About Those Violent Townhall Meetings....

If you get your news from mainstream outlets you might have the impression that the August season of townhall meetings with elected representatives was a dangerous cauldron of simmering, possibly racist (or fascist) violence. The Weekly Standard's Mary Katherine Ham decided to do what so many journalists echoing this line did not–actually tally up the numbers of townhall meetings and notable incidents. Her conclusion was much different:

One public calendar, compiled by RedState.com, lists more than 400 congressional town hall meetings in the month of August. It's likely not an exhaustive list, but it represents an average of more than 13 live town halls conducted per day in America during the monthlong span. At these meetings, there were fewer than ten documented incidents that could be described as violent, and most of them involved very little physical contact. [...]

That's the full list of documented violence from the August meetings. In more than 400 events: one slap, one shove, three punches, two signs grabbed, one self-inflicted vandalism incident by a liberal, one unsolved vandalism incident, and one serious assault. Despite the left's insistence on the essentially barbaric nature of Obamacare critics, the video, photographic, and police report evidence is fairly clear in showing that 7 of the 10 incidents were perpetrated by Obama supporters and union members on Obama critics. If you add a phoned death threat to Democrat representative Brad Miller of N.C., from an Obama-care critic, the tally is 7 of 11.

And if you extend the census into September, you can add the most severe injury of all, which happened during a fight at a September 2 rally backing Obamacare in Thousand Oaks, Calif., hosted by the left-wing activist group MoveOn.org. Police have not determined who started the fight, but it ended when one of the Obamacare supporters "bit off the left pinky" of counterdemonstrator William Rice after Rice threw a punch, according to police. The Obamacare supporter, who could be charged with mayhem, left the scene before police arrived, and though Rice's missing digit was recovered, doctors were unable to reattach it because "a human bite has so much bacteria," Rice told me. Several liberal commentators took the opportunity to hail the forcible amputation as a victory of government-run medicine over a hypocritical Obama critic.

Whole thing here.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Joe M||

    Oh Jesus, here we go again. Just to get it out of the way, everyone is a nazi fascist racist homophobe leftist socialist truther birther terrorist un-American hatemonger. Proceed.

  • Rich||

    *That* is why I never say "Bite me" at townhall meetings.

  • ||

    I've used this argument against liberals in conversation. Me paraphrasing their reaction: "Yeah, but seeing teh guns make me pee my pants."

  • ||

    Joe M, I don't like homos and I damn sure ain't gonna phobe with one of em.

  • JB||

    Leftists are scum. I suggest they move to a country more hospitable to their shithead views.

  • Tomcat1066||

    Obamacare supporters aren't violent, they're "passionate". However, if those who oppose it so much as shout, we're brownshirt goons and jackbooted thugs.

    Funny how that works out, ain't it?

  • ||

    I was driving to work today and there was a sign on the side of the road for the big tax payer march tommorow. Someone had defaced it with "abort Republicans". Now, I have seen ANSWER signs defaced. But it was always with something like "lies". It was never anything violent. The phrase "abort" really got me. Do these people really want to kill anyone who disagrees with them? Probably not. But certainly they are such petulent children that they think that joking about killing your opponents is somehow funny or ever appropriate.

    Leftists won the election and they still seem as angry, bitter an alienated as they always have been. These people seem to have no personal identity beyond hating the other side. It makes their accusing their critics of being violent fascists more than a little ironic.

  • ||

    Nick, I was reminded of a good video by you... It was a video from a town hall protest in Alabama (?) There was a young black man who was open carrying an AR-15, and he had a confrontation with a white woman. She said that his gun made her nervous. He replied:

    "Not too long ago the color of my skin would have made people nervous too."

    Yeah, he played the race card, but he played it so well.

  • ||

    A thousand people in the street
    Singing songs and carrying signs
    Mostly say, hooray for our side

  • ||

    Derp,

    That guy kicks ass

  • ||

    Hey John? Have you noticed JB on the comments here for 2 or 3 weeks saying that Obama supporters should be aborted? I don't recall you expressing dismay over the libertarians wanting to kill people that disagree with them. Did I just happen to miss your outrage or was it okay since he/she is one of you?

  • ||

    Say, have any charges been brought against the SEIU goons who beat up that black guy outside the town hall?

  • ||

    Have you noticed JB on the comments here for 2 or 3 weeks saying that Obama supporters should be aborted?

    No doubt millions of them were.

  • ||

    I don't want a baby that looks like that
    No one wants a baby that looks like that

  • ||

    "Hey John? Have you noticed JB on the comments here for 2 or 3 weeks saying that Obama supporters should be aborted?"

    No. I haven't actually. Seriously. It is nasty language. Moreover, again for the millionth time, "they did it to" is not an excuse.

  • Kent||

    derp,

    I wish my home state of AL could claim credit for the brother with the AR-15, but I think it was in one of the other "A" states - Arizona.

  • ||

    I don't recall you expressing dismay over the libertarians wanting to kill people that disagree with them. Did I just happen to miss your outrage or was it okay since he/she is one of you?

    I don't know if I would go so far as to kill people that disagree with me, but after seeing the patently craven and dishonest behavior by leftists these past few weeks, all in the name of forcing a coercive and decidedly non-liberty-friendly system upon us all, I'm open to the idea of hunting them for sport.

    Don't worry, it'll be catch and release. Usually. There might be exceptions made.

  • Xeones||

    Don't worry, it'll be catch and release.

    Are you thinking rifle loaded with tranquilizers, or some kind of large trap? If the former, are there any tranquilizers that are known to cause explosive diarrhea as a delayed side effect?

