Democratic offices vandalized across the country
By JUDY L. THOMAS
The Kansas City Star
Authorities in Wichita and some other cities across the country are investigating vandalism against Democratic offices, apparently in response to health care reform.
And on Monday, a former Alabama militia leader took credit for instigating the actions.
Mike Vanderboegh of Pinson, Ala., former leader of the Alabama Constitutional Militia, put out a call on Friday for modern “Sons of Liberty” to break the windows of Democratic Party offices nationwide in opposition to health care reform. Since then, vandals have struck several offices, including the Sedgwick County Democratic Party headquarters in Wichita.
“There’s glass everywhere,” said Lyndsay Stauble, executive director of the Sedgwick County Democratic Party. “A brick took out the whole floor-to-ceiling window and put a gouge in my desk.”
Stauble said the brick, hurled through the window between Friday night and Saturday morning, had “some anti-Obama rhetoric” written on it.
Vandals also smashed the front door and a window at Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ office in Tucson early Monday, hours after the Arizona Democrat voted for the health care reform package.
Over the weekend, a brick shattered glass doors at the Monroe County Democratic Committee headquarters in Rochester, N.Y.
Attached to the brick was a note that said, “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice” — a quote from Barry Goldwater’s 1964 acceptance speech as the Republican presidential candidate.
And on Friday, a brick broke a window at Rep. Louise Slaughter’s district office in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Slaughter, a Democrat, was a vocal supporter of the health care reform bill passed by the House on Sunday.
Tyler Longpine, spokesman for the Kansas Democratic Party, called the incidents troubling.
“It’s kind of an alarming context,” he said. “We haven’t had any trouble here, but we’re fortunate enough to be on the seventh floor of an office building in Topeka.”
However, he added, “Most of our county offices are storefronts, which are a little bit more vulnerable to that kind of intimidation.”
Vanderboegh posted the call for action Friday on his blog, “Sipsey Street Irregulars.” Referring to the health care reform bill as “Nancy Pelosi’s Intolerable Act,” he told followers to send a message to Democrats.
“We can break their windows,” he said. “Break them NOW. And if we do a proper job, if we break the windows of hundreds, thousands, of Democrat party headquarters across this country, we might just wake up enough of them to make defending ourselves at the muzzle of a rifle unnecessary.”
Vanderboegh told The Kansas City Star that the action was meant to “get everyone’s attention.”
“What I was trying to get across was that people do not understand how on the edge of civil conflict this country is,” he said.
Those who monitor right-wing extremist groups said they weren’t surprised to hear of the vandalism.
“Passage of health care reform will elicit a variety of responses from its opponents,” said Leonard Zeskind, author of the 2009 book “Blood and Politics.”
“We can expect militia types like Vanderboegh to become even more far-fetched and violent.”
To reach Judy L. Thomas, call 816-234-4334 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on Mon, Mar. 22, 2010 10:45 PM
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Window War: Wichita Update.
My old friend Judy Thomas at the Kansas City Star writes up the latest contretemps.