By now we are all aware of the threats made by right wing activist Scott Oskay.
The template for a violent encounter between armed right wingers and other demonstrators already exists. On November 3, 1979 a caravan of Klansmen and American Nazis ambushed a peaceful demonstration. Several of the demonstrators were activists trying to encourage the formation of a textile workers union among African American textile workers in Greensboro, North Carolina, but on this occasion the demonstration was an anti-Klan rally with the theme "Death to the Klan." Five demonstrators were killed and ten were wounded.
The incident became known as the Greensboro Massacre.
The ingredients for a repetition of this tragedy are all there. It's not hard to imagine the scenario. Right wing protesters will heed Scott Oskay's call and will bring guns to a healthcare town hall. They will attempt to disrupt the town hall meeting and someone--perhaps a union member or an ACORN volunteer, or someone else interested in discussing policy without being shouted down--someone will ask the teabaggers to be quiet or leave or just respect the rights of others.
And that will be the trigger. Perhaps a lone wingnut will pull out a handgun and open fire. Or perhaps a group of right wing protesters will do what the Klansmen and Nazis in Greensboro did, perhaps they'll go back to their cars and retrieve long guns--rifles and shotguns--and launch a concerted attack on the town hall meeting.
It's hard for me to imagine what comes next if that happens.
Will there finally be a backlash against the tactics employed by the Republican Party? Or will Republicans take Democratic weakness as a sign that they can employ violence at will?