Democrats responsible for majority of Town Hall violence

Mary Katharine Hamm tosses the narrative and examines the data.

One public calendar, compiled by, 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.[...]

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.


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Reign of Terror

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.

A shove, three punches, and two signs grabbed. Let's call out the National Guard.

What we have worried about and continue to worry about are men showing at meetings with AR-15's and other weapons.


"men", really? Like in droves armed with automatic rifles?

Talk about hyper-hyper-hyperbole from another farLeft 2nd Amendment hater.  Sounds like more ChickenLittleOnTheLeft.

Let's see, one guy with a handgun in a holster strapped and secured on his lower leg constitutes, as Mr Bottoms and his farLeft alarmists like to hype, a "threat" to America and civil discourse.

Doesn't matter to Mr Bottoms --our new ChickenLittleOnTheLeft-- that the gun was registered. 

It doesn't matter to ChickenLittleOnTheLeft that the owner was properly permitted and obeying all state and federal laws.  Doesn't matter to ChickenLittleOnTheLeft that the owner voluntarily alerted the local sheriff's office he was carrying and... get ready for this one, Mr ChickenLittleOnTheLeft... he was there to lawfully promote the 2nd Amendment.

Which, as we all know, if Obama and the other ChickenLittlesOnTheLeft have their way, will be stripped faster than a '09 Camry parked in Mr Obama's old neighborhood.  The new rallying cry of the chickenLittlesOnTheLeft: "Men with guns are mean and scarey."  Yeah, that'll get you some traction, Mr Bottoms.

Oh wait, 10 second countdown to the fabricated story about farRight kooks urging followers to arm themselves and take back the streets, do harm to union goons and ACORN hacks, all in the name of ... let's see... wait for it... a liberty insurrection led by Dick Cheney and Geo Bush from the bunkers.

Really, Mr Bottoms, there's a reason why you're such a pansy.  With scare tactics like the one above (AR-15s in the street), you'll soon put ChickenLittle out of business in kiddie lit circles.

Let's see, one guy with a

Let's see, one guy with a handgun in a holster strapped and secured on his lower leg constitutes, as Mr Bottoms and his farLeft alarmists like to hype, a "threat" to America and civil discourse.

Doesn't matter to Mr Bottoms --our new ChickenLittleOnTheLeft-- that the gun was registered.

Former SSgt, Bottoms actually knows how to shoot an M-16, though I'm not sure I can still reassemble one in under 60 seconds anymore.

Chicken Little, not hardly. Just someone who was yelling loudly that people should pay attention to the militia nuts and the modern secessionists before Oklahoma City with the bombing of the federal building there.

No it doesn't matter to me that the gun was registered as were the weapons the Michigan Militia carried around and the Unorganized Militia of Indiana, and the rest of the nuts girding themselve for the big showdown with Bill Clinton that never came. What matters are the stolen explosives, and the threats and intimidation against members of the court by tax protesters, and the instruction by G. Gordon Liddy on how to more effectively murder federal agents.

Same vibe then as now.

I wrote about right wing crazies with cyanide bombs and a half-ton of explosivesliving roughly 30 miles from George Bush's ranch back in 2003 so this isn't ancient history. The founder of the AIP (Alaska Independence Party), a secessionist group where Sarah Palin's hubby used to belong blew himself up with his own plastique some time ago.

So yes, the will and the means do exist for massive violence.

The crazies have only had eight months to froth about Obama. Wait until he's in his thrid or fourth year of his term and armaggeddon hasn't happened yet. Someone will come along to hasten its approach and to do the will of God so they think.

As for the Chickehawks.

The 101 Chairborne are well known to me, the super partiots what are too afraid or too full of crap to stop their boasting about fighting the commies and Osma Bin Laden to actually enlist and go do it. They'd rather fantasize about showdowns with the ATF come to grab their guns.



Mr Bottoms a ChickenLittleOnTheLeft... gotta love that!

Time to arrest all those 2nd Amendment advocates who legally carry a sidearm because, well, because our ChickenLittleOnTheLeft "feels" a vibe.  I'm surprised you aren't the New Obama Gun Czar, Mr ChickenLittleOfTheLeft.

How quick these ChickenLittlesOnTheLeft can find the power of massive violence in a peaceful protest, but look away when Black Panther thugs armed with riot batons and shotguns block access to polling places... or CodePink "community organizers" toss bricks through Navy Recruiting Centers... or Obama threatens Congressional opponents to his health care "reform" outline with physical violence ("We will call you out").

I guess Mr Bottoms is all about "feelings" and "vibes" these days... too bad he can't find the civility to welcome into the American Experience those who strongly disagree with his corrupted pals in power... I wonder when the ChickenLittlesOfTheLeft forgot about the Bill of Rights preserving the Right to Petition our govt?

Oh, yeah, the day after Obama got elected.  All bow and worship the Celebrity-in-Chief, our Thug President.

So few?

What should concern you more is how the tea baggers invited violence upon themselves.  That so few took up the invitation says a lot more about Americans' patience with crazy people than about how 7 people reacted.



Wow.  You don't often see an

Wow.  You don't often see an actual example of a "the victims were asking for it" defense.

"tea baggers" replace the 2002 "chicken hawk" taunts

Jon, you should know that when someone uses the phrase tea bagger, they don't deserve to be included in the debate.  They've already proven they spend too much time hunkered down in the nether regions of the farLeft's crotch.

chicken hawks

You must mean back in the days when the Iraq war mattered to people and those of us who have served were asking when some the vociferous give 'em hell armchair warriors were going to haul their hindparts down to the nearest Army recruiter and go fight the war they loved so much?

So how did that turn out? I notice  Jonah Goldberg, Sean Hannity and all the rest of the shouters never did slim down their posteriors and go put on the uniform of our country.

But neither was I suprised that they'd rather weep about the tragedy of 9/11 but never feel compelled to actually do something about it.



Clarification please...

 I'm assuming boorish, disruptive behavior didn't count as violence. I wonder what the tally is with that adjustment? But no matter the count, still not how I would choose to be represented by my Party in a public forum on an important topic...

Yes, boorish behavior is not

Yes, boorish behavior is not voilence.  It's boorish, inappropriate and embarrassing, but it's pretty categorically different.


Oh comeon Jon. This post is pathetic and you know it.

very revealing


This is a great example of liberal media bias -- why don't they report more raw data like this and less of the emotional "Poor people are dying because we don't have national health care" opinion pieces? 

Jon, are you sure you want to associate yourself with such a

dishonest piece of writing?

MK Hamm says this:

 At a St. Louis town hall meeting on August 11 hosted by Democratic senator Claire McCaskill, a white man tore away the sign of a black woman before police stepped in and escorted both parties out. The left labeled it a hate crime, saying the poster was taken because it had Rosa Parks on it. But there was more to the story than that, and it's quite plausible his motivation wasn't racial at all. There were no signs allowed inside the auditorium. In video shot before the altercation, three women with posters enter the auditorium, marching in dramatic protest style. The crowd yells, "No signs!" several times, before McCaskill herself tells them they must put them away, at which point one of the women remains standing, seeming to taunt the crowd. When a reporter comes over to inquire about her poster, the man steps in and rips it away. He was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor assault.

Well, that certainly didn't jive with what I remember seeing on the local news, so I went and retrieved th clip - you can view it here.

The woman has rolled up the poster and is sitting quietly attending to the speaker. A photographer or reporter comes over to her and inquires about the poster. She unrolls it a bit