Wisconsin Records Reveal That Crazy People Are Crazy

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 17 2011 12:15 PM

Wisconsin Records Reveal That Crazy People Are Crazy

There's something oddly reassuring in the Journal Sentinel's accounting of the threats made to Wisconsin lawmakers during the Budget Repair Bill fight.

Of the 78 actions made public, about 30 were directed at Democrats, a few less at Walker and other Republicans, with the balance made up of vague or implied threats against no specific target, or concerns over demonstrators.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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That's almost all of the matters that were investigated -- 90 in all. Obviously, even one threat is too many threats over something that was being debated in the legislature just fine, thank you very much. But most of the threats seem to have come from kooks who weren't in the position to do anything. Such as:

A man left a voice mail at the Madison School Board indicating he was coming to the Capitol on Friday "and no one better mess with me or else."

The caller was well-known to Madison police as a former Dane County worker fired for sending inappropriate emails to local officials and known to have guns and mental health issues.

And:

A Burbank, Calif., resident who sent a long email rant offering a $50,000 bounty for Walker was interviewed by federal agents who determined he was mentally challenged and not a true threat.

It was a long time ago -- four months -- but you probably remember when the Jared Loughner rampage was cited as proof that "harsh political rhetoric" was making politics more violent and crazy. Well, no. Crazy people are ever looking for excuses to fly their pennants.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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