March 22nd, 2010
07:39 PM ET
10 years ago

Reports emerge of vandalism at Democratic offices

The Tucson office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was vandalized Monday.

The Tucson office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was vandalized Monday.

(CNN) - Democratic offices in at least three states have reported instances of vandalism that party members say possibly were tied to Sunday's historic vote on health care reform.

Early Monday morning, a glass panel at the Tucson office of U.S. Rep. Gabrille Giffords, D-Arizona, was shattered, spokesman C.J. Karamargin told CNN. It wasn't clear how the window was shattered, but visitors have to go through the a gated courtyard to enter the office, and staffers suspect someone may have shot a pellet gun at the glass, he said.

Nothing was taken from the congresswoman's office, Karamargin said.

Staffers had stayed late at the office the night before because of the health care vote, but had left before the incident, he added. The office has never experience anything like it since Giffords' staff occupied the office in January 2007, Karamargin said, adding that staffers do believe the incident was linked to the health care vote in Washington.

In upstate New York, two similar incidents were also reported before Sunday night's vote, according to CNN affiliate WHEC. A brick was thrown through the window of the Monroe County Democratic Committee headquarters in Rochester, and another was tossed through a window of Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter's office in Niagara Falls early Friday.

WHEC reported that a note attached to the brick in the Monroe County office read "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice" - a quote delivered in an acceptance speech by Republican president candidate Barry
Goldwater at the 1964 GOP convention.

Nobody was injured in either incident in New York.

Slaughter told WHEC that her offices have received threatening phone calls recently.

Speaking on the House floor Sunday, Slaughter referred to damage at her office, saying, "The anger isn't just contained outside the Capitol. Last week someone hurled a brick through the window of my district office in the dark of night. We must step back to remind ourselves of why we are here."

The House of Representatives on Sunday passed the sweeping $875 billion health care reform bill in a 219-212 vote. All 178 Republicans opposed it, along with 34 Democrats. Both Giffords and Slaughter supported the measure, though authorities investigating the incidents have not officially confirmed the link to the health care vote.

Another incident was reported earlier in the weekend by the Sedgwick County Democratic Party in Kansas. Party Executive Director Lyndsey Stauble told CNN that a brick with anti-Obama and anti-health care messages was thrown at the headquarters sometime late Friday or early Saturday. Nothing was taken, and nobody was injured, she said, adding that a bakery next door called police.

Stauble mentioned that a recent post on a blog encouraged people to throw bricks at local Democratic offices nationwide.

The Alabama-based blog, called "Sipsey Street Irregulars," says it has launched a so-called "window war" against Democrats and has kept a tally of the recent incidents of damage, including the ones in New York and Kansas.

Blogger Michael B. Vanderboegh of Pinson, Alabama, told CNN Monday that in a Friday blog - which he says was posted after the incident at Slaughter's office - he called for people to break windows at Democratic headquarters at the city and county level. He said he didn't call for the damages to congressional offices because, "I didn't want to be responsible for anybody breaking a federal law."

However, "I can understand how someone can be frustrated enough to throw a brick through a congresswoman's window," Vanderboegh said.

He said he feels the health care bill is "unconstitutional and tyrannical."

"My answer is violence, by getting their attention," he said, adding, "If we can get across to the other side, that they are within inches of provoking a civil war in this country, then that's a good thing."

Updated 9:11 p.m.

Filed under: Health care
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Jay

    This is what politics from the right wing has devolved to - 3rd world fear-mongering tactics that shadow the Nazi brown shirts vandalizing the stores and businesses of Jews on "Kristalnacht". This needs to be stopped and Republicans need to lead the way, not with half-assed efforts and empty words, but full-blown denounceation and condemation. Of course, the GOP won't do that. They are, after all, the party of "NO" to anything that smacks of decency and moral character.

    March 22, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  2. Right Leaning Independent

    I believe that the majority of Americans are riled up!

    March 22, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  3. Tom C

    Oh yeah, the conservative christain war hawks have now lost their temper and resorting to what they know best, violence, fear and physical threats.

    March 22, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  4. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Wow you right-wing lunatics are such sore losers. We live in a Democracy and you lost. Get over it.

    March 22, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  5. I am the Great and Omnipotent Wizard of Rush and I Say . . .

    Hmmm . . . I wonder who may have empowered these thugs . . . maybe Glen Beckistan, but not me, no . . . I wouldn't put these ideas in anyones head (Obama-fail, Obama – marxist, Obama – taking away your liberty- Obama- threat to America), no, not little old me.

    March 22, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  6. GI Joe

    As much as Palin and Bachmann have riled up the hate and fear, this is no surprise. I fear for the life of our Democrats in Office, and I fear for myself sometimes because I voted for President Obama and supported him in the Health Care push.

    I think we have terrorists in the United States now, and they may be called Teabaggers, or they may label themselves CONservatives of republiKKKans.

    March 22, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  7. Chad from Tampa

    This is the first sign of what will come this summer. Wait till half of the doctors retire. Thank god for the 2nd ammendment...for now.

    March 22, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  8. Brandon

    Nice. I know that ensuring 30 million more of our fellow Americans have access to basic health care really drives me to insanity too. And the fact that people can't suddenly lose their health coverage the minute they get sick anymore makes my freedoms feel absolutely trampled.

    Now, where'd I put that brick...

