Delegate Candidate: Fight Dems With Ballots Before It Comes to Bullets
UPDATE 6:17 P.M. with reactions from Crabill's general election opponent and the state Democratic Party, as well as an examination of Crabill's view that the government was involved in the Oklahoma City bombing.
A Virginia Republican's fierce call to resist President Obama's political agenda -- with bullets if necessary -- ignited an outcry on the Internet yesterday, and forced her to clarify that she was not looking to incite any violence.
Appearing at a "Tea Party" rally on Wednesday to protest President Obama's expansion of government, Catherine Crabill, a political neophyte running for the House of Delegates in the Northern Neck, quoted from a March 1775 speech by Patrick Henry and then went further, calling on Americans to resist the course Obama has set for the country.
"We have a chance to fight this battle at the ballot box before we have to resort to the bullet box," Crabill said. "But that's the beauty of our Second Amendment right. I am glad for all of us who enjoy the use of firearms for hunting. But make no mistake. That was not the intent of the Founding Fathers. Our Second Amendment right was to guard against tyranny."
Crabill, a real estate agent and home-schooling mother of four, said Thursday that she would not back down from her full-throated defense of the right to use bullets to address government grievances, saying that if fiery words were good enough for Patrick Henry, they're good enough for her.
"Those are my convictions," Crabill, 52, said in a telephone interview. "I am a full-blooded, freedom-loving American, and what we're seeing in Washington is domestic terrorism at its worst." But as the video of her remarks zipped around the Internet, she said worried she would be caricatured. And she said she wanted to make clear that she was not advocating armed resistance.
"I have no desire to see this country erupt in any kind of violent revolution," Crabill said. "I don't even own a gun."
Crabill also accused her opponents of editing the video to appear as if she herself believed that war was imminent and inevitable. In fact, she said, she had been reading directly from Patrick Henry's March 1775 speech at St. John's Church in Richmond, and it was he who said, "The war is inevitable -- and let it come. I repeat it, sir, let it come."
"They edited it to make me seem more radical," she said. "My God, I was shocked."
Looking around a nation in which some people have been stockpiling weapons since Obama's victory, however, she said she worried where it all might lead. She said her speech was less a call to arms than a call for conservatives to mobilize for upcoming elections at all levels.
"It scares me what's going on," she said. "And this administration is socializing every area of life." And she added: "Socialism is probably being kind: this is a Marxist agenda."
The video was first posted on the liberal blog Not Larry Sabato under a headline saying "Republicans Becoming Unhinged."
Ben Tribbett, who publishes the blog, said he received the video from a reader and had not edited its content.
Leigh Anne Collier, executive director of the Democratic Party of Virginia, said a tracker hired by the party had recorded the remarks, which were edited only because she had been speaking for a long time.
"We didn't intend to edit her remarks to make her look more extreme. I think her words -- and the quote she gave [The Washington Post] -- do that themselves," Collier said. Collier said the party planned to post the full speech on its Web site.
Her opponent, Del. Albert C. Pollard (D-Northumberland), also said the editing did not matter.
"Did Patrick Henry say the part about using the bullet box if they don't win at the ballot box?" Pollard said. "I don't know any other way to interpret what she said."
After a video of her remarks was posted on the Internet, some Democrats seized on her remarks to suggest that the Republican Party remains a haven for extremists.
"The Northern Neck is conservative, but not reactionary, and I think people will be appalled," Pollard said.
Some said her remarks were not surprising, given an April 1995 story by The Washington Times that identified her as a member of a militia known as the New Mexico Citizens Action Association and quoted her as saying that she believed the Oklahoma City bombing had been the work of the federal government.
The Washington Times reported:
"If any militia group is truly responsible for the murderous bombing in Oklahoma City, then I say, 'Hangin's too good for 'em,' " said Catherine Crabill of Aragon, N.M., who belongs to a group called New Mexico Citizens Action Association.
But Mrs. Crabill said it's her belief "this heinous act of violence was the work of our government," which will "use it as an excuse to aggressively attack the growing militia movement across the country."
Pressed about her remarks nearly 15 years ago, Crabill disputed the exact wording but not the gist of her beliefs.
"What they reported and how they reported it is not the way I talk," Crabill said yesterday.
But Crabill also reiterated her view yesterday that the U.S. government was behind the Oklahoma City bombing, saying her views found support in a report by retired Brig. General Benton K. Pardin arguing that on the April 1995 bombing could not have happened without the assistance of internally placed demolition charges. She said the idea of her own government deliberately killing its citizens seemed farfetched even to her until the tragedy at Waco and the violent confrontation with Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge in the 1990s.
"It would have been unbelievable if we hadn't seen [former Attorney General] Janet Reno destroy all those innocent people in Waco," Crabill said.
-- Fredrick Kunkle
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