Guardians of the free Republics: Could threats spark violence?
More than 30 US governors have received subtly threatening letters from a group called Guardians of the free Republics. Investigators fear the broad call for removing top state officials could inspire others to act out violently.
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This week's threats against at least 30 governors are another example of antigovernment sentiments making waves in the United States in recent months.
As of Wednesday, governors – including Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican – had received letters demanding they leave office within three days or be forcibly removed, according to an internal intelligence note by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security, according to the Associated Press. Local newspapers have reported heightened security at several state capitols.
Investigators say they do not see threats of violence in the message sent by the Guardians of the free Republics, but they fear the broad call for removing top state officials could inspire others to act out violently.
Fear of words turning to violence has been a theme in national discourse since the healthcare-reform vote. Last week, several Democratic lawmakers said they were threatened or attacked over passage of healthcare reform. Tensions heightened as Republican leaders fought back against suggestions that they were somehow responsible.
The arrests this week of suspected members of the Hutaree militia in Michigan have also put law enforcement and many Americans on edge. Earlier this year, Joseph Stack drew attention to antigovernment sentiments when he crashed a plane into an IRS building in Austin, Texas.