa spearheaded most of the violence.
Summarizing the lunacy and one-sidedness of the media coverage of that summer was the CNN image of Kenosha, Wisconsin on fire while the chyron read “Fiery but Mostly Peaceful Protests After Police Shooting.”
Closer to home, as reported here, Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea Sr. (D) was on the state parole board that broke state law and protocols to release convicted murderers before their sentences were fulfilled or without notifying the victims’ families. Honoring a campaign promise, Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) promptly fired Lea and the rest of the parole board upon taking office in January 2021. This parole board scandal is still unresolved and the attorney general’s office is continuing its investigation.
January 6, 2021: Much has been written about that unfortunate date, but it was essentially a mob of angry Trump supporters who went into the Capitol building and took selfies or put their feet on desks. The only person killed that day was a military vet, Ashli Babbitt, who was shot by a police officer. Widespread reports claimed a protestor killed a police officer with a fire extinguisher, but those reports were later proven to be false. Time and space do not allow us to go into detail here, but there are still many unanswered questions from that ugly day. Who were the folks egging on the protestors to go into the Capitol, but themselves have never been arrested? Why were calls to beef up security before January 6 denied? Who opened from the inside the 20,000-pound, 17-foot-high Columbus Doors on the East Portico of the Capitol?
Why has that one regrettable afternoon caused by some misguided Trump supporters been branded an “insurrection” and “worse than 9/11,” while so much of the left-wing violence gets a pass?
May 2, 2022: Politico leaked a US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) draft that indicated a majority of justices were considering overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and again returning the abortion issue to the states and their voters. Because only a tiny number of people have access to such top-secret drafts, it was probably leaked by law clerk. That leak represented an historic breach of trust inside the Supreme Court and as Justice Samuel Alito said in an October 2022 speech to the Heritage Foundation, it made the justices “targets for assassination.” Six months later, no one has been brought to justice for that breach and most of the media is strangely silent.
Alito explained: “The leak also made those of us who were thought to be in the majority and supportive of overruling Roe and Casey targets for assassination because it gave people a rational reason to think they could prevent that from happening by killing one of us.”
June 8, 2022: As reported here, a deranged 26-year-old Californian, seemingly egged on by the leftwing anger, traveled across the country and was arrested outside the Maryland home of SCOTUS Justice Brett Kavanaugh and claimed he was seeking to assassinate the justice.
June 24, 2022: SCOTUS overturned the 1973-era Roe v. Wade decision. For Democrats who often lament “the end of democracy,” SCOTUS’ decision was an act of democracy. They returned the abortion issue to the 50 states and their voters, as had been the case pre-1973, instead of in the hands of nine unelected judges.
June 25, 2022: Closer to home, in the first attack in the nation following the Supreme Court’s historic June 24 ruling, vandals assaulted the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center in Lynchburg. As reported here, there have been some 135 attacks on pro-life organizations and people between June and September 2022, 22 times more than attacks on abortion advocates. Still, to date, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has prosecuted no one connected to those assaults.
Summer 2022: Crazed protestors targeted the homes of some Supreme Court justices and set up a bounty system where they could report such a justice out in public and quickly summon an angry crowd to intimidate them. Despite such protests outside homes being illegal, Biden’s DOJ turned a blind eye and did nothing. President Biden did issue a written statement condemning the protests but never spoke to the issue himself.
July 21, 2022: Congressman and NY gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin (R) was attacked by an assailant with an unknown weapon while giving a stump speech. Zeldin was uninjured and managed to finish his address.
October 28, 2022: In a bizarre spectacle where much still remains unknown, David DePape attacked Paul Pelosi, the 82-year-old husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). All reasonable people decry that attack, but maybe because the Democrats sense a looming shellacking on November 8, many tried to blame the attack on President Trump and his supporters. However, DePape is an illegal alien from Canada who had long been involved in a nudist colony in the liberal hotbed of Berkeley, California. Simply put, the psychotic homeless addict hardly fits the profile of the average MAGA supporter.
November 2, 2022: Retired General and GOP senatorial candidate Don Bolduc missed being struck by a protestor right before a debate with his Democrat rival for the New Hampshire seat.
Closer to home, the Star City has been blessed to avoid political violence, but gun violence on the streets has been spiraling out of control. Democrats nationwide called for “defunding the police” and Roanoke has had a Democrat majority on city council, with no Republicans present since 2004. As reported here, councilmember Joe Cobb heads the Gun Violence Prevention Committee, but tried to tap the state’s $500,000 gun violence prevention grant to pay for a lavish dinner for 17 featuring steak, swordfish, trout, and other delicacies. How is that supposed to be a legitimate use of taxpayer funds?
I welcome Lazar condemning violence, but also encourage him to urge his party to stop pouring gas on the fire and stirring up wrath and demonizing those who disagree with them. Until that day, hearing Dems warn against violence feels like seeing a 300 lb. man condemn obesity or the town drunk condemning Demon Rum.