Sarah Palin has informed the BBC that whether she runs for president in 2012 primarily hinges on money and whether Americans are ready for an "unconventional" president. But could the death threats she and her family now face also play a role in her decision?
Palin said her family is "pretty thick-skinned," but Palin's parents, Chuck and Sally Heath, expressed more concern about the safety of their daughter and her family during an interview in Wasilla, Alaska. Sally described a presidential run as "risky" and Chuck noted that a Pennsylvania man sent the family photocopies of a gun receipt and one-way ticket to Anchorage. The man recently surfaced in Alaska, only to be arrested by the FBI. "We sleep with the guns," Chuck told the BBC, adding that his daughter is, "I won't say lackadaisical, but she was raised in a very small town, small family, and there's too many kooks out there." Chuck said he and Sally help handle Palin's mail and have pictures posted in their house of people who have threatened her.
After Jared Loughner shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others in Arizona, aides said Palin was receiving an unprecedented number of death threats and consulting security professionals, though no further details were provided. At the time, some accused the former GOP vice presidential of inciting violence with her "crosshairs" map of House Democrats to defeat in the midterm elections (Giffords was one of the Democrats) and corresponding declaration, "Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD."