Tea Party Men Attack Woman in Kentucky
The following article comes from page A15, The Caucus Section, of the October 27, 2010 edition of The New York Times:
Violence Before Debate In Kentucky Senate Race
By Katherine Q. Seelye
With tensions running high in the Kentucky Senate race, a liberal activist was wrestled to the ground Monday night before an event in Lexington, and a volunteer for Rand Paul, the Republican candidate, stomped on her neck and shoulder.
The incident was captured on video, and the scenes quickly spread over the Internet. The Lexington Police Department received many calls about the volunteer’s identity, and by midday Tuesday a criminal summons had been delivered to Tim Profitt of Bourbon County.
Mr. Profitt was ordered to appear before a Fayette County District Court judge, who will determine any charges against him. The Paul campaign dismissed Mr. Profitt and barred him from “any further association” with it.
The episode occurred just before Mr. Paul was to debate his rival, Jack Conway.
A liberal activist, Lauren Valle, 23, a volunteer for MoveOn.org, approached Mr. Paul to give him a mock award. At that point, a few men ripped off her wig and wrestled her to the ground, and one ground his foot into her shoulder and neck. Another admonished him, saying, “No, no, no. Come on,” at which point the man stopped.
A MoveOn spokesman said later that Ms. Valle was treated for a concussion and a sprained shoulder.
The incident escalated into a political battle on Tuesday. Mr. Paul called for civility from “both sides,” and the Conway campaign and MoveOn complained that he was insufficiently concerned. Mr. Paul subsequently issued a statement in which he condemned the violence.
Some on the right, including Rush Limbaugh, said Ms. Valle was a “professional agitator” who had provoked the incident.
“Nobody’s condoning the manhandling even of a radical, liberal woman,” Mr. Limbaugh said, but added that she could have been a threat and it was appropriate she be restrained.
Mr. Profitt later told The Associated Press, “I’m sorry that it came to that, and I apologize if it appeared overly forceful, but I was concerned about Rand’s safety.”
I just watched a video. The woman in question never gets more than within fifteen feet of Mr. Paul. In fact, Ms. Valle is shown being restrained by various members of the crowd before he even steps out of his vehicle. Watch the video yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-48vvBAJEI4.
Now, I don't know about you, but where I'm from, me and mine have more than a few choice words for this, but I'll stick with one: despicable. Otherwise, my description would be quite profane. This is inexcusable and insufferable. For posterity's sake, I'll stop there.
I have several issues with this incident:
1. Three Grown Men vs. One Woman
Where to even begin? The fact that three men found it necessary to take it upon themselves to "protect" Mr. Paul—who for the record is a healthy, forty-seven-year-old man—is a bit confusing, especially considering security are on the scene. Now, let's see this woman was twenty-three, not a professional athlete, not a trained body builder, non-military, and not a holder of high rank in any martial art. My off-hand guess would be she is not much of a threat. Let professionals do their jobs, and leave the redneck vigilantes at home.
Now, for the record, my father is also that age. He is an attorney and is in reasonably good shape. Regardless, without any doubt I am pretty sure he could easily handle himself versus any of my friends, even if surprised, attacked from behind, etc and et al. The point being, I don't see a woman with a poster being much of a threat.
Regardless of any of that, the woman never got close to Mr. Paul. She was no threat. This was just mob violence by some hicks from Kentucky. There's a reason Southern states have this type of reputation; and this, from a proud Southerner. This type of behavior has not been acceptable for decades, yet it is still condoned. It gives everyone a bad name.
2. The Curb-Stomp
Those of you who can handle violent material, I encourage you to go watch American History X. Then you will perhaps better understand where I am coming from here. There is a clip where the Neo-Nazi protagonist, played by Edward Norton, orders a black Crip who had been trying to steal his car before the Norton character shot him, to open his mouth and place it on the curb. He then proceeds to kill him by kicking the back of his head. It is not exactly the type of movie scene you forget. American History X is a fabulous movie, and I've seen it repeatedly, but it is still hard for me to watch.
First off, where does this man get off stomping on the back of her neck? He's lucky it was not lower and he did not kill her. Which yes, any strike to the lower base of the neck, can easily do. I personally have hit my nerve ending on a metal table. I could not move for about five minutes. The pain was unbearable. Just a few pounds of pressure there can cause a loss of consciousness; a few more, will kill immediately. Also, why does no one restrain or admonish this man? It's disgusting to watch the video. He will be charged with assault. There is no doubt about that. Otherwise its just another miscarriage of justice.
3. The Defense and Apology
Rush Limbaugh. I should not even bother to address this, but I will. There's no defense for that. She wasn't restrained, she was assaulted. That is why Mr. Profitt is going to court and not Ms. Valle.
I have heard a plethora of terrible apologies in my day. This one is reasonably high up there. He did not actually apologize. He side-stepped the issue. It didn't "appear to be overly forceful," it was overly forceful. You weren't "concerned for [Mr. Paul's] safety," you are a cowardly redneck. You disgrace yourself, your family, and your state. You disgrace any Southern man who would normally kick your ass for attacking a woman. You had the nerve to taunt her as she lay motionless on the ground. Vile man, try again. I, and likely no one else, buy this nonsense.
Now, why does this matter? Well, those who you let represent you, they typically well, represent you. If this is the type of man Mr. Paul let's represent him, what does that say of the man himself? I am not begging the question. I am not being ridiculous. This incident is a microcosm of everything that is wrong with the Tea Party and extremists in general.
This is not a fringe element thereof. This type of absurdity happens repeatedly. There is nearly a new one each week. When will it end? Furthermore, what dastardly act will finally prove the end? For that is typically how it works. Something so despicable, so vile happens, to where it just ends. It is a terrible cycle. Its a regrettable cycle. Violence only escalates. I for one don't see this ending anytime soon. When it comes to "how did it come to this," I damn sure don't want to be there.