Thursday, November 11, 2010
There's something going on in South Florida right now that might be worth paying close attention to.
Stop me if this sounds familiar: Yesterday, every public school in Broward County -- all 300+ of them -- were locked down for most of the day after a "credible threat" was apparently made against them by someone who called in to a local radio show. Turns out that radio show belonged to Joyce Kaufman -- a conservative talk show host who, last July 4th, took to the mic to say that "if ballots don't work, bullets will," and who recently ranted that America is in danger of "losing our culture" to illegal immigrants.
The latest is that the police have the suspect in custody who reportedly made the threat -- according to his wife, his claim was that he was going to shoot up a school or a government building -- and that he's being anything but cooperative.
On the surface, this reads like yet another case of some far-right firebrand with a microphone urging revolution and, not surprisingly, finding that somebody in her audience is willing to take her up on it. We've seen it before -- we know that we will absolutely see it again. But here's the twist: Joyce Kaufman was recently picked to be the Chief of Staff for incoming Florida Republican Congressman and Tea Party darling Allen West (they're pictured above). She was going to Washington, DC with him.
I say was because, as this story began breaking just a couple of hours ago, Kaufman immediately backed out and said that she won't be taking the job.
Let me go back to the beginning. Every kid who goes to a public school in Broward County, Florida had to be locked inside his or her classroom yesterday. For hours. Because one wingnut psychopath may have promised violence at the irresponsible and incendiary goading of a conservative talk show host.
More to come.
(Update 4:26PM: Here's the official write-up from the AP: MIAMI (AP) — A conservative radio talk show host tapped to be chief of staff for incoming U.S. Rep. Allen West is stepping down from her congressional job a day after 300 Florida schools were locked down when a threat was linked to her show. Joyce Kaufman announced Thursday that she would not be West's aide. Kaufman said on her show that she wants to avoid any repercussions to the Florida Republican, but she didn't elaborate and hasn't returned telephone messages. Kaufman has drawn fire for some of her comments. At a recent tea party rally, she told the crowd that if "ballots don't work, bullets will." Police have said the message to Kaufman from the suspect mentioned gun rights but they have refused to release its contents.)