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A short history of US political violence, 2020-present

There’s been a marked shift and escalation in the types of threats and violence facing political leaders and officials since the start of the 2020 election season, much of it encouraged by Republican leaders who will not accept the fact that Donald Trump lost his reelection bid by a wide margin.

According to Capitol Police, more than 8,000 threats to members of Congress were reported in 2020, nearly 10 times the amount in 2016, prior to Trump coming into office, the Los Angeles Times reports.  Like the shooting of Democrat Congresswoman Gabby Gifford in 2011 or the 2017 attack on Republicans playing baseball–both of which done by men with mental health issues–these incidents are included without regard to the Party of the victim or the supposed motive of the attacker.  The list below shows threats of violence that went beyond mere threats.

2020:  Angry about various things they didn’t like, an anti-government militia planned to kidnap Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, hold a show trial, and then execute her.  Three men were recently convicted for their roles in the plot.

November 2020:  numerous threats against local elections officials throughout the country, including two Virginia men traveling to Philadelphia to disrupt the vote count being undertaken by local elections officials.

September 2020:  Then-candidate Marjorie Taylor then-Greene posts meme of her holding an assault weapon, with a message saying people should “go on offense” against The Squad.  Taylor has a history of making threatening comments about Democrats.

January 6, 2021:  You may have heard of this.  People threatened the lives of the Vice President, Speaker of the House, Senate Majority Leader and virtually everyone except a few score seditionist Congressmen.

May 28, 2022:  Ted Cruz is harassed while at a restaurant after Uvalde, Texas school shooting.  While it wasn’t a violent interaction, conservatives feel that this qualifies as “violence” because they need to whine.

June 8, 2022:  An armed mentally-ill man from California contacts police as he sits parked about a block from the home of Justice Brett Kavanagh, threatening to commit suicide.  Once in custody, he says he felt compelled to kill Kavanaugh, but then considered suicide.  He is currently charged, and the judge is likely going to order a psych exam.

July 15, 2022:  Perhaps one of the most threatened members of Congress, New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had been threatened with rape and death by January 6th domestic terrorists.   On this date, however, AOC was accosted on the steps of the Capitol by a minion of fellow member of Congress (and stand-in for the missing link) Marjorie Taylor Greene, another in a series of harassment undertaken and encouraged by conservative media personalities.

July 22, 2022:  A mentally disturbed veteran approaches Republican New York gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin at a campaign event.  The man, equipped with a short-bladed instrument worn on the knuckles, was brought under control by Zeldin and others in the crowd.  The veteran, who suffered from mental illness and chemical dependency, later told police he didn’t know who Zeldin was, let alone that he was a member of Congress, and that he thought the speaker had disrespected veterans, minimizing the likelihood that it was politically-targeted.  Zeldin was uninjured, and his attacker is undergoing treatment prior to a court hearing on his case.

July 17, 2022:  In a frightening encounter similar to the recent attack on Paul Pelosi, Washington Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal was stalked by an armed man who was lurking outside her home, screaming at her to “go back to India” and threatening to kill her.  The man reportedly fired a pellet through a window in the home, and when he was apprehended by police, he was armed with a .40 caliber handgun.

August 2022:  A Pennsylvania man was arrested after threatening to kill three staff members of Democratic California Congressman Eric Swalwell.  The man also said he would “beat the shit” out of Swalwell, and that he had amassed a cache of AR-15s and other assault weapons to carry out his plot.

October 28, 2022:   QAnon believer attacks Paul Pelosi in his California home, seeking to find Pelosi’s wife, Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

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