Mobs can turn violent

MOBS CAN TURN VIOLENT…. There aren’t a lot of details, but Roll Call reported yesterday on the far-right confrontations with lawmakers over health care reform, and raised the prospect of one Democrat being “physically assaulted” by one of the conservative activists.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (Va.), president of the freshman Democratic class, warned that right-wing groups are taking things to “a dangerous level” by manufacturing anger based on false information.

“When you look at the fervor of some of these people who are all being whipped up by the right-wing talking heads on Fox, to me, you’re crossing a line,” Connolly said. “They’re inciting people to riot with just total distortions of facts. They think we’re going to euthanize Grandma and the government is going to take over.” […]

Connolly said he spoke to at least one freshman Democrat who was physically assaulted at a local event. [emphasis added]

Now, I haven’t seen any reports as to who this Democratic lawmaker is, or whether the run-in was filmed or photographed. For that matter, we don’t know just how serious the confrontation was — there’s a qualitative difference between a shoulder-check in a hallway and taking a swing at someone — or whether it prompted a police report.

That said, if a teabagging mob is ever filmed getting violent with a member of Congress, it’s an immediate game-changer. Hanging a congressman in effigy is unacceptable. Carrying a sign with Nazi “SS” lettering is disgusting. But violence against a lawmaker is criminal.

As are death threats.

Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC) will not be hosting any town hall events this August — instead, he’s making himself available to constituents for one-on-one meetings about health care reform — and at least part of the reason is this: His offices have received threatening phone calls, including at least one direct threat against his life.

“We had no town hall events scheduled for the August recess anyway, but in light of everything that’s happened — we have received a threatening phone call in the D.C. office, there have been calls to the Raleigh office,” said Miller communications director LuAnn Canipe, in an interview with TPM. The threatening call in question happened earlier this week.

We’re well past the point of “spirited discourse.”