Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Spittle flecked and dangerous

The Secret Service is so overwhelmed by threats against the president and his family that the agency may have to stop investigating financial crimes, according to a report in the Boston Globe.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says that antigovernment militias and white supremacist groups have strengthened in recent years, responding to an increasingly diverse population and what they see as an expanding government.

A center study released in August found a nearly 35 percent growth in racially based domestic hate groups since 2000 - from 602 to 926. The center concluded that opposition to Obama’s election has only increased the phenomenon.

“A key difference this time is that the federal government - the entity that almost the entire radical right views as its primary enemy - is headed by a black man,’’ the report said. “One result has been a remarkable rash of domestic terror incidents since the presidential campaign, most of them related to anger over the election of Barack Obama.’’

Threatening language has also found its way into talk radio broadcasts and social networking websites, raising fears that individuals not normally considered threats to the president could be incited to violence.

For example, the Secret Service in recent months has investigated a poll posted on Facebook about whether Obama should be killed. It has interviewed a Florida radio talk show host after a caller mentioned ammunition, target practice, and the president, and federal officials have raised concerns about several instances in which protesters carrying weapons showed up at Obama events, including a man at an August town hall in New Hampshire.

I'm sure Meghan McArdle and other libertarians will find this phenomenon encouraging since now we'll be able to identify whom we need to argue with calmly at presidential appearances.

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