The Rand Paul headstomping may have been the biggest media mention of violence that has occurred at a political event, but it’s by no means the only.
Earlier in the cycle I mentioned the Harry Reid supporter that was punched by a Sharron Angle fan when she tried to leave a debate early. Now, a man in Washington is being arrested for assaulting a Dino Rossi protester.
Via Talking Points Memo:
A 72-year-old man was arrested for allegedly assaulting a 23-year-old activist protesting Dino Rossi’s Republican campaign for Senate in Washington state yesterday, according to local reports.
The incident occurred outside GOP headquarters in Walla Walla County where the demonstrator, Christie Stordeur, was “one of five protesters standing about 40 feet from the entrance of the office,” according to the Tri-City Herald.
Stordeur and the other protesters “were wearing bags over their heads and holding a sign that looked like a check.” That’s when Victor Phillips, according to a Sheriff’s deputy on scene, walked over to Stordeur to “lift her bag off her head.” When Stordeur “lifted her arm in defense,” Phillips hit it “with ‘force.’”
The Herald reports that the deputy on scene “immediately stepped between the two and arrested Phillips on a charge of investigation of assault.”
One disturbing trend in these cases? All three perpetrators have been male, and their victims female. Another thing these instances have in common is that in every case the perpetrator (or even the campaign) has blamed the victim. Tim Proffitt said Valle was planning something, and that she owed him an apology for him being forced to detain her. Angle claimed that the woman who was punched at her debate was “looking for a fight.” And the Rossi supporter appears to have been upset because he was trying to take a picture of the protesters and wanted her face uncovered.
But the escalating campaign violence doesn’t just seem to be male on female. Huffington Post has a list of the violent incidents that have occured this cycle, and one thread through all of this becomes very clear — the violence is always conservative on liberal.
This election season, a man was arrested for hitting a protester at a rally for Washington GOP Senate candidate Dino Rossi, a man stomped on the head of a woman at a campaign event for Kentucky GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul, local police wrestled to the ground a Democratic man at an event for Rep. Eric Cantor (R), Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) received suspicious powder to his office, biker supporters of Florida GOP congressional candidate Allen West harassed a Democratic tracker and Alaska GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller’s private security force handcuffed and detained a reporter.
And all that was in just the past two weeks.
But as Terkel notes, this isn’t just something that spawned in the election cycle, but with the beginning of the Tea Party in general, and has been encouraged by the rhetoric of their own leaders.
While there has been an increased number of highly publicized incidents in recent weeks, there was also a spike in violence or threatened violence during the health care debate toward lawmakers who supported the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. People vandalized congressional offices and threatened to assassinate officials and their families. Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) had a picture of a noose faxed to his office after he voted for health care reform. A former militia member named Mike Vanderboegh even proudly took credit for encouraging people around the country to break the windows of lawmakers’ offices.
There has also been a significant amount of violence-tinged rhetoric coming from politicians. Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle floated “Second Amendment remedies” as a “cure” for an out-of-control Congress. Last week, a Republican House candidate in Texas said a violent overthrow of the government is “on the table.” Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has taken some flack for using gun imagery after the passage of health care reform, telling her supporters to “reload.”
If this didn’t start with the election, will it at least end with the election? I can see how it could continue, or even get worse, but adamantly hope that Tuesday will bring about the end.
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