In the midst of a national discussion over the country’s political tone, a California man has been arrested for threatening the life of Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), apparently because McDermott opposed an extension of Bush tax cuts for wealthy Americans. Charles Turner Habermann of Palm Springs, CA was charged with threatening a federal official after he left disturbing voice mails at McDermott’s office on December 9:
In the first call, Habermann said he’d seen McDermott on television and was enraged by his comments opposing tax cuts for the rich.
“He’s a piece of human filth. He’s a liar, he’s a communist, he’s a piece of [expletive] garbage,” Habermann said in the recorded message, according to the criminal complaint. Habermann said George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other U.S. founding fathers would “blow his [McDermott's] brains out” if they met him.
Habermann then threatened to kill McDermott as well as his friends and family, the complaint says. In a second call, Habermann said he had “a lot of money” and “a lot of friends” and that McDermott was “going down.”
Yesterday, a Colorado man was arrested for threatening to shoot aides for Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO). John Troy Davis, 44, was apparently upset over his Social Security benefits and told staffers on the phone that “I’m just going to come down there and shoot you all.” According to police, Davis also threatened to set fire to the office and stated that he “may go to terrorism.” Threats against members of Congress have increased 300 percent in the first few months of 2010, and 400 percent against the White House since January 2009. The U.S. Marshals Service reports that “inappropriate communications” directed at the judiciary, U.S. attorneys and other court officers have risen from 1,111 in 2006 to 1390 in 2009.