Political violence: from whence does it emanate

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” – President Barack Hussein Obama

I posted this as a comment to Book’s previous post, but have now posted it independently as a challenge to all of us Bookworm salon aficionados.

Here’s the premise: virtually all the political violence that has happened in America as come from people associated with the Democrat and/or the Left.

Here’s my list thus far (continuous updating):


  1. Mass. Sen. Charles Sumner beaten by S. Carolina Rep. Preston Brooks over perceived insults made in speech by Brooks (1856).
  2. John Wilkes Booth (anti-Republican Democrat) assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
  3. Southern night riders and the KKK during Reconstruction and into the mid-1900s. (Democrats) – question: do we count each of the lynchings as separate acts of violence?
  4. Chicago Haymarket riot (1886)
  5. Pres. McKinley’s 1901 assassination by Leon Frank Czolgosz (Leftwing anarchist)
  6. Sedition Act of 1918 by Woodrow Wilson (Progressive Democrat)
  7. Assassination attempt on FDR, killing Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak, by Guiseppe Zangara in 1933 (left-wing anarchist)
  8. FDR’s internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII (Democrat progressive)
  9. FALN attack against Pres. Harry Truman (communist)
  10. Sheriff Bull Connors, Gov. George Wallace (Democrats)
  11. John Kennedy’s assassin Lee Harvey Oswald (communist)
  12. Pres. Johnson’s “War on Poverty”
  13. 1968 Democrat Convention
  14. Robert Kennedy’s assassin Sirhan Sirhan (leftwing Palestinian supporter)
  15. Sarah Jane Moore’s attempted assassination of Pres. Gerald Ford
  16. Berkeley People’s Park riot in 1969 (campus socialists, communists and anarchists)
  17. Students for a Democratic Society aka SDS (communist)
  18. Bombing (1970) of Math Center at University of Wisconsin-Madison (anti-war communists)
  19. Symbionese Liberation Army (communists)
  20. American Indian Movement (AIM) killing of FBI agents at Wounded Knee (socialist American Indian activists)
  21. The Weathermen, incl. Dohrn and Ayers (communist)
  22. Puerto Rican terrorist group FALN bombings (communist)
  23. Black Panthers (Left-wing socialist/communist)
  24. James Jones of Jonestown fame (apostolic socialism)
  25. Earth Liberation Front (ELF)
  26. Attack on Branch Davidians (Janet Reno, Clinton Administration)
  27. Ted Kaczynski – Unabomber (leftwing anarchist and environmental fanatic, Gore acolyte)
  28. Left-wing violence, destruction and physical assaults at 1999 G-20 meeting in Seattle.
  29. Attack on Washington, D.C. Holocaust Memorial by James Wenneker von Brunn (anti-U.S. socialist sympathizer)
  30. Left-wing violence, destruction, physical assaults and weapons convictions at 2008 Republican Convention in Minneapolis.
  31. Joe Stack, Austin IRS bomber (anti-Republican, anti-capitalist, anti-wealthy people)
  32. Physical attacks on conservative speakers at university campuses
  33. Multiple physical attacks against Tea Party rallies by SEIU and others (2009).
  34. Shooting of pro-life demonstrator James Pouillon in Owosso, MI (2009)
  35. Physical assault by S. Carolina Rep. Bob Etheridge against student, caught on video.
  36. Discovery Center attack and hostage-taking by James Lee in Sept. 2010 (leftwing environmentalist)


  1. John Brown’s attack on Harper’s Ferry (?)
  2. Attacks on abortion clinics and murders and attempted murders of abortion providers (conservative Christian group-affiliated (?) individuals)
  3. Firearm attack by Jim D. Adkisson against Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, claiming opposition to its policies (2008)
  4. 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing by Eric Robert Rudolph (see “attacks on abortion clinics” above).


Please delete, amend or add-to the list as you see fit.

Or, let’s have even more fun: how about a comparable list of CONSERVATIVE acts of political violence?

We shall then be able to offer two lists for posterity.

Comments and contributions? Please make them as specific as possible.


I have broken these out into two lists and will make additions as they come in.


OK…I’m convinced. I’ve taken the Tuscon, Ariz. shooting off of the “Left” column.

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  • Libby

    Does the Unabomber count? He’s on par with the ELF terrorists.
    What about John Hinkley of Squeaky Fromme? Like the Unabomber, they may not have been sane enough to be designated as either “right” or “left”.

