Thursday, November 11, 2010

Someone's Listening

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.)


Kevin Davis said...

For someone who does new media consulting on a freelance basis, you never link to the stories in your posts!

(I kid, I kid!) :)

Matt Osborne said...

This would be the Allen West who lost his commission after threatening an innocent Iraqi with death and firing a pistol next to his head. This would be the Allen West whose biker-gang buddies intimidated Democratic campaign staff. After this, we should all take Allen West at his eliminationist word.

Alanna said...

in other news..."Students in Southern Florida HS's learned more in 4 hours of lockdown than in the last 3 years of school"

French Anonymous said...

I'm appalled. How come calling for murder or violence isn't an offence in the USA ?
That woman, Beck, all your wingnuts - they should be prosecuted ! If there were a fine for every calls for violence on grounds of color of skin/religion/sexual orientation/gender - wouldn't politics become more civilized in the USA - as in Europe post-1980s ?
This woman's irresponsible blabber has just disrupted the lives of thousands of children, and yet she can just walk free, saying it's in her freedom of speech to effectively call for terrorism ? How come she can tramp the lives and security of thousands - in effect destroying their liberties, their sacro-sanct freedom - and not be prosecuted ?
How many actual massacres will be needed to fine whoever calls for them ?
How will Americans convince the rest of the world that they have finally grown out of their rogue cowboy behavior - if they keep tolerating such levels of violence and civil insecurity in their own society ?

Chez said...

Yup, Matt. That Allen West.

NoxiousNan said...

LOLz Alanna!

Alas, it's highly unlikely. My kid was locked down due to a someone flailing a gun, and you have forgotten one little thing - the cell phone. Between parents and kids trying to communicate w/each other and kids excitedly calling everyone they knew for minute by minute accounts, no learning was possible. (But, to the benefit of my kid, he finally convinced me on someone else's phone that it wouldn't be such a bad idea for him to have one.)