Data Point: Sources of Violent Political Rhetoric in Recent Years

By James Fallows

The Committee Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has prepared a compendium of sources of "violent" or "insurrectionist" political rhetoric in the past two and a half years. It is here. Let's stipulate that there could have been a tilt, conscious or unconscious, in selection of items for the list. Still, it is stunning in its totality. It is also hard to imagine coming up with a comparable list from "the other side."

One item (and photo) from a list that is many screenfuls long:

WILLIAM KOSTRIC.jpg>>August 11, 2009--William Kostric is filmed openly carrying a handgun outside of President Obama's health care reform town hall meeting in New Hampshire. Kostric holds a sign that reads, "IT IS TIME TO WATER THE TREE OF LIBERTY!" a reference to the following Thomas Jefferson quote: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants."<<

Please review this as a basic background document on considering the possibility that a tone of extremist rhetoric could be related to outbursts of political violence -- or, more constructively, whether one response to this tragedy should be deliberate cooling down of political talk.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/01/data-point-sources-of-violent-political-rhetoric-in-recent-years/69262/