  • stanley

    How about genocide on the black community through decades of creating welfare dependence. Second hand violence but violence initiated and promoted by the left nonetheless.

  • jj

    Don’t leave out the entire history of segregation in this country – George Wallace and Bull Connors were proud democrats, and so were 90% of the southern segregationists.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Thanks, Libby, Stanley and JJ:
    I’ve updated the list, but keep the ideas coming.
    I would like to be fair, though. Certainly we can come up with more examples of Conservative, Republican-inspired violence, can’t we? I listed John Brown only because his anti-abolitionist views were in synch with the Republican party, even though he was severely condemned by Abraham Lincoln.

  • Gringo

    It may be plausible to link John Brown with Republicans. The ultimate goal of both John Brown and the Republicans was abolition. What occurred at Harper’s Ferry had a definite influence on how the South responded to the election of Lincoln. While the ultimate goal of Lincoln and the Republicans was abolition, their platform for the 1860 election was focused on what was attainable: the confining of slavery to its states of origin. The South viewed the election of Lincoln through the prism of Harper’s Ferry, as the ascendance of abolitionists to political power, no matter what the  Republicans’  immediate platform said.
    However, John Brown’s ultimate goal at Harper’s Ferry, the freeing of the slaves, was anything but conservative. It was revolutionary, as its goal was a profound upheaval of the status quo.
    I t would be more accurate to label what John Brown did at Harper’s Ferry as anti-slavery violence.
    As an example of conservative violence of the time, consider South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks’s  caning in the Senate Chamber in 1856 of Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, into a state of unconsciousness. It took Brooks three years to recover. Brooks’s reason for the caning was that Senator Butler of South Carolina, Brooks’s uncle, had been insulted in a Sumner speech. The beating did not cause Senator Sumner to modify his antislavery views.
    Disclaimer: someone in my family tree fought on the side of John Brown at Harper’s Ferry.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    American Revolution: Right wing violence. Election of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War: right wing Republican radical violence.
    Execution of McVeigh: carried out by conservative (mother of a military fighter in the US armed forces) lawyers for the death penalty, 1 year after the crime.
    Flight 93: anti-TSA and hijacker sentiments.
    DC Muslim esque snipers.


    Add: to the column on the left …
    Winner of the 2006 Toronto Film Festival/Death of a president (filmed entirely in Chicago).


  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    I think it would be fair to “link” most of the anti-abortion violence – not that there has been a great deal, but each incident gets lots of play – with the “right”, since opposition to abortion is mostly (although not entirely) on that side of the political spectrum.
    However, the difference is the immediacy and vehemence with which the mainstream of the conservative movement condemns such acts.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Good one, Earl.
    After some thought, I will pass on your link, SADIE, because while the move was reprehensible and certainly an incitement to violence, it can’t be linked to actual acts of violence that I know of.

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  • Libby

    OK, here are a few that could be attributed to right-leaning causes:
    * 2009 May 31: Assassination of George Tiller. Dr. George Tiller, a doctor who provided late-term abortions was shot to death in a Wichita, Kansas church. Tiller was shot previously in 1993, and his abortion clinic had been bombed in 1985. Alleged assassin Scott Roeder, who believes in justifiable homicide of abortion providers, was arrested for the killing.
    * 2008 July 27 Jim D. Adkisson opened fire in the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, killing two and injuring seven before being tackled to the ground by congregation members. A note found in his SUV indicated this was intended as a suicide attack, and said the church was apparently targeted because of its support of liberal social policies.
    *1996 July 27: Centennial Olympic Park bombing by Eric Robert Rudolph occurred in Atlanta, Georgia, during the Atlanta Olympics. One person was killed and 111 injured. In a statement released in 2005 Rudolph said the motive was to protest abortion and the “global socialist” Olympic Movement.
    But on the other hand, there are these left-leaning incidents:
    * The violent protests at the Seatlle the WTO Ministerial Conference 1999. Also, I lived in northern VA from 1998-2008 and the left leaning political protests in DC, such as those against the IMF World Bank often got violent – broken shop windows, placing tires on the GW Pkwy and then setting them on fire, etc.
    * David Guy McKay and Bradley Neil Crowder were arrested before they executed their plan to incite mayhem at the 2004 Republican National Convention.


