Writing in Slate, Jack Shafer argues in favor of extreme political rhetoric by claiming
The great miracle of American politics is that although it can tend toward the cutthroat and thuggish, it is almost devoid of genuine violence outside of a few scuffles and busted lips now and again. With the exception of Saturday’s slaughter, I’d wager that in the last 30 years there have been more acts of physical violence in the stands at Philadelphia Eagles home games than in American politics.
I guess no one has told him about Oklahoma City, or the murder of George Tiller (adding: or any of the other abortion providers killed or assaulted within the last thirty years). Or the would-be Tides foundation killer, or the guy who flew the plane into the IRS building, or the guy who shot up a progressive church in 2008, or the neo-Nazi who killed three cops because he feared “the Obama gun ban,” or the neo-Nazi who shot up the Holocaust Museum, or the anti-tax lunatic who took three people hostage at a Virginia post office, or the anti-government guy with the apartment full of pipe bombs who was arrested after accidentally blowing up his own hand, or the Truther who opened fire on cops at the Pentagon, or the guy arrested on the Mall two months ago with “a .223 caliber rifle, a .243 caliber rifle barrel, a .22 caliber rifle, a .357 caliber pistol, several boxes of ammunition, and propane tanks wired to four car batteries in his truck and trailer.”
To name a few.
(More examples of violence in both rhetoric and reality in this timeline of the past two years, linked earlier.)
Or maybe we’re defining political violence so narrowly as to exclude all of the above. I genuinely don’t know.