When Congressmen Attack!Pistols, canes, bowie knives, and fireplace tongs: a brief history of congressional violence.
As an incoming congressman, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) sounded like he was spoiling for a fight. He once fired a gun at an Iraqi detainee, told his supporters to "grab your muskets, fix your bayonets," and came this close to hiring as his chief of staff a woman who wanted to string up undocumented workers. It may have been tempting to view West's record as a sign that we were entering a chaotic new era of congressional belligerence. Or maybe not. If anything, West's incendiary style is a throwback to the days of yore, when the world's greatest deliberative body witnessed its share of violence perpetrated by its members upon one another. Here's a collection of some of the most memorably deplorable incidents.