The House Sergeant of Arms announced that Members of Congress would receive up to $10,000 to upgrade their home security among fears of normalized political violence.
In addition to the funding, each lawmaker can receive $150 monthly for maintenance and monitoring services.
Some of the equipment that the funding can cover includes cameras, exterior lighting, motion sensors, and enhanced locks. Some lawmakers applaud this decision; others say the support is not enough.
With crime rates skyrocketing across the country, inflation crippling families, and various social and political issues threatening to evolve from peaceful protests to violent riots, the recent decision begs the question: Why the increase in violence?
House Members Will Be Able To Receive Up to $10,000 for Home Security as Threats Against Lawmakers Escalate;
Threats against all Americans “ESCALATING”
“BIDENS AMERICA” No clue. No plan. No Hope. No police.
— Conservative American (@honor_country) July 26, 2022
Public Service May Require Hazard Pay At This Rate
Attacks and threats against public servants and lawmakers have increased dramatically over the last year. Just recently, a man attacked New York congressman and Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin with a sharp object attached to a keychain.
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Two weeks before Mr. Zeldin’s attack, a man was arrested outside the home of the Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Pramila Jayapal. The man allegedly yelled threats at Ms. Jayapal, including threatening to kill her.
Perhaps the most alarming overture of violence this summer was when a California man traveled to Maryland with the intent to assassinate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh over abortion.
Capitol Police reported in 2021 that there were 9,625 threats made against Members of Congress, compared to 3,939 in 2017. However, it’s not just big-name public servants receiving threats.
According to a Brennan Center poll, one in six election officials have received threats. So what could be behind this dramatic increase in violent overtures toward public servants?
A Culture of Acceptance
It was once universally believed, at least in respectable circles, that violence was never the answer and that peaceful protest and civic discourse were how we best sort out our differences. But unfortunately, the sad reality is that it appears to be changing.
Researchers at the University of California, Davis found that one in five U.S. adults say political violence is justified, at least in some circumstances. It’s hard to imagine that there is ever a circumstance that justifies violence against others.
Some argue that the fault in this evolution of violent acceptance lies at the feet of the Republican Party. For example, Rachel Kleinfeld, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said:
“We see justifications for violence that are similar on the left and right. But we see incidents of violence that are vastly higher on the right and that has to do with all of the normalization of violence from leaders on the right.”
Now, that doesn’t seem right if my memory serves me correctly. So let’s take a closer look at some of the reactions by those in the Democratic Party.
WTF?! So hard-working taxpayer dollars are now going to go for special security systems for Congress members?
— Sandy Atkinson (@sandya418) July 30, 2022
Encouraging Illegal Behavior and Violence
The murder of George Floyd sparked outrage across the country that unfortunately boiled into violent riots in major cities. Then-candidate and now Vice President Kamala Harris commented on the Black Lives Matter riots with the following:
“Nothing that we have achieved that has been about progress, in particular around civil rights, has come without a fight, and so I always am going to interpret these protests as an essential component of evolution in our country…”
Not one to be left out, Representative Maxine Waters told protesters that in the event former police officer Derek Chauvin was to get acquitted for the murder of George Floyd, to “get more confrontational.” Ms. Harris and Ms. Waters didn’t spend much time decrying the mass violence and destruction going on across the country. It sure sounds like they were excusing it, at the very least.
And we can’t forget the leader of the free world. Then Press Secretary Jen Psaki said of the illegal protests outside the Supreme Court Justice’s houses:
“I know that there’s an outrage right now, I guess, about protests that have been peaceful to date, and we certainly do continue to encourage that, outside judges homes, and that’s the president’s position.”
So from the leader of the Democratic Party, the President of the United States, there was the encouragement of illegal activity associated with protests. So I don’t know if it’s all that accurate to place all the blame on the Republican Party for this increased acceptance of political violence.
Dem playbook for running cities: Keep Dems in charge. Defund Police. Release arrested criminals immediately. Take away guns from law abiding citizens. Complain loudly about crime and blame it on guns. Control elections. Criticize and embarrass blacks who dare not support them.
— Goodjake4sure (@goodjake4sure) July 23, 2022
Safety For Me, But Not For Thee
What I find almost laughable is the cries for more protection for lawmakers when everyday Americans across the country face violent crimes at alarmingly increasing rates. Democratic representative from Ohio Tim Ryan said of the decision by the Sergeant at Arms:
“We’ve got to do everything we can to try to make sure people are safe. Lot of wild cats out there.”
You ain’t kidding, Mr. Ryan. The Council on Criminal Justice recently released its mid-year report that shows some alarming statistics regarding crime rates in the United States. Within the information, homicides are 39% higher now than in 2019, and the below have increased by their corresponding percentages since 2021:
- aggravated assault – 4%
- robberies – 19%
- property crime – 6%
- larceny – 20%
- residential burglaries – 6%
- motor vehicle threats – 15%
And if you think homicide is just a problem in cities like New York and Los Angeles, think again. The following cities saw the below increases:
- Milwaukee – 39%
- Raleigh – 38%
- Pittsburgh – 25%
- Atlanta – 16%
Nearly 50 People Shot In #Chicago Over Weekend Amid Skyrocketing Crime: by Trevor Schakohl at CDN –
— Conservative Daily News (@CDNPosts) August 1, 2022
Time To Look In The Mirror
I don’t advocate for violence in any regard. When we disagree over political and social issues, we should engage in critical thinking and open, passionate, and peaceful civic discourse.
I also don’t advocate for violence against public servants and politicians. We must not normalize using violence as political pressure.
However, it is time for lawmakers to take a hard look in the mirror and ask themselves their culpability regarding this increase in violent activity. One only has to look to the Chicago and Seattle 911 response times to see how the ‘defund the police’ movement touted by many lawmakers crying out for more protection has caused massive safety issues.
It’s time for everyone to speak out against violence and support the law and order concept. Because what are we without both?
Rising crime rates are devastating local economies.
When a business closes its doors, the entire community feels the effect.
We must return to a society of law and order. pic.twitter.com/2EFbXx36BZ
— Tom Emmer (@RepTomEmmer) July 26, 2022
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