This post includes a graphic picture. It is included here not for shock value, but to show just how heinous some people can be.
Last night, I got the most chilling phone call I have ever received. It was Jake Burris, Ken Aden’s campaign manager. Last night, Jake and his four kids had come back to their Russellville home. As they were getting out of the car, one of his children discovered their family cat dead on the front porch. One side of the animal’s head had been bashed in and an eyeball was hanging out of its socket. But there was something even more horrifying to be found on the corpse.
Written across the animal’s fur in black marker was the word “LIBERAL“.
This is terrorism. There’s no other word for it. A police report has been filed. Jake said the kids seem to be handling it okay. The one that discovered the cat was too young to be able to read and Jake had quickly gotten the others into the house before they saw it. Pope County is an insanely conservative area and the Aden campaign has been shaking things up even there and it looks like another right wing sociopath with a taste for violence has come crawling out of the woodwork in response. I asked Aden for a comment on the record:
“This is sickening. To kill a child’s pet…I’m at a loss for words…I’ve seen the best and the worst of humanity, but this is something else.”
Both Ken and Jake though made it clear that they weren’t going to back down on the campaign trail, both agreeing that caving to this kind of behavior would only make things worse.
“I’ve got a gun and I know how to use it.”, Jake said. “If I have to protect my kids I’ll do it without hesitation.”
This happened the same night that Gabby Giffords, the survivor of a heinous act of violence, announced she was resigning from Congress. To think of something happening here like what happened in Arizona, the possibility of that happening to Ken or to someone on his campaign team, is frightening beyond belief. This is how serial killers start off after all, torturing and killing animals. Someone who would do this to a cat is not to far from doing it to a person.
There’s no doubting this was political. There’s no doubting it’s another hideous example of right wing terrorism. Personally I would hope that leaders on the right-Steve Womack, the Arkansas Republican Party, etc.-would step up and condemn this as strongly as possible. I would also hope that Steve Womack’s father, owner of a local radio station, would stop giving out the names, phone numbers, and addresses of members of the Aden team or anyone else for that matter on his radio program when ranting about Aden. The elder Womack has done that several times and Aden’s former press secretary got a death threat in the mail soon after her name was mentioned on the program. Clearly there is someone out there that doesn’t need anymore of that kind of information, much less inspiration to act on their hatred. I also hope that the Aden campaign will do whatever they can to up the security at some of their events, for the time being at least. Aden has said he’s going to put out a press release on the matter soon, and we’ll be following this and any developments related to it closely.
That said, our thoughts and prayers are with the Burris family. Jake Burris is a great guy, and he and his kids shouldn’t have to be dealing with this.
Update: I have been trying to update the blog on this for awhile now but the insane amount of traffic this is getting had crashed the site. This is now national news and it’s getting picked up seemingly everywhere. Our analytics on this today are off the charts, dwarfing every story that came before it in a big way. This is huge stuff, but part of me is a little miffed that the press couldn’t pay half as much attention to the good stuff Ken has done-the toy drive for foster kids, the resume building workshop, the stellar campaign in general. But what’s the saying? If it bleeds it leads? Anyway, Womack’s campaign manager Beau Walker put out a strong statement on this today, to their credit and Aden put out a press release dealing with the facts of the matter and stuck up for Womack and his campaign against the finger pointing. Both statements follow:
KEN ADEN NEWS RELEASE
RUSSELLVILLE—On the heels of a weekend of positive news coverage for the campaign of Democratic Congressional candidate Ken Aden, Aden’s campaign manager returned home to find his family pet slaughtered, with the word “liberal” painted on the animal’s corpse.
The Russellville Police Department is investigating, and a report will be made to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Monday morning.
Jacob Burris, who has served as Aden’s campaign manager since late October, arrived home with his family Sunday evening, and his four children discovered the gruesome scene as they exited the family vehicle to enter their home.
The family pet, an adult, mixed-breed Siamese cat, had one side of its head bashed in to the point the cat’s eyeball was barely hanging from its socket. The perpetrators scrawled “liberal” across the cat’s body and left it on the doorstep of Burris’ house.
“To kill a child’s pet is just unconscionable,” Aden said Monday morning. “As a former combat soldier, I’ve seen the best of humanity and the worst of humanity. Whoever did this is definitely part of the worst of humanity,” he said.
“It is one thing to engage in civil political discourse, and for Republicans and Democrats to disagree with each other, which is an expected part of the political process. Taking it to this level is beyond unacceptable,” Aden said.
While the campaign between Aden and incumbent Congressman Steve Womack has heated up in recent months, Aden said they did not believe the Womack campaign to be responsible. “Although we have certainly disagreed and engaged in a great deal of civil discourse, I do not believe in any way that Congressman Womack or his campaign had anything to do with this incident,” Aden said. He noted that, before Christmas, KRUM Radio, a station owned by Womack’s father, actually promoted a toy drive held by Aden’s campaign for children in the Third District. “We suspect this is the action of a rogue individual or group of individuals who are the type of folks that stoop to the lowest common denominator instead of engaging in civil political discourse,” Aden said. “It is unfortunate this has occurred, and we will await the results of the police and federal investigations,” Aden said.
WOMACK CAMPAIGN STATEMENT
The thought of brutalizing any animal to make a political statement, no matter what that statement is, is beyond any standard of decency,” he told The Huffington Post. “The person or people, if there was more than one, who are responsible — they definitely need to be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. There should be no tolerance in our political discussion here in this nation for this kind of behavior.”