The woman charged by the FBI with making a threat that led to the lockdown of more than 300 Broward County schools after hearing the words of right-wing talker Joyce Kaufman isn't a member of the Tea Party -- she's a member of the Green Party.
Ellisa Martinez was arrested yesterday for making an emailed threat and a phone call to Kaufman's radio station, 850-AM, on November 10. In the email, Martinez feigned agreement with the fiery arch-conservative rhetoric of Kaufman and Sarah Palin, but she's she's officially on the other side of the ledger. According to the Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Office, Martinez is a member of the Green Party, a progressive left-wing group focused on environmental issues.
The FBI says that after Martinez saw a tape on MSNBC of Kaufman at a July 3 Tea Party rally, she fired off a threatening email that led to a lockdown at all Broward County schools. During the speech, Kaufman made her now-infamous statement that "if ballots don't work, bullets will."
The threatening email was sent to Kaufman at the radio station, and Kaufman, a former liberal, has hinted repeatedly that the email was a hoax from a left-wing activist, not a declaration of war from one of her Tea Party adherents.
Martinez was under immediate suspicion from agents but managed to slip out of the area after being first questioned by the FBI at her home in New Port Richey outside of Tampa. She made it all the way to California. In the email, she wrote:
"dear ms. kaufman, i was so thrilled to see you speak in person for congressman elect west. i was especially exited to hear you encourage us to exercise our second amendment gun rights. i felt your plan to organize people with guns in the hills of Kentucky and else where was a great idea. i know that you know one election is not enough to take our country back from the illegal aliens, jews, muslims, and illuminati who are running the show. i am so glad you support people who think like me. I'm planning something big around a government building here in Broward County, maybe a post office, maybe even a school, i'm going to walk in and teach all the government hacks working there what the 2nd amendment is all about. Can I count on your help?"
Another line in the email referred to Sarah Palin: "what does Sarah say, don't retreat, reload! Let's make headlines girl!"
In addition to sending the email, Martinez allegedly called Kaufman's radio station the same morning, November 10, and claimed her fictional husband was going to shoot up a Pembroke Pines school. Interestingly, the caller claimed her apparently fictional husband was bipolar, according to the feds.
It seems pretty likely Martinez had no idea the kind of headlines she was going to make. Inside, see what clues can be taken from Martinez's Twitter account (hint: It involves Weird Al Yankovich).
On what is almost certainly Martinez's Twitter page, she describes herself as living in Los Angeles, Tampa, and Miami and describes herself as a "Cali girl living on both coasts, self-employed, and in love..." Unfortunately, she's protected her account, so we can't read more of her own self-description or her actual tweets.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to New Times Broward-Palm Beach's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling South Florida's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
The tiny photo on the Twitter page shows three women, one of them assumedly Martinez herself. One telling fact: None of the 21 people she's following appear to be right-wingers.
It's actually a pretty eclectic bunch, incoluding ABC News, Chris Cornell, The Office's Mindy Kaling, and Weird Al Yankovich. Another is Chris Sacca, a left-leaning San Francisco venture capitalist. Others are British singer Imogen Heap, self-described "new media geek" Felicia Day, and indie musician D.A. Wallach of the band Chester French, who wrote recently, in the depthy style of Twitter, "The idea of being a 'conservative' is so lame to me. Why do people have such an unreasoned infatuation with the past?"
That's stoner talk there, not the stuff that a Michael Savage-listening would-be domestic terrorist would be tuning into. If her Twitter page is any indication, Martinez's email stunt was just that -- a stunt, a very bad and dangerous attempt at media-driven performance art likely meant to show what she believed was the natural consequence of Kaufman's own dangerous words. Whether authorities in Broward overreacted or not, she went too far, and now she'll be prosecuted by the federal government.
That, of course, is just a theory. Now, if I could only crack her Facebook account...