A voice mail that threatened U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers and his family landed a Westerville [Ohio] man in federal court Wednesday, charged with a crime that carries a 10-year prison term if he is convicted.
In the voice mail that authorities said was left with the Upper Arlington Republican’s Hilliard district office on Sunday, the caller mentioned the June 14 baseball practice during which House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and four others were wounded or injured in Alexandria, Virginia.
“I’ve seen the prayer ya’ll were saying at the baseball diamond ... I think ya’ll better hit your knees and pray for the people that you’re screwin’ up their lives,” the message stated, according to a criminal complaint filed by Capitol Police in U.S. District Court in Columbus.
“We’re coming to get every g**amn one of you and your families. Maybe the next one taken down will be your daughter. Huh? Or your wife. Or even you.”
E. Stanley Hoff, 68, is charged with threatening to “assault, kidnap, or murder a United States official.” He appeared in federal court wearing a Mickey Mouse T-shirt, jeans and sandals in addition to ankle and wrist chains. [Emphasis added]
According to the complaint, Hoff has left at least five threatening voice mails at Stivers' Hillyard office since February. The voice mails continued even after Capitol Police warned him to knock it off.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Kelley told Chief Magistrate Elizabeth A. Preston Deavers that Hoff "is a significant danger to the community."
“We had to take it seriously, especially when he mentioned the baseball game,” Kelley said of the latest message.
Preston Deavers ordered Hoff held without bail.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R, Ky.) introduced a bill after Rep. Steve Scalise was shot at the congressional baseball game last week that would "require reciprocity between the District of Columbia and other States and jurisdictions with respect to the ability of individuals to carry certain concealed firearms, and for other purposes." It currently has 40 co-sponsors in the House.
Rep. Mo Brooks (R, Ala.), a member of the Republican baseball team that was attacked on June 14, introduced legislation that would allow members of Congress to carry concealed weapons anywhere in the U.S. except the Capitol or when in the presence of the president or vice president.
Democrats, of course, want a kinder and gentler approach to protecting themselves from enraged murderers. Cleveland.com reports:
A subcommittee where Niles-area Rep. Tim Ryan is top Democrat is about to consider a number of funding proposals to increase congressional security, said Ryan's spokesman Michael Zetts.
"Congressman Ryan is determined to give the Sergeant at Arms and Capitol Police the funding and tools they need to ensure there will never be another tragedy like the one we saw last week," Zetts said.
Toledo Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur said Capitol Police have the primary responsibility to protect visitors, Congress members, and staffers at the U.S. Capitol.
"I would prefer to leave the task of maintaining order to the professionals," she said.
When asked whether it would be a good idea for members of Congress to carry concealed weapons in Washington, D.C., Warrensville Heights Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge replied: "No. More guns are not the answer."
So their basic plan is to let the bad guys and a handful of Capitol Police have guns, while everyone else has to "shelter in place" and hope for the best. If you were getting the calls Stivers was getting threatening you and your family, would you be comfortable with that arrangement? It's unfair to ask these men and women to be essentially sitting ducks with no way to protect themselves. If they've passed a firearms course and have obtained their gun legally, they should be permitted to carry, even in that safe, gun-free utopia they call Washington, D.C.