Dan Lungren knows his nut cases

Don’t talk about Dan Lungren. You’ll only encourage him.

Don’t talk about Dan Lungren. You’ll only encourage him.

U.S. Rep Dan Lungren must be some kind of a badass. I guess that’s why it’s so easy for him to tell people like Speaker Nancy Pelosi to stop crying to the media every time some wing nut makes a death threat—or two.

“I have no evidence at this point that there is a steep rise in threats or that it’s a more dangerous situation with respect to members of Congress,” Lungren is quoted as saying in a McClatchy story titled “Lawmakers should ‘cool it’ on airing threats, Lungren says,” which ran in The Sacramento Bee earlier this month.

Democrats of course say there is evidence, but rather than contradict his main source, McClatchy Washington Bureau reporter Rob Hotakainen throws up his hands and concludes, “It’s difficult to say who’s right.”

Well, maybe not so difficult. The United States Senate sergeant at arms says in fact that there’s been close to a “threefold increase” in serious threats against members of Congress this year—and that nearly all the threats came from opponents of health-care reform.

Still, the McClatchy story is a gripping one. In it, Lungren recounted his own harassment experience, when a guy on a motorcycle, recognizing Lungren’s congressional plates, started spewing profanities at the Congressman and his wife.

“My wife responded, ‘Have a nice day,’” Lungren explained.

Then the Congressman explained, “We ought to kind of cool it in terms of the publicity of this stuff. I don’t think it serves any purpose other than maybe encourage some nutcases out there.”

Except for that one nut case on the motorcycle—it’s OK to talk about that guy.

Turns out that when he was attorney general of California, Lungren employed a whole array of sort-of-paranoid security measures to keep the baddies away.

According to a 1999 piece in the San Francisco Chronicle, Lungren would park his Ford Explorer in a special bomb-shelter-style parking space in the Department of Justice building in downtown Sacramento.

The “bunker,” as it came to be called, had its own steel door and was also equipped with a security camera.

Next, then-Chron writer Greg Lucas explained, “Alerted to his arrival, department staff would have to get off one of the six office elevators, which would then whisk Lungren up to the 17th floor where the attorney general’s offices are.”

Lungren’s successor as attorney general, Bill Lockyer, later “liberated” the elevators and decided to park his car with the rest of the DOJ employees’ cars. Guess Lungren wasn’t always such a badass.

Compiled from Snog.