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Health Care Protester Apologizes for Bullying Behavior

Health Care Protester Apologizes for Bullying Behavior

“That was my first time at any political rally and I’m never going to another one.”

Catherine Candisky of The Columbus Dispatch reports that Chris Reichert is apologizing for his part in an ugly confrontation at a recent anti-health care reform protest.

As addressed in a previous post, several people verbally abused and tried to intimidate a man with Parkinson’s disease. (You can read the post and watch the video HERE.) Mr. Reichert is the one who threw money at the seated man. Now he regrets “snapping,” says he hasn’t slept since that day, and has made a donation to a Parkinson’s disease group. The incident was just one of many recent displays of intolerance and bullying happening under the guise of protesting health care reform legislation.

According to Ms. Candisky’s article, Mr. Reichert has become fearful for his family after reading comments about his actions online. The finger is now pointed at him and he has been found guilty in the court of public opinion. Although he is a Republican, he says he has not been politically active and was invited by a neighbor to attend.

His apology and attempts to make amends may be a sincere reaction to his own shameful behavior, or it may be that because he is on the receiving end of the anger, he is trying to cover his butt out of fear for himself and his family. Maybe it is a combination of both. Whatever the case may be, it serves to give us all pause.

Carefully crafted language meant to ramp up fear and frenzied response escalated the health care reform conversation to racial and homophobic slurs to death threats. Subtle and not-so-subtle calls to arms. Hints at the violence to come. And it is contagious.

Mr. Reichert must now live with the regret, his actions captured forever on film, encapsulating the craziness of our time. This is where we need to shine the spotlight. After the protests, after the crowds dissipate, we still have to live with ourselves.

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116 comments

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3:47PM PDT on Apr 11, 2010

Thanks for posting

7:39PM PDT on Apr 6, 2010

Unfortunately there seemed to be hundreds of Mr. Reicherts as far as this issue went. I wonder what they would've felt like like if it were them sitting in the road as for help while people screamed obsenities at THEM.

9:23AM PDT on Apr 2, 2010

'freedom of speech' is intended to allow calm, thoughtful, speech to express one's sincere opinion about an issue. It is not meant to veil an angry tormentor with bullying, intimidating tactics. Whether this man was sincere or not, at least he apologized.
That is the same as someone asking for forgiveness. The Bible teaches forgiveness. (not so with some congregations).
No crowd of people protesting an issue is free of violent offenders, taking the opportunity to 'stir the pot' until it boils over. Remember the 60's when we stormed the streets in opposition to the Vietnam war? I don't remember any peaceful protests without the offenders.

9:10PM PDT on Mar 31, 2010

Was it showtime or did he mean that apology ?

7:49PM PDT on Mar 31, 2010

At least he made an apology. Some of these protestors feel justified to act this way and they are the most dangerous.

1:28PM PDT on Mar 31, 2010

Thanks!

12:41PM PDT on Mar 31, 2010

thank you for the post

12:41PM PDT on Mar 31, 2010

thank you for the post

3:23PM PDT on Mar 30, 2010

Bullies, bullies... they are everywhere! I agree to disagree and to do it in peace without threat of violence. Thank you for posting Ann! ~

10:33AM PDT on Mar 30, 2010

Well, only God knows his heart -- So if he apologizes, for whatever his reasons, then, it's out there for us to accept or not accept it.

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