I was driving on Loma Larga in Corrales when I heard the caller to KKOB say what so many others had only hinted at in the past year or so. I don’t remember what the “topic” of the moment was during the Jim Villanucci show that day. I’m not sure it makes a difference when the callers call. They tend to say whatever it is they want to say, regardless of the “topic.”

This one said he had a solution to America’s problems. He said we needed to send two or three million Americans to Washington to take care of the “problem.” Villanucci asked him what he meant. He said again that Americans needed to take care of the problem. Villanucci again asked him what he meant. Take care of the problem how?

The caller said: “Kill em! Kill ‘em all! Take ‘em out!”

I pulled over to the side of the road and listened for a few more minutes. In the past, I’d heard other KKOB callers hint at assassinating the president. It was not uncommon. But this was the first time I’d heard anyone come right out and say it.

I sat on the side of the road wondering how the assassination suggestion (demand?) made it on the air. I’ve been in those radio studios. I know they have a little button that may be used to engage the delay that prevents anyone from using George Carlin’s famous Seven Words. Those words might get the radio station a hefty fine from the FCC.

But encourage people to assassinate the President of the United States? No little button for that. That goes on the air.

Villanucci pleaded with his listeners not to say such things. But he didn’t do it becauseĀ  such things are vile. He said he didn’t want listeners saying these things because he was afraid he’d hear from the Secret Service, as he apparently has in the past.

KKOB assuredly is not alone in the country when it comes to such daydreams. We all know talk radio is nearly 100 percent right wing. It commands the airwaves. We all know that rage and anger are the primary entertainment tools for talk radio. The problem is that the unhinged among us sometime take their cues from such encouragement.

In a Washington Post story on John Patrick Bedell, killed at the Pentagon after opening fire on police, Mark Potok, author of a Southern Poverty Law Center report on violent militias in America, said: “People are bringing completely groundless conspiracy theories into the mainstream, and they are doing it for purely opportunistic reasons. To some, it may be only a ratings game, but the danger is that some people actually believe these tall tales and a few will actually act on them.”

Then we have Joseph Stack, who had a complaint with the IRS. So he flew his airplane into an IRS building and in the process killed a Vietnam veteran nearing retirement. One Republican congressman came close to calling him a hero.

We’ve gotten to the point now where we put this stuff up on billboards, literally. On the blog, The Daily Beast, a slide show of hate billboards underlines the point.

Add to that the leaked Republican PowerPoint presentation encouraging fund raisers to use fear as a selling point and to paint Democrats as “evil” and a question arises: What the hell are we doing to ourselves?