Saturday, June 23, 2007

Kotowski Death Threats Pt. 3: The Press Release

. . . . in which Senator Kotowski's press release is posted in full. Rich Miller posted this at The Capitol Fax blog, which has many, many readers, but he's had to disable comments for some reason after racking up 84 in short order. Miller made another important point, too: the "mainstream media" is ignoring the whole issue. He posted a link to Google News showing that GN had picked up exactly zero (0) stories on this topic. The only thing GN had to offer was a link to the ISRA's press release; it hasn't even picked up Kotowski's press release, although, to be fair, I can't find it anywhere except Miller and people who got it from Miller. Weird.

Anyway, here it is. Although Illinois Reason got this from Rich Miller, I don't think Miller posted the whole thing for public view, so I'm getting it from IR:

Illinois State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) says threatening phone calls, faxes, and letters his office received during the past few months were handed over to local law enforcement including the Illinois State Police.

Kotowski says, “When someone calls my office saying, ‘I have a gun. I am going to come and kill you’, I have to worry about my safety, and the safety of our staff.” Kotowski added, “That is why I followed proper procedure and forwarded any correspondence with threatening material to the Illinois State Police.”

A recent release by the Illinois State Rifle Association accuses Kotowski of infringing on the First Amendment Rights of our citizens but Kotowski says this is ridiculous and irresponsible. “You won’t find a bigger advocate for free speech in the legislature, but someone’s right to free speech stops when they threaten to kill you.”

Kotowski and his office staff received threats during the first few months of the Spring Legislative Session, most of which specifically referred to his sponsorship of gun safety legislation. “If Illinois State Rifle Association members were as law abiding and anti crime as they claim, then they would be the first to condemn these threats and help to champion the cause for measures designed to get guns away from those with criminal intent.”

Kotowski concluded, “I believe that everyone should have a voice in the legislative process, but the ISRA does their membership no favors by perpetuating suspicious threats, and standing up for those who have misguided intentions.”

I love the part where the ISRA should prove that it opposes assassination for political gain by joining Kotowski in sponsoring more gun control. Yeah, that would work.

“I believe that everyone should have a voice in the legislative process, but the ISRA does their membership no favors by perpetuating suspicious threats, and standing up for those who have misguided intentions.”

Wait, what? Do you suppose Kotowski intended to accuse the ISRA of supporting and "perpetuating" (or the English-language equivalent) the people doing the threatening? And again, all this assumes there were any threats made in the first place, which Danny Boy still refuses to prove. The ISRA has so far supported and "perpetuated" one guy--Tom-of-the -Mysterious-Last-Name. They haven't supported anybody making any threats whatsoever. Kotowski wasn't in the Senate the last time a Senator claimed to have received death threats from a fanatical, evil gun nut, but I wouldn't be surprised if he'd been in the conference room that day as the President of the ICHV. If he was there, then he heard the ISRA's lobbyist , Todd Vandermyde, address the crowd of hundreds of the hardest-core activists in the Illinois pro-gun-rights movement. Unlike the other side, we weren't getting paid to be there; we had taken days off on short notice and driving ourselves to Springfield from all over the state. Vandermyde was the only "pro" or "staffer" in the room on our side.
The disgust and dismay in that crowd when we were told that a legislator had been threatened was palpable. The anger when we found out that we'd been lied to and the "threat" was no real threat wasn't exactly minor, either.

Before anyone asks, yes, I have received death threats in the past and I do know what it's like. I'll grant you that Kotowski has a lot higher profile than I do, and I wouldn't blame him at all if he considered threats against him more serious than the ones I've gotten over the years, but that does not excuse using any threat he may actually receive as an excuse to send cops out to tell innocent people that they should "stop sending FAXes to Senator Kotowski."
Any way you slice it, that last bit is a HUGE allegation. I'd like to see Kotowski's evidence that the ISRA in any way supported, directed, or encouraged anyone to threaten to hurt Kotowski, his family, or anyone else. Let's see it, Danny Boy--unless that was unintentional, in which case a simple acknowledgment and change would do fine.


Rob Nesvacil said...


Rich Miller turns off comments on the weekend.

Among those "many readers" are a bunch of kooks who tend to post racist, hateful, profanity-laced junk and Rich doesn't want to interrupt his weekends to filter it out.

That's why, every Friday, he posts a note saying comments have been turned off and folks can head over to Illinoize to debate.

Don said...

Ah, thanks. Since you're here, I left a comment asking you to post some of the statements the ISRA has made over the years that were either lies about Dan Kotowski or incitements to assassinate elected officials. Maybe you could do that at Illinois Reason.

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

Don, as I understand it, the name is Tom Warchol. I am also under the impression that Mr. Warchol apparently misunderstood Senator Althoff in regard to the "500" figure--that apparently refers to the number of calls, FAXes, etc. received by Kotowski, rather than the number of people visited by the police.

Don said...

Really? Only 500 total? That part actually would be surprising.
Where'd you get the new information?

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

Keep in mind that the "500" figure was before the flap with the state police.

My information came from someone who called Senator Althoff to ask about this.

Don said...

Well, Miller turned off comments again this morning. What's the reason this time? I posted the first comment at 8:19 on the 25th, and the last comment is marked 8:41 on the 26th.


Rob Nesvacil said...

Don, Why don't you email Rich Miller to ask every time he turns off comments?


You're implying a conspiracy where there is none. That's usually reserved for tin foil hat types...