By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
In the early hours of Tuesday, January 2, police arrested an individual for entering the Colorado Supreme Court building and discharging a firearm within the premises, according to an official news release from the Colorado State Patrol.
The break-in and shooting come about two weeks after a 4-3 ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court, resulting in the removal of former President Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 ballot. The court’s decision was grounded in interpreting the 14th Amendment’s “insurrectionist ban,” deeming Trump ineligible to hold office.
The incident unfolded between 1:15 a.m. and 3 a.m., concluding with the unnamed suspect surrendering to law enforcement. Authorities didn’t report any injuries from the shooting, but the incident underscored the continued violence engulfing American politics.
Recent statements by President Joe Biden highlighted his concerns about Trump’s embrace of political violence. Biden, preparing for a potential 2024 rematch against the twice-impeached and four-times indicted former president, emphasized Trump’s threat to democracy, which hit a low point with his challenges to election integrity and pursuit of political opponents.
“He’s threatened to use the U.S. military on the streets of America,” Biden said during a recent fundraiser in Bethesda, Maryland. “Once again, he embraces political violence instead of rejecting it. We can’t let this happen.”
Further, data analysis indicates a significant increase in threats against public officials nationwide, with 83% of Americans expressing concern about political violence. This rise is mainly associated with Trump’s fervent supporters, contributing to a climate where challenging the former president carries political and personal risks for elected officials.
The threats have increased as Trump’s legal problems worsen. In 2023, the former president was slapped with four indictments and 91 felony charges, many of them stemming from his alleged attempts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Biden.
Additionally, a civil jury found Trump responsible for sexually assaulting a writer, and a judge ordered him to pay $5 million. In a separate civil business fraud trial in New York, a judge found that Trump and his company committed widespread fraud. He is currently weighing whether to levy fines of as much as $250 million against Trump and prohibit the Trump Organization from doing business in the Empire State.
Threats against members of Congress have escalated over recent years, reaching about 9,700 in 2021. The trend persists as the calendar turns to 2024, with ongoing concerns and increased security expenditures among candidates for the House and Senate.
According to a recent Navigator poll, most Americans are concerned about political violence, with 85% saying they are worried about its future. Democrats exhibit a higher level of concern than Republicans, associating terms like “January 6,” “Trump,” and “white supremacy” with political violence, researchers found. Republicans are perceived as more likely to use political violence, with differing opinions among independents.
“Some of the recent increase in American violence (both political and otherwise) might be attributable to the pandemic. But the spike in threats began well before COVID-19,” Vox’s senior correspondent, Zack Beauchamp, wrote. “Something else is going on—something that’s raising the temperature of American politics, making people feel more angry, afraid, and like they need to take political matters into their own hands.”
That “something,” Beauchamp stated, is Donald Trump. “No figure in American politics commands Trump’s devoted following; no figure is as capable of heightening the stakes of American politics to the breaking point,” Beauchamp concluded.