Police in Arlington, MA this week seized a “large amount” of weapons and ammunition from local businessman Travis Corcoran after he wrote a blog post threatening U.S. lawmakers in the wake of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). In a post on his blog (which has since been removed) titled “1 down and 534 to go” — 1 referring to Giffords and 534 referring to the rest of the House of Representatives and the Senate — Corcoran applauded the shooting of Giffords and justified the assassination of lawmakers because he argued the federal government has grown far beyond its constitutional limits. “It is absolutely, absolutely unacceptable to shoot indiscriminately. Target only politicians and their staff and leave regular citizens alone,” he wrote in the post.
“We certainly take this as a credible threat,” Arlington police Captain Robert Bongiorno told reporters, adding that “multiple federal law enforcement agencies” were involved. Authorities also suspended Corcoran’s gun license, though he is currently not facing any charges.
Corcoran calls himself “an anarcho-capitalist” and while his blog has been taken down, based on his Twitter page, he appears to hold views similar to those of many in the anti-government libertarian wing of the conservative movement, like many tea party activists. Anarcho-capitalism is a radical subset of libertarianism, and is often referred to as “libertarian-anarchy.” For example, echoing calls from many on the right, Corcoran tweeted, “it is unconstitutional for the Feds to even run a department of education.”
In a Twitter exchange with reporter Laura Leslie, Corcoran lays out a conventional anti-government philosophy, and explains in depth why he views assassination as legitimate:
“I assert that the US federal gov has grown unconstitutionally large, and the legislature exceeds the powers delegated to it by the people,” Corcoran wrote. “As per the Declaration of Indep, when a gov becomes destructive those ends, it may be abolished,” he continued, “and the most moral approach is that which spares the maximum number of lives. Thus, assasination is a legitimate tool.”
He goes on to further justify assassination as “morally legitimate,” citing “Catholic Just War doctrine” among other theories, and explains, “It’s illegal, yes, but it’s not un-American. America was founded on the idea of shooting gov officials. Lexington Concord!” In another tweet, he writes, “I disagree with murder. …but shooting politicians who pass illegitimate, unconstitutional laws is not murder.” And in case there’s any doubt about his sincery, he writes, “Nope, it’s not a joke. I’m 100% serious.”
He also appears to be a fan of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), re-tweeting a positive message about him in May: “Lefties: Before you start fringe-baiting Rand Paul, note that he’s better on civil liberties than most Democratic senators. And Obama.” He seems to dislike liberals, writing, “You so-called liberals make me laugh – you’re all for free speech until someone disagrees, then it’s ‘report him!'” He also accuses the Daily Kos of “Stalinism.”