Experts across the country are beginning to fear for President Barack Obama's safety due to the fact that hate groups are thriving due to anger towards the administration's policies.
In recent weeks, there has been an increase in threats toward the president because of the rise of several radical hate groups. Just over the past week, the Secret Service is investigating the case of a man in Maryland for holding a "Death to Obama" sign, another man was arrested for standing across the street from the president's town hall meeting in New Hampshire on Tuesday with a gun on his hip, and a standoff ensued in Los Angeles on Thursday outside of a federal building due to a mentally ill man making threats.
"I don't think these are simply people who are mentally ill or off their rocker," Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center said. "In a very real sense they represent a genuine reaction, a genuine backlash against Obama."
Law enforcement has said that the growth of domestic militia groups is on the steepest rise since the mid-1990's and that new technology is making it easier for extremists to get their thoughts out. Blogs, music, and the power of YouTube is allowing for the hate to be spread to new groups of people every day.
With the controversy that healthcare reform efforts are causing, acts of vandalism are on the rise. Many protesters have likened President Obama to Hitler and just days ago, a swastika was painted at the office Congressman David Scott (D-GA). While White House officials have not said this publicly, they have admitted in private that they are concerned and the Secret Service has been told to keep all security tight around the president.
The rest of the month of August is expected to be heated for politicians across the country as the debate over healthcare reform continues. Town hall meetings have turned violent, with supporters of both sides engaging in some violent or alarming tactics. In Arizona, a anti-healthcare reform protester had a gun on his person, which alarmed police. In Missouri, pro-healthcare reform protesters were arrested for attacking an opponent of the plan. Politicians from both sides of the aisle are beefing up security, in light of such events. Meanwhile, the President continues his push for reform by traveling to Colorado tomorrow for another town hall event.