They are a fact of life in the hand-to-hand combat of the highly charged and polarized political blogosphere, sadly (it's never happened to me, though someone did publish my address once), but threatening the life of a public official takes it up a notch.
Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC) will not be hosting any town hall events this August -- instead, he's making himself available to constituents for one-on-one meetings about health care reform -- and at least part of the reason is this: His offices have received threatening phone calls, including at least one direct threat against his life.
"We had no town hall events scheduled for the August recess anyway, but in light of everything that's happened -- we have received a threatening phone call in the D.C. office, there have been calls to the Raleigh office," said Miller communications director LuAnn Canipe, in an interview with TPM. The threatening call in question happened earlier this week.
"The call to the D.C. office was, 'Miller could lose his life over this,'" said Canipe. "Our staffer took it so seriously, he confirmed what the guy was saying. He said, 'Sir is that a threat?' and at that time our staffer was getting the phone number off caller ID and turning it over to the Capitol Police."
Will Republicans distance themselves from open calls for violence from a hyped-up, lobbyist-activated rank and file?
...just to add the other element to this, the corporate underwriting, here's a health industry CEO asking his employees to email their members of Congress opposing reform.