Thursday, March 25, 2010

Update on shot fired at Rep. Cantor's office building

I found some more information on the gunshots fired at Republican Representative Eric Cantor's campaign office. From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

3:40 p.m. The Richmond Police Department is investigating an act of vandalism agsinst the Reagan Building, 25 E. Main St., where Rep. Eric I. Cantor, R-7th, has a campagn office.

Police said a first floor window was struck by a bullet at around 1 a.m. on Tuesday. The building was not occupied, police said. A preliminary investigation determined that a bullet was fired into the air and struck the window at a downward direction, landing about a foot from the window. The bullet had enough force to break the windowpane but not penetrate the window blinds, according to a news release.

There are no suspects, Gene Lepley, a spokesman for the department, said.

(This has been a breaking news update. Earlier stories are posted below.)

So if I'm reading this correctly, someone, or a group of someones, fired a gun into the air. The bullet traveled in an arc, striking the first floor of Cantor's office at a downward direction. The bullet broke the windowpane, but did not penetrate the blinds. After the bullet struck the window, it probably bounced off and landed a foot from the window. What this information tells me is that someone randomly shot a gun into the air, and the bullet just happened to hit Rep. Cantor's office. This was not a situation where someone pointed a gun at Cantor's office, and fired. This was a random act of violence.

That just happened to play into GOP Rep. Eric Cantor's PR-spin. The bullet broke Cantor's office building window, therefore Cantor was a victim of threats and violence, fanned by Democratic leaders. Cantor even claims that he "received threatening emails," but will not release such emails "because I believe such actions will only encourage more to be sent." Is it me, or am I seeing Eric Cantor waving his arms screaming "Look! Look--I'm a victim of Democratic-encouraged threats and violence!"

I will not discount the possibility that Eric Cantor received threatening emails. I hope Cantor turned the threatening, emails over to the police for investigation. But Cantor's statement claiming he will not release the emails because he feels such actions encourage even more threatening emails? I'm sorry, but Rep. Eric Cantor's weird press conference is really starting to smell. I'm guessing Cantor is trying to spin this story, reducing the criticism of the GOP hate and fear-mongering inciting violence against Democratic leaders by right-wing extremists, hopefully blaming Democrats for inciting similar threats and violence against Republicans.

In the meantime:

An envelope filled with white powder was sent to the district office of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) today, the congressman said in a statement.

A haz-mat team was sent, and the office will be closed until the situation is resolved. Weiner was an outspoken proponent (often to the left of his party's leaders) of healthcare reform.

Here's Weiner's full statement:

"Earlier today an envelope containing white powder and a threatening letter was delivered to my community office in Kew Gardens. The NYPD was immediately alerted and have responded appropriately by sending a Haz-Mat team. Any questions related to their response should be directed to the NYPD. My first priority is the safety of my staff and neighbors, and the authorities are currently taking steps to investigate and resolve the situation."

Seems like extremist threats continue to be sent to Democratic lawmakers.

Update: I've been reading DKos, and Incondite posted some updates on the Cantor story. One thing I missed is that Fox News and the conservative pundits will be screaming about this act of "domestic terrorism" incited by Democratic leaders--Democrats are just as responsible for all the death threats and violence! Or Fox will pick up Cantor's story, and speculate that Democratic leaders are sending such threats to themselves to blame Republicans. DKos commentator NewlyMintedJerseyGirl comments that Cantor's office exists near a drug-infested neighborhood. "In fact, the office is one street over from one of the most notorious drug streets in downtown, Foushee. (not to mention all manner of hookers/johns to add a little spice to the story)," NewlyMintedJerseyGirl writes. I do not live in Richmond, so I can not confirm or deny whether Cantor's office is close to a drug neighborhood. If this is true, then what we may be looking at is possibly a random act of drug violence that Cantor wants to milk for political gain--Democrats are just as responsible for inciting extremist threats and violence! And Fox News will constantly play up Cantor's story to its rabid, Kool-Aid drinkers.

Update 2: Looks like the Associated Press is confirming that while Cantor's Richmond office is located in "one of the city’s safer downtown areas, some of the more dangerous neighborhoods lie one-half mile to a mile away." The AP story also reports that the pastel green structure of the building "resembles a town house, and from the outside it is difficult to distinguish whether it is a business or residence." There is a brass plate on the door, identifying the building as The Reagan Building, but there are no "outdoors links it to Cantor or to the GOP." Seems to me this shooting is looking more like a random act of violence, or possibly a drug shooting, and the bullet randomly struck the building's windowpane where Cantor's office was located. Eric Cantor probably wanted to jump the gun in decrying this violence as incited by the Democrats, knowing it will be endlessly played on Fox News for the real right-wing crazies.

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