  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    A principle, something that is true all the time, is that people use violence because they think it’ll get them something.
    Thus if you wish to prevent violence, make it impossible for people to gain using violence as a tool. This doesn’t mean “convince” people with words alone. It means making it improbable, with the tools at their disposal, to accomplish their objective.
    Out of 20 people, how many are armed and able to fire back? If the answer is 0, why should anyone not think violence is going to get them something? Violence works, in case people hadn’t noticed. That’s why the Left uses it. That’s why Ayers tried to blow up military wives and their husbands. It’s why any revolutionary group uses guerilla insurgency tactics. It’s because they think it’ll accomplish some of their goals that will benefit them.
    Kill that hope of them, and they will have nothing. Where there is life, there is hope. The only thing that will save you from violence, is the use of violence.


    Just thought I’d throw the EU into the mix.
    As this chart shows, left-wing terrorism dwarfs right-wing terrorism in Europe — perhaps surprising given the attention paid to Europe’s far right. Islamist and Separatist terrorism, however, remain the largest categories.

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/left-wing-terrorism-surges-in-europe-2010-9#ixzz1AaWXhVq0

  • Danny Lemieux

    Thanks, Libby. I already had the anti-abortion violence covered but added two of your additions to the list.

  • Gringo

    I will try once again. Book’s software has for some unknown reason been blocking my posting here. There is an anti-abortion protester,James Pouillon, who was killed in 2009.


    December 7, 1993, Colin Ferguson pulled out his gun and started firing at passengers. He killed six and wounded nineteen before being stopped by three of the passengers: Kevin Blum, Mark McEntee, and Mike O’Connor. (Black rage defense)

  • Danny Lemieux

    SADIE, tried to link to the Ferguson page in Wikipedia but couldn’t, although I remember the incident. Can we show Ferguson to be motivated by Democrat/Left causes?
    The list on the Left keeps growing. I’ve added a few more examples (H/T Michael Filozof at American Thinker).
    Can anyone think of any more examples of conservative, Republican violence?

  • Danny Lemieux

    More additions (H/T Jeffrey Lord at American Spectator…spectator.org)
    Given what we now know about Rep. Gifford’s killer, do we keep him on the list?


    Danny: Ferguson’s motives were strictly racist. He hated white people. I linked to the wiki page on Congresswoman McCarthy of NY.
    Thanks for the link to American Spectator.

    Clarence Dupnik, was the first one out of the gate throwing stones and castigating the right. I thought it was unprofessional, untimely and disgusting for starters.  While the lefty press has been busy playing armchair judge and jury, I’ve been trying to find out why the sheriff has been trying to taint a trial that has yet to begin. As far as I have determined, the mother of the shooter works for the Pima County Board of Supervisors. The shooter, her son, has had multiple arrests without a conviction for drugs. Dupnik is the sheriff of Pima County. 

  • suek

    Danny…MM has taken your theme, added to it, and illustrated it.  I think the silent majority is tired of being told to sint down and shut up!
    >>the mother of the shooter…>>
    Whoa.  That’s interesting info, Sadie.  Makes you wonder if anybody was pulling strings to keep her boy out of trouble…  I feel for her though.  Wonder if he’s an only child.
    Apparently the sheriff is very anti  the anti-illegal immigration stuff.  The whys aren’t yet available.

  • suek

    “sint” = “sit”
    But you knew that, right?


    Jim Jones (Communist)


    suek, sheriff is also a Democrat, which made me wonder about his motives beyond party affiliation.

  • Danny Lemieux

    I have been thinking of Stanley’s suggestion (#2). I didn’t want to include it because it was so general…I thought. But then i thought of Johnson’s “War on Poverty” and I now think Stanley was right. The WOP was an act of violence against black people in that it a) destroyed black families, b) sequestered blacks into squalid ghettos called “government housing” with substandard education, inadequate access to jobs and minimum police protection. I recall reading somewhere that a Johnson administration official once said that “if this passes, we’ll have the black vote in our pockets for generations” (although I could never find the quote again). Instead, they destroyed generations.


    Part time puntiff and part time detective here to help you, Danny.
    “I’ll have those n*ggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.” — Lyndon B. Johnson to two governors on Air Force One according Ronald Kessler’s Book, “Inside The White House
    More in the link…


  • suek

    >>Instead, they destroyed generations.>>
    Yabbut…they _do_ have their votes…consistently.