Tucson Tea Party co-founder Trent Humphries says he is worried about the threats he has been receiving since the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and more than a dozen others on January 8th by accused gunman Jared Lee Loughner.
During an ABC News forum on Sunday, shooting victim J. Eric Fuller tore up a picture of Humphries and said “You’re dead” before being escorted from the room by law enforcement.
“Deputies made contact with him, attempted to remove him, and he turned around and yelled at everybody and called them all whores,” Pima County sheriff’s spokesman Jason Ogan told The Associated Press.
Fuller blamed the “Tea Party crime syndicate” for the shooting in an interview with The New York Times last week. In another interview, with Democracy Now, Fuller said that “It looks like Palin, Beck, Sharron Angle and the rest got their first target.”
“Their wish for Second Amendment activism has been fulfilled,” Fuller continued.
“I had nothing to do with the murders that happened or the shooting of Gabriel Giffords,” Humphries told the Associated Press. “And I wonder, if he (Fuller) is crazy or is he the canary in a coal mine? Is he saying what a lot of other people are holding in their hearts? If so, that’s a problem.”
Humphries also said that he believes the political fallout from the shooting will hurt the Tucson Tea Party. “That’s the tragedy for my family and what we’re trying to do politically,” he said. “There’s a city election coming up next year and I’m sure this’ll be used as a club and a hammer at that point to say: ‘Well, you’re all just gun-crazy nuts and we can’t listen to a word you say, you killed Gabby Giffords.'”
In an earlier interview with the Guardian, Humphries was adamant that right-wing rhetoric had nothing to do with the shooting. “A lot have taken as gospel that the sheriff says that this was caused by talk radio, by Tea Party extremists, that that must be the case,” he said. “I think it’s done a lot of damage. It’s given people the idea that somebody like my wife and I caused this murder. There’s no evidence. And there’s no evidence Sarah Palin caused this murder.”
“The Democrats are using this opportunity to bludgeon their opponents,” continued Humphries. “People don’t want to hear that it was just some stupid, evil act that had no bearing in rationality. They want it to make sense.”