Preston Brooks beat Senator Charles Sumner nearly to death with a cane on the floor of the US Senate while a friend held other senators at bay with a pistol. Brooks was also from South Carolina. The reaction in South Carolina was mixed, "joy and jubilation." Well wishers from across the state sent Brooks new and better canes to replace the one he broke over Sumner's head. What was Sumner's offense? He had made a foolish and insulting speech.
A few years later South Carolina led the South out of the Union because Lincon had been elected president on the basis of a majority in the Electoral College but only a plurality in the country wide popular vote. Virginia eventually and reluctantly followed rather than fight the rest of the South. Hundreds of thousands of deaths were suffered and a there was a hundred years of economic blight in the South.
Last night Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouted "you lie!" at the president of the United States during his address to the Congress on health care issues.
For shame, sir! For shame! You apologized? There should be some greater penance than that.
If we can not be civil even as we disagree, then we are nothing but a mob.