Tom DeLay's threat

If the House majority leader wasn't calling for vigilante justice in the Schiavo case, Ted Kennedy says he'd better say so.

Published April 1, 2005 1:55PM (EST)

What did Tom DeLay mean Thursday when he said that "the time will come for the men responsible" for the death of Terri Schiavo "to answer for" their actions? The Hammer declined to say at a press conference in Texas Thursday.

But in the wake of the killing of a judge in Atlanta and the murders of a judge's family in Chicago, Ted Kennedy said that, if DeLay wasn't putting out the call for vigilante justice, he'd better say so. Calling DeLay's comments "irresponsible and reprehensible," Kennedy said: "I'm not sure what Mr. DeLay meant when he said 'the time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior.' But at a time when emotions are running high, Mr. DeLay needs to make clear that he is not advocating violence against anyone. People in this case have already had their lives threatened. It is time for mourning and healing, not for more inflammatory rhetoric, and responsible national leaders should understand that and stop this exploitation."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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