An alarming surge in threats and confrontations has elected lawmakers so rattled that Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she was worried that a murderous encounter may be looming.
Collins was the recipient of an unknown visitor's wrath when a storm window at her home in Bangor was smashed, The New York Times reported.
But her concerns go further.
"I wouldn't be surprised if a senator or House member were killed," the five-term senator told the Times. "What started with abusive phone calls is now translating into active threats of violence and real violence."
According to the Times, in 2018, after Collins announced she would support the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, she got a message that included footage of a since-deleted video of a beheading.
"We will c-t off your l-mbs and sl-ce off yo-r faces. We will t-ar out your tongues and dism-mber your org-as and sl-t your thro-ts while you watch," the letter read, which contained her personal phone numbers and addresses, as well as those of her staff and their relatives of her staff, the Times reported.
Three people are currently in jail and another few are awaiting some kind of action as a result of threats, Collins told the news outlet.
But she said the window-smashing was of particular concern because it occurred on a secluded side of her house, suggesting the area had been "studied and chosen."
"There's been a sea change in that we now see this constant escalation and erosion of any boundaries of what is acceptable behavior, and it has crossed over into actual violence," Collins told the Times.
But violent rhetoric appears to be normalized in language used by some to pump up their voter base — on both sides of the aisle.
Former President Donald Trump said last week that Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky "has a death wish" over this vote to fund the government and avoid a shutdown.
Democrat Rep. Tim Ryan, running for an open Senate seat in Ohio, said on MSNBC that Americans must "kill and confront" the MAGA Republican movement, video posted showed.
Between 2016 and 2021, the number of threats recorded against members of Congress had increased tenfold, according to the Times.
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