Republican legislators in Wisconsin aren't the only ones getting violent threats. On Thursday, Katherine Windels pleaded not guilty to making death threats to Republican state lawmakers. Her crazed threats have gotten a lot of media attention.
But what hasn't gotten attention is the ugliness directed against labor.
"We've gotten a lot of threats," says John Matthews, executive director of Madison Teachers Inc (MTI).
MTI received a death threat on April 15.
"You're all going to die. I'm going to kill you. I'm going to kill you," said a man's voice calling from the (252) area code, which MTI saw on caller ID. That area code is in North Carolina.
The man called about ten times that day, according to a summary prepared by Matthews. One of those times, the caller said, "This is the evil conservative who's coming there to kill you."
He also called the woman who answered the phone some ugly names, such as "retard" and "gay."
Matthews notified the Madison police, and that afternoon, Officer Richard Wipperfurth came over to the offices of MTI. While he was there, the man called again. "The officer answered the phone," says Matthews's memo. "The officer told the man that he needed to stop calling MTI. The officer told him that we were feeling threatened, and if he did not stop calling MTI, he would put a warrant out for his arrest."
A few minutes later, the man called again and left a voice mail message that said, "I can't believe you called the cops."
Officer Howard Payne, a spokesman for the Madison police department, confirmed that Wipperfurth went to the MTI offices and answered the phone when "a man with a Southern accent" called back and was raising his voice. Once Wipperfurth returned to the police department, "he did a number of traces through the Internet and criminal intelligence," but couldn't verify a name to go along with the number, says Payne. Wipperfurth also contacted local law enforcement in North Carolina, but they weren't able to trace the number to a particular individual, either.
"This officer went through a number of things to try to locate someone who was responsible for making these phone calls, but was not able to do so," says Payne.
At the moment, the case is on a detective's desk, Payne says.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Obama, War President."
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