  • ||

    John, I wasn't trying to say, "but they do it too." I was pointing out that you seemed to have your knickers in a twist over a sign you saw. The sign had language that you have either ignored or didn't see when jb used it on threads that you were also commenting on. Threats of death don't suddenly become wrong when made against your team.

  • JB||

    Hey John? Have you noticed JB on the comments here for 2 or 3 weeks saying that Obama supporters should be aborted? I don't recall you expressing dismay over the libertarians wanting to kill people that disagree with them. Did I just happen to miss your outrage or was it okay since he/she is one of you?

    It's more ironic when I talk about aborting Leftists. They always say 'it isn't murder, it's abortion' or 'it's just a medical procedure'.

    We aren't at that point yet, but the way Obama is spending like a drunken sailor with an STD, we might be soon. Once he runs this country into the ground, it will be open season on fetuses and zombies.

  • ||

    Are you thinking rifle loaded with tranquilizers, or some kind of large trap? If the former, are there any tranquilizers that are known to cause explosive diarrhea as a delayed side effect?

    We should probably hire the Nuge as a consultant and he's fairly bow-heavy in his arsenal, but we shouldn't rule any one technique out.

    Consider it the marketplace of very specific ideas.

  • JB||

    brotherben, I haven't made any death threats. It's all hypothetical and saying that people deserve to die (guess what? everyone does).

    So are you and McChangey going to ban hope now? Because my hope is that Leftists either get a clue, move to a country more to their liking, or just die.

  • ||

    Thank goodness the town hall meetings had unruly incidents. Shows Americans are alive. But it was more than "notable" or "violent" incidents that news stories focused on. Frightened geezers and visitors from "other planets" and the like contributed to the cacophony that made the town halls sound raucous.

    Americans are generally accepting of authority. That all sorts of people took the time to face their "representatives" and ask them questions that they were obliged to answer is a good thing.

    We should require that all our politicians hold regular town halls when they are not collecting fat checks from fat cats.

  • ||

    JB, I'm not sure if a ban on hope is required. Surely it needs more regulation though as the anti-leftist crowd seem to be operating clandestine hope growing operations in their basements.

  • ||

    [GODWIN SHIELDS DOWN]

    Yes, a little dissent against authority is a good thing. One of the reasons the Nazis were able to hold power was the German tendency (especially in the military) to respect authority. Screw authority. Most of those jokers know less than we, not more. And God knows that their character isn't something to respect.

    [GODWIN SHIELDS UP]

  • JB||

    JB, I'm not sure if a ban on hope is required. Surely it needs more regulation though as the anti-leftist crowd seem to be operating clandestine hope growing operations in their basements.

    It's called being prepared. I wouldn't put any faith and credit in the US government. They are completely leveraged to the Chinese at this point.

  • ||

    Pro Lib, what's the html thingy for the godwin shields? That's one I don't know;}

  • Joe M||

    [GRAMMAR SHIELDS DOWN]

    Most of those jokers know less than US, not more.



    [GRAMMAR SHIELDS UP]

  • ||

    Oh yeah? Let's find out:

    Most of those jokers know less than us [do], not more.

    OR

    Most of those jokers know less than we [do], not more.

  • ||

    PWNED!

  • Joe M||

    That's different. "Us" is a prepositional object, "we" is the subject of a new clause. "Than" is functioning as a preposition in your first sentence, and a conjunction in your new examples.

  • ||

    Is this what they mean by "fighting words?"

  • ||

    The [do] was definitely there, just dropped.

    I defy your criticism.

  • Grammar police||

    Pro Libertate is correct.

  • Joe M||

    Haha, I can accept defiance.

    This is actually a matter of great debate.

  • ||

    "Not too long ago the color of my skin would have made people nervous too."



    Frankly, I'd not be at all surprised if the color of his skin still makes that woman nervous.

    I'm afraid that from my viewpoints the over the top complaints about racism from white liberals all have a "the lady doth protest too much" air about them.

    A lot of that white guilt is about what their true feelings are, methinks.

  • ||

    You see, two can play the racist accusation game. It's fun.

  • ||

    My God, I'm a Conjunctionist. Who knew?

  • @||

    August, 2009 is textbook Big Lie propaganda. "Crazy/fascist/racist/right-wing teabaggers" was repeated so often and insistently by our leftist media that it became an irrefutable fact among many. Never mind that it didn't happen. It took only a tireless repetition of the same few "violent" incidents on the far-left news networks to reinforce what half the nation already suspected.

  • Untermensch||

    For those who are on facebook, you can see the latest in liberal anti-conservative propaganda here.

    For those who can't see it, it leads to a facebook collection of people with signs full of stupid grammatical errors described as:

    Morons holding signs:
    Tea Party protesters lacking the ability to critically think due to extreme cognitive dissonance, inadequate education, and enslavement to corporate media.



    At least one is a pretty obvious photoshop job (the guy who posted them claims none of them are, but at least one definitely is) and any number of the other ones may have been staged. In short, the purpose of these photos is to confirm to those on the left that the only reason to oppose the Obamessiah is sheer, mouth-breathing, rotten-teeth idiocy. I think that's the general assumption on the left about libertarians and conservatives: the only reason we don't agree is that we are thralls to corporate media too stupid to know our own good. False consciousness, hegemony, etc., etc.

    Whenever I have friends on the left tell me that the town hall people are particularly violent, disruptive, and obnoxious, I wonder at the selective amnesia that must be at work to say that with a straight face. (Although I suppose it's no worse than those who blast Obama for something that Bush did and pretend Bush was great by comparison.)

  • Jim Treacher||

    Dissent is the highest form of patriotism lowest form of Hitlerism.

  • The Republican Heretic||

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement