No one asked for lobbyist Cathi Herrod's opinion on the shooting of a security guard at the headquarters of the Family Research Council, but she gave it anyway.
Herrod's the president of the Center for Arizona Policy -- one of the Family Research Council's state-level organizations -- and pointed to "heinous rhetoric" as the reason why anyone would want to commit an act of violence against their organization.
A man shot a security guard at the Family Research Council's Washington D.C. headquarters last week, allegedly over the organization's anti-gay policies.
Herrod took to a blog post to express her opinion -- which is one of the few ways the public gets to hear from the head of the organization that credits itself with the creation of more than 100 "family values" laws in Arizona.
"The shooting is a tragedy that we can ill afford to disregard," she writes. "The sad reality is that because of the over-the-top rhetoric of our opponents, [the Family Research Council, the Center for Arizona Policy], and our allied organizations must be constantly vigilant of fringe fanatics that oppose our work and want to carry out violence against us."
Herrod cites the Human Rights Campaign -- which just recently labeled the Family Research Council a "hate group" -- as well as "homosexual advocacy groups," and people who just keep calling them "bigots and extremists."
And in Arizona, Herrod adds that the Center for Arizona Policy is subject to this same treatment.
"The truth is that this type of hate-filled speech isn't isolated to D.C.," she writes. "In the last year alone, one state Senator called me a 'legislative terrorist,' while the Arizona Capitol Times ran an editorial comparing CAP to the Taliban and the Gestapo."
That "legislative terrorist" remark came from state Senate Minority Leader David Schapira -- who's currently running for Congress in the state's Ninth Congressional District -- as he's under the firm belief that Herrod is the one responsible for killing his anti-bullying legislation.
We checked in with Schapira to see how he felt about being accused of inciting violence within the "fringe fanatic" department, and the Democrat brought out the irony in Herrod's comments -- he'd borrowed the "legislative terrorist" term from some Republicans who used that same label to describe Herrod.
"I wasn't the author of that," Schapira told New Times. "It was actually Republican staffers [at the Capitol] who referred to her as that."
"Legislative terrorism" aside, Schapira noted Herrod's alleged comment about his bullying bill -- that it was a "backdoor gay bill, no pun intended."
"You want to talk about hateful speech?" Schapira asked. "That's hateful."
Regardless of Herrod's unintentionally ironic comment about being called a "legislative terrorist," Schapira didn't really find any of Herrod's comments appropriate.
"Violence is never a legitimate political tool," he said. "Nor is it responsible for her to use this event as a political football, to draw herself into this story."
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