Yesterday, authorities arrested a man for allegedly making death threats against Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA). Charles Turner Habermann allegedly threatened McDermott because of the Congressman’s stance on tax policy. The FBI claims the arrest of the man who threatened the Congressman wasn’t spurred on by the tragedies in Arizona.
But, given the shootings in Tucson, at least everybody is going to be paying attention to vitriolic state of our political discourse.
Habermann seems to be going with the always fun “I was drunk” defense. But after reading the messages Habermann allegedly left for the Congressman, I’m not sure intoxication mitigates “the crazy” in any meaningful way…
Habermann seems quite riled up about tax policy in this country. Not that he understands it, the Constitution, the method of political discourse preferred by the Founding Fathers, or really anything else. That he could even pick up a phone is testament to the fact God gives out opposable digits without passion or prejudice. The National Law Journal reports:
Federal prosecutors in the U.S. attorney’s office in Seattle filed a criminal complaint on Wednesday alleging that Habermann, in two expletive-laced voicemail messages left at McDermott’s office on Dec. 9, threatened to kill the congressman, his friends and family…
In the first message, Habermann said, according to the complaint: “Uh, I, I, I’d like to remind you McDermott that if you read the constitution all the money belongs to the people. None of it belongs to Government Okay! So, if Jim McDermott says they’re spending money on a tax cut, he’s a piece of human dog shit, okay. He’s a piece of human filth. He’s a liar, he’s a communist, he’s a piece of fucking garbage. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, or George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, if any of them had ever met uh, uh Jim McDermott, they would blow his brains out. They’d shoot him, in the head. They’d kill him because he’s a piece of, of, of disgusting garbage.”He later says: “And you let that fucking scum bag know, that if he ever fucks around with my money, ever the fuck again, I’ll fucking kill him, okay. I’ll round them up, I’ll kill them, I’ll kill his friends, I’ll kill his family, I will kill everybody he fucking knows.”
In the second message, he says, “Your congressman, Jim McDermott is a piece of garbage. And I’ll tell you something right now, garbage belongs in the trash that’s exactly where he’s gonna end up.”
Ready for the twist? Turns out, Habermann claims he never intended to hurt anybody, because he didn’t want to lose his trust fund:
He told the FBI he had been drinking but was still “functioning” when he left the messages.
“As for his motivation for leaving the voicemail message, Habermann said he was calling politicians to let them know that what they were doing and saying regarding spending taxpayer’s money was wrong,” the complaint says. “He said he was trying to scare them before they spent money that didn’t belong to them.”
He also said he never intended to hurt anyone and that he was too afraid of losing his $3 million trust fund to commit a crime.
America, land of the well-off, home of the ridiculously uninformed and violent.
Arrest in California in death threats against congressman [National Law Journal]