(KCPW News) Former Utah Senator Bob Bennett says everyone should remember that the alleged shooter of an Arizona congresswoman is probably deranged, and shouldn’t be quick to blame the tragedy on any particular group. But he also told NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook this morning that the political rhetoric needs to be turned down. He recalled that a talk show host once gave out his home address:
“And recommended that everybody show up at our homes on the Fourth of July, demand that we resign immediately, and if we did not agree to resign our offices, to ‘remove us’ from office,” he told Ashrbrook. “And then the talk show host said you will not be prosecuted because it is your constitutional right.”
Bennett added that it’s dangerous when politicians accuse their opponents of trying to destroy the country, saying that while he opposes President Barack Obama politically, he’d be glad to have him as a neighbor.
Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz also spoke with On Point, lamenting what he called “the politics of personal destruction.” As far as his own security, he noted that he has a concealed weapons permit.
“It’s not new because of this event, not new because I was elected to Congress,” said Chaffetz. “It’s a personal security measure that I feel comfortable. It’s not necessarily for everybody; if you don’t feel comfortable with it, you probably shouldn’t do it, but here in Utah I went and got a permit, and it’s something that I benefit from.”
Chaffetz said everyone in Congress receives threats, but doesn’t expect lawmakers will stop holding town hall meetings and meeting with their constituents.