With all of the vitriol that’s been hurled at President Bush virtually from the moment of his 2000 nomination as the Republican candidate for president, I’ve been afraid of something like this.
The Secret Service clamped down on midtown last night to protect President Bush from a possible assassin armed with a hunting rifle.
Lawrence Ward, 59, left his upstate New York home Wednesday with a .30-30 lever-action hunting rifle in the trunk of his car, telling a neighbor, "I'm not coming back."
Inside his house in Bainbridge was a picture of Bush with the words "Dead Man" spray-painted near it, law enforcement authorities said.
Bush was in town for a fund-raiser at the Sheraton New York before speaking today at the UN General Assembly.And this:
Daniel Avila, 25, [a Thousand Oaks, CA City Council candidate] admitted Wednesday that he handed out fliers at the city's Oktoberfest celebration stating, "President George W. Bush Deserves to Be Assassinated." The handbill also called for a sex attack on the president's twin daughters.
Avila, who didn't attend the Tuesday night council session, wouldn't discuss his motives.
"I don't want to give any clue as to whether I'm serious or whether I'm playing around," he said. "I just think people need to allow something they don't like in their society to exist. In general that's what democracy is all about."
Yep. Assassination and rape are right up there with freedom of speech. (Do I have to label my sarcasm?)
My fear hasn’t been in the mode of “Oh, my God! What is something happens to the president???!!!” The mood is more in the mode of accepting reality, coupled with observing—with a certain sense of incredulity—the amount of hatred exhibited for the man, seemingly disproportionate to anything he has done. It was only a matter of time before crazies like these bubbled to the surface.
Especially (and ironically) since 9/11, the expressions of revulsion have reached incomprehensible levels. Not even President Clinton had the type of screaming, frothing detractors that this President Bush has. And certainly, no family member of either of President Clinton’s opposing candidates went to another country to influence its citizens to turn out their leader at the polls for being allied with any Clinton-lead aims. (Disclaimer: I'm not equating Diana Kerry's actions with those of Ward and Avila. It's mentioned, however, to point to the extremes to which President Bush's adversaries--political and otherwise--will go. With the CBS document scandal in play, I'd call the whole thing a "left wing conspiracy," but it's been too incompetently executed to dignify it with that epithet.)
As much as President Clinton was/is loathed by many on the right, whenever he put forth an agenda with which Republicans could agree, they did so, for the most part, and put partisanship aside. (Operation Desert Fox springs to mind, however ineffective it turned out to be.) Aside from a few principled Democrats like Ed Koch and Zell Miller, however, President Bush gets no such benefit.
Righty bloggers joke about the Charles Krauthammer-coined “Bush Derangement Syndrome,” but the laughter is of the uneasy variety. It goes without saying that America has a long history of producing lunatics who would and have assassinated leaders (and sometimes mere recording artists) with which they violently disagree. (Disclaimer: sometimes they do it just because the voices told them to. Speculate among yourselves as to whom the voices belong.)
Should the president be victorious in his re-election bid, I suspect that the whack-jobs will be plotting anew. Terror from without and within. This is some world we live in, no?