August 11, 2023 | NPR

Americans resorting to violence to solve differences, officials in the crosshairs

Craig Robertson, a 75-year-old Air Force veteran, was killed earlier this month after pointing a handgun at FBI agents attempting to arrest him in his home in Provo, Utah. The agents were at his home to arrest him for three felony charges, including making violent threats against President Biden and other public officials on social media, according to court records. ISD Senior Research Manager Katherine Keneally was interviewed by NPR about the incident and the current threat landscape as it relates to threats against officials.

Katherine highlighted how the mainstreaming of extremist rhetoric has led to an increasing number of people who see violence as an acceptable solution to solve political differences.

She explained how Robertson’s rhetoric is no longer a fringe phenomenon, but rather mainstream and common in daily life: “I can go out my front door [in Montana] or hear a conversation and the things that he was posting online, I can hear at a bar, I can hear in line at my grocery store. It is not very uncommon by any means.”

Katherine also pointed out that this threat is a bipartisan issue and Republicans who are seen as disloyal are also the target of such rhetoric and threats.

The full interview is available at NPR.