Political Violence

Much hay is being made of this incident at a Rand Paul rally:

It’s temping in political discourse to think your side is better than the other, but it’s self delusion. I don’t care if your issue is saving puppies, I’d estimate at least 5 to 15% of your fellow activists are complete assholes. So save me the lefty moral outrage. Personally, I don’t think either the stompers or stompee in this case can claim to be without wrong doing in this particular incident, though only one side bears any legal wrong.

So I do condemn the men who unlawfully restrained and stomped the MoveOn employee, but I also condemn the immature actions of the MoveOn employee that stoked this fire. The Other McCain in his analysis of what’s going on:

When I was covering the big rally in Searchlight, Nevada, I remember Sarah Palin being hustled through a phalanx of security without time to say “hello” or shake hands with her supporters. Even with a press pass dangling around my neck on a lanyard, I was careful not to make any move that Palin’s security might interpret as potentially threatening.

Now imagine if some crazy woman at Searchlight had come shoving through the crowd wearing a blonde wig and carrying a sign mocking Palin.

You see what I’m talking about? I’m not advocating, endorsing or defending the stomping of heads. I’m just saying that this mob scene in Lexington was exactly the sort of situation where these kinds of incidents happen. It’s unfortunate and wrong, but it is ridiculously misleading to politicize this incident as if it were somehow typical of those “crazy right-wingers,” which is what Boehlert, et al., are attempting to do.

That’s why I can’t totally forgive her actions even as I condemn what the two individuals did to her. There were police present in the video if you look closely. One of the stompers is chastising police for refusing to do anything about the woman, but what were they going to do? It’s not illegal to wear a wig in public with a sign. They couldn’t have done anything until she did something illegal, and that something has to be more than approaching the candidate through the crowd, which last I checked was legal. If she had a weapon in her hand, this would have been completely different, but she had a sign. She actually would have been completely justified in using force against the people attempting to unlawfully restrain her.

26 Responses to “Political Violence”

  1. Carl from Chicago says:

    One idiot … and the opposition presumes he paints the tone of an entire campaign?

    All too typical. All too senseless.

  2. Guav says:

    So you blame the victim of the physical attack for “stoking the flame” of what happened by wearing a wig and holding a sign.

    Do you also blame those who are stoking the flames by using increasingly violent, eliminationist rhetoric?

    Or is there no responsibility for “stoking flames” when conservatives talk about hunting liberals and “2nd amendment remedies” but only when silly liberals ear a wig and do nothing harmful to anyone?

  3. Sebastian says:

    What she was planning to do with Paul was immature and stupid. To me she’s not really any different than James O’Keefe on the right, who is also a buffoon. I’m not excusing the people who assaulted her, or saying because she was being a buffoon it was just fine to stomp on her shoulder… just that if you stick your hand into the monkey’s cage, don’t be surprised when he bites you. When someone does that, it’s not unfair to question “Why was she sticking her hand in the monkey’s cage?” even if you agree the monkey ought to be put down.

    Charging through the crowd at an amped up political event with a wig is odd enough behavior I could see how someone thought they were a threat to the candidate. They overreacted and crossed the line. But do that enough, and I don’t care what side you’re on, you’re probably going to get the shit kicked out of you.

    And I think I’ve been on the record more than a few times saying people talking about 2A remedies and hunting liberals is uncalled for and dangerous. My point is more than every side has their assholes, so no one gets to look at kettle and call it black.

  4. Guav says:

    I agree 100% that what she was planning to do was immature and stupid—I don’t understand what some liberals think they will accomplish with such ridiculous theatrics. But that’s beside the point entirely.

    And yes, I know you do speak out against such foolish statements from the right—I have no idea why I said that to you. I apologize. Musta forgot what blog I was at haha

    As far as thinking she was a threat goes though, that’s not really a good reason for them to use. Police who were there did not think she was a threat, and Paul has his own security, who also didn’t think she was a threat.

  5. Sebastian says:

    Well, if she was trying to make our side look like a bunch of violent buffoons, mission accomplished :)

  6. Carl from Chicago says:

    Personally, I find what those guys did to be both dumbheaded and wrong.

    But I will also say that this whole thing (as is typical), is being blown way out of proportion. This whole thing … these elections … just aren’t so damned important that folks need to lose their heads (metaphorically speaking).

  7. mobo says:

    That was a really dumb move stepping on her head like that, especially since the guy is an open carry advocate. It doesn’t look like he’ll be carrying anything (legally, at least) after he gets convicted of assault and battery.

