It was already pretty weird when newly elected Tea Partier Allen West engaged in a brief and bizarre mini-drama when he announced he was hiring hate-radio talker Joyce Kaufman to be his new chief of staff. Today he let her walk away after a furor erupted over the hire.
The whole story took an even more bizarre twist yesterday when one of Kaufman's fans, apparently angry after watching a Rachel Maddow segment on the West/Kaufman saga, phoned in a threat to commit violence against schools and post offices, prompting a lockdown of schools in Broward County, Florida:
Thousands of students spent hours locked inside their classrooms Wednesday after a South Florida radio station received a threatening e-mail.
City of Pembroke Pines Police Capt. Dan Rakofsky said authorities lifted the lockdowns after further investigation into a threat sent to a radio station mentioning a mass shooting. "Based on information from the original phone threat this morning, we are confident that that threat has diminished to the point that we can step down the security around the schools somewhat, and the school board has decided to lift the lock down," said Rakofsky.
Rakofsky would not elaborate beyond his statement, only to say police had questioned and released several individuals but are still searching for the person that originally placed the phone call to WFTL 850 AM.
According to Rakofsky, further investigation revealed the same station received an email echoing those same sentiments, much earlier in the morning. Pembroke Pines Police did release a portion of that email, which stated: "I'm planning something big around the government building here in Broward County, maybe a post office, maybe even a school."
The writer said Joyce Kaufman, who is a host at the radio station, inspired the threat. Kaufman happens to have recently been announced as the Chief of Staff to recently elected Florida Rep. Alan West.
Words that Kaufman uttered during a July 4th rally in Fort Lauderdale may have come back to haunt her. "If ballots don't work, bullets will," Kaufman is heard saying.
Those are the words that sources said may have motivated a South Florida man to make threats of unthinkable violence. Seven News was told the man was watching MSNBC Tuesday night when a clip from the rally was shown. Sources believe Kaufman's words motivated him to write a threatening Email, which was sent to a radio station.
Part of the e-mail read: "Something big will happen. "The man's wife then called WFTL with her fears.
The combination set off a chain reaction of a lockdown on all of Broward County schools for most of the day.
We already knew that Allen West had a predilection for condoning and encouraging violent thuggery, but this is well beyond befriending bikers.
Incidentally, here is that Maddow video that made the would-be shooter so angry: