A staff member in the district office of U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, retrieved voice mails Monday morning, which were left during the weekend.
There was a 36-second message on the phone from a woman, who was apparently not happy with the conservative congressman:
“So, the way I see it, since you supported a child rapist who has 65 years of crimes and you are doing shit about Covid, and I’ve had people die, I think it’s totally ok for me to come with my gun and shoot you in the head.
That’s what we think of you Mr. Gosar. You’re a murderer supporter and you are just going down. Murderer, murderer, murderer supporter, you are going down.
And we’ll make sure we’ll send lots of protestors your way too.
You’re a real big fucking piece of shit.”
Listen to Margaret Kathleen Spangenberg threaten to do harm to Rep. Paul Gosar
The woman, who was later identified as a retired schoolteacher who resides in Glendale, is under investigation by the U.S. Capitol Police, said Tom Van Flein, Gosar’s chief of staff.
Van Flein said he had no idea what the woman was referring to regarding a child rapist.
The caller, identified as Margaret Kathleen Spangenberg through caller ID, identifies herself on her Facebook page as a retired gifted teacher and licensed insurance agent, whose interests included elections and travel.
She posted a video of herself in January 2019, as she instructs a class of first-graders. The voice on the video is similar to that of the recording of her death threat.
Her voice on the death threat recording sounds younger than her age, possibly because she has spent much of her time speaking to young children. The tone of the death threat does not sound menacing, but rather that of a primary school teacher explaining nicely that she plans to kill someone.
Margaret Kathleen Spangenberg inexplicably shared her “First Grade Challenge” on a famous comedian’s Facebook page.
An effort to contact Spangenberg at her apartment was made by Arizona Daily Independent Saturday afternoon. Although there were apparently people inside her home, there was no response to the doorbell.
Van Flein said that he has not heard whether Spangenberg will be charged for allegedly making this death threat.
The Capitol Police issued a warning poster to Gosar’s office during the week, with a photo of Spangenberg, instructing staff members to contact the law enforcement agency if the woman should show up there.
“It looks like a wanted poster,” Van Flein said in a phone interview.
According to federal law, threatening officials including congressional representatives is a Class C or D felony, carrying maximum penalties of five or ten years.
Van Flein said this was the fifth death threat Gosar has received during the past ten years he has served in Congress.
“I don’t think anyone who threatened Gosar was indicted or convicted,” Van Flein said, adding that this most recent threat was the most blatant of all those threats.
The Capitol Police Threats investigation department was not available Saturday to comment on this case.
Death threat suspect is a political activist
Spangenberg’s Facebook cover photo shows her with three other people, all dressed in red to support the Red for Ed campaign, a nationwide movement for more funding for public schools and teachers.
Her profile picture is a Mark Kelly for U.S. Senate poster.
Van Flein said it was hypocritical and ironic for a Mark Kelly supporter to make a threat of this nature.
“His wife was shot in the head,” Van Flein said, referring to the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was severely disabled by a gunman in a shooting in Tucson in January 2011. “It is particularly despicable that she threatens a congressman like this.”
Van Flein, an attorney who previously served with the 2008 vice-presidential campaign of Sarah Palin, said it is considered more normal now for people to express a desire to hurt conservatives.
“You see celebrities and journalists who have implied that violence is OK against conservatives,” Van Flein said. “There has been a general devolvement of civilized discussion. They feel morally justified to get people fired and hurting people. I think Mary feels justified in making this threat.”
He referred to U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, who told supporters they should confront Trump administration officials in public and let them know they were not welcome anywhere anymore. After that several officials were harassed and denied service in a restaurant.
“It is inciting violence against people they disagree with,” Van Flein said.
Gosar said in a statement that the violent rhetoric from the Left has already had deadly consequences.
“From Portland to DC and elsewhere radical Democrats espouse hate and violence and these words incite mentally ill people to take action,” said Gosar. “It’s completely unacceptable.”
A Bernie Sanders supporter fired 60 rounds at a group of Republican congressional representatives and staffers who were practicing for a charity baseball game on June 14, 2017, wounding five people, including U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise.
Van Flein said that violence is considered normal now, with riots and murders that have become routine, as well as people expressing a desire to hurt conservatives.
“This is not acceptable in a good society,” he said. “A woman who should know better feels entitled to leave death threats to a U.S. congressman. That is the definition of privilege — that you can violate the laws and think there are not consequences.”