    March 22, 2010 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  9. Texas Granny

    This is pathetic. Does this scream "sore loser" or "sour grapes" or "juvenile"... or just "pathetic"? I am embarrassed that fellow human beings would act like this. Whether you agree with this legislation or not, you still need to act like civil human beings. This kind of behavior is truly pathetic.

    March 22, 2010 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  10. Lou from CT

    There are more sensible ways voters and citizens can express their disdain with a decision their representative makes. Resorting to violence and destruction is not the way.

    March 22, 2010 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  11. T'SAH from Virginia

    No Comment – the story speaks for itself!!!

    March 22, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  12. sue

    Big surprise! Those wonderful "christian" republicans are showing there true colors. Violence, racist remarks, spitting, lying etc. SHAME on you!

    March 22, 2010 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  13. Eli

    "Those who would trade an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither". -Benjamin Franklin-

    March 22, 2010 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  14. southern cousin

    The will of the majority of the American people was trounced by a corrupt administration and congress. American people are upset and angry, especially those of us who actually work and pay taxes and will be robbed. There will be violence and I am afraid, even when Obozo and the liberal crooks are gone, it will not stop. The libs started class warfare as an election strategy, now we are seing the results.

    March 22, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  15. Eddie B.

    Once again the GOP Tea Baggers are showing there thug like behavior. It reminds me of some of the hatred during the civil rights movement. These are lawless thugs.

    March 22, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  16. Michelle

    I live in Rochester and whoever is messing with Slaughter is a coward! They have just prompted me to dig for my Ted Kennedy and Obama buttons! I will wear them proud and hand more out to people! You just woke up a sleeping support grows stronger for Democrats when punks act uncivil! These dumb acts have just caused me to pull out my check book and donate a large sum to the Democratic committee! Thank you for the motivation!

    March 22, 2010 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  17. j

    This type of behavior is totally uncalled for. This type of criminal activity is akin to terrorism.

    March 22, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  18. Perusing-through


    We don't have to guess who is behind the violence. It is the same racist Tea Party trash that hurled 'N-word' epithets and spat at Democratic House Members. It is the same type of violent racist that crash planes into the IRS building.

    Round 'em up and throw them in jail.

    March 22, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  19. Tim

    I can't believe this response from the republicans, I hope everyone who acts in this manner is rounded up, and incarcerated. We are supposed to be a nation of laws, but these people are acting like terrorists. What's next, suicide bombers?
    Grow up!

    March 22, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  20. John

    I know that many hold strong views about the health care bill. But we should be able to debate issues in this country without racial slurs, spitting on people and throwing bricks through windows of the opposition. The atmosphere is starting to resemble Nazi Germany. Was this a mini-kristalnach? It is time for the good people on both sides of the issue to call for moderation. Moderation in the defense of democracy is no vice either.

    March 22, 2010 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  21. Independent

    These crazy people are totally out control but what else can we expect when they are being manipulated by individuals taking advantage of the ignorance of many of the people in these groups. I followed yesterday the coverage of the voting, to be fair I was switching between channels and what I saw is FOX and all the Republicans manipulating information, twisting facts and promoting fear. When these Tea Parties are goint to getter really, Republicans are using them for their political game and gain..people wake up and smell the coffee you should known better than that..None of these politicians will come to help you if one day you are sick with no health insurance.

    March 22, 2010 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  22. Pragmatic

    Thousands of conservative "tea party" activists had massed on the south side of the Capitol, pushing to within about 50 feet of the building. Some Democrats worried aloud about the risk of violence, and police tried to keep the crowd away from the building.

    But rather than calm the demonstrators, Republican congressmen whipped the masses into a frenzy. There on the House balcony, the GOP lawmakers' legislative dissent and the tea-party protest merged into one. Some lawmakers waved handwritten signs and led the crowd in chants of "Kill the bill."

    Beware of whipping up the mob: republicans will reap the whirlwind – and saying "sorry – mistakes were made" will ring very hollow.

    March 22, 2010 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  23. Old White Virginia Female

    I find it so depressing that the people who do not support health care reform choose to break the law in order to register their lack of support. What precisely would change anything by throwing a brick through a window? It is so teenager-ish it is disgusting. Unlike many, many politicians, President Obama has lived up to his campaign promise and gotten health care reform passed. The majority of Americans elected this man and for many of them it was on the basis of just such a promise. Why can those people who disagree with these policies not do so through the ballot box instead of throwing bricks? This is a democracy. You have free and fair elections, most of the time, and that is how citizens can participate in policy making in this country. These rabid outbursts are making me believe that our country is sinking below Third World countries all over the planet. The man who yelled out "baby killer" on the floor of the House is white headed and certainly not a teenager. Does no one have control over their behavior anymore? I guess if he can behave like that in the House of Representatives, the People's House, why can't someone on the street break the law by throwing a brick through a Congressman's window? This is reminding me of Yates "Second Coming."

    March 22, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  24. John

    I guess we see again what the Republicans have become.

    March 22, 2010 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  25. Tammy

    Although I do not favor the violent/destructive behavior of these individuals involved, I understand the frustration. The President and Congress is supposed to SUPPORT the people of the United States of America and the majority have let it be known that we are AGAINST this bill. We have obviously NOT been heard and some may feel it needs to be taken to the next level. Unfortunately, I feel that we will continue to see increased protests against the government due to the way this country is being run. People will be heard one way or another. I am glad that nobody was hurt which I think shows that violence is not the intention, being listened to is.

    March 22, 2010 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
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