  8. DirtCrashr says:

    Why is she smiling and then covering her face? Nobody stepped on her head, it was her shoulder – and the whole thing looks a bit contrived – the art of a hustler and con man is to move things quickly to get a certain result, and the video does that.

  9. Guav says:

    Open carry advocate Mike Pezzano is the one who grabbed her and wrestled her to the ground. Tim Profitt—Rand Paul’s Bourbon County campaign coordinator—is the one who stepped on her head (for some strange reason).

    Although Pezzano shouldn’t have accosted her, it’s not as bad as stepping on her head.

  10. Guav says:

    DirtCrasher, the dude placed his foot on her shoulder, and then stepped down, his foot going down onto her head.

    And before you start talking about liberal plants and the whole thing is a hoax, the two main men in the video have already been identified, and they are definitely Rand Paul supporters, so don’t even start with that.

  11. Carl from Chicago says:

    mobo Said,
    October 26th, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    It doesn’t look like he’ll be carrying anything (legally, at least) after he gets convicted of assault and battery.

    He hasn’t been charged, though issued a summons. Most he can be charged with is 4th degree assault, a misdemeanor. He won’t be losing his 2nd Amendment rights over this dumb move.

  12. Sebastian says:

    I agree the stomper is more morally culpable, because there was no motivation to do what he did short of wanting to get a dig in, and be a thug. The other guy could have conceivably been motivated by a belief she was going to assault Paul.

  13. Guav says:

    Looks like only the “stomper” is being charged [here].

  14. Is she smiling because her objective was to provoke a violent reaction? She succeeded.

    One of the arguments for not being armed at a political event is precisely because of stupid stunts like this.

  15. Joe in Reno says:

    Oh, she may have just been a nut job grandstander. On the other hand, since nobody else seems to remember history, I apparently need to mention Squeeky From….

  16. Joe in Reno says:

    hit “go ” too soon!

    Does carrying a sign mean you don’t have a weapon?? Is it some sorta magic shield? Suicide bombers world wide want to know!

  17. Sebastian says:

    So we can assault anyone we like because of mere suspicion they may have a weapon? Can we let cops do this too?

  18. Jujube says:

    I’m liberal and I had no problem with them restraining her on the ground.

    I did have a problem with the person who put his foot on her and pressed down. He should have been arrested for assault because that is what that was. She wasn’t kicking and screaming and there was no reason for him to do that.

  19. mikeb302000 says:

    Sebastian, Can I merge your idea with my Famous 10%?

    “I’d estimate at least 5 to 15% of your fellow activists are complete assholes.”

    I had an awful time trying to sell this idea on my blog. Why do you think that is? When you say it it sounds so nice.

  20. Sebastian says:

    fellow activists

    Keyword, Mike. The vast majority of gun owners are not activists. And asshole can manifest itself in many ways. I know plenty of people who are total assholes, yet who would not assault a woman.

  21. Bob S. says:


    The main problem with you trying to sell your made up 10% is that you are trying to restrict people’s rights based on what they are, not what laws they’ve broken.

    So, someone is a jerk — should we permanently seal their mouth to keep them from talking in public?

    No but that is what you are trying to do regarding the right to keep and bear arms.

    Heck, many of the activists on your side of the fence are jerks — you co-blog with one of them — should Jadegold lose his rights because of his personality?

  22. DirtCrashr says:

    You don’t get to tell me what I saw. I don’t care about Rand Paul, but if she was trying to attract negative attention and an overreaction she certainly succeeded. Maybe she smiled out of embarrassment.

  23. Scott says:

    I haven’t seen any video showing what she was doing to try and get through the crowd before the above video picked her up. While I’m sure whatever it was (pushing and shoving probably, as tight as that crowd looked) didn’t warrant getting stepped on, I’m betting she committed the first assault.

    I know most castle doctrine laws say to be exempt from prosecution, you mustn’t have started or helped escalate the conflict. This seems like one of those situations where no one is an “innocent victim.”

  24. Blounttruth says:

    Interesting that this only depicts her being assaulted. While I agree it was unnecessary use of foot it is amazing that no media outlets released the video of rand arriving and this same women running up to his vehicle to shove something in the window and was restrained then as well. People forget that there are always two sides to a story, and the media covers the ones they are paid to cover, usually from the present administration, and even Fox news missed this one.

  25. tjbbpgobIII says:

    Look at the video again people, the man did not step on her head, nor did he stomp her head. What he did was put his foot on her back to hold her down and he shoved her a little in the back. It seemed to be ok for most of you lefties when SEIU did it during the run up to the vote on health care not.

  26. dustydog says:

    As Blounttruth noted, the newly emerged video shows a very different scenario –

    Context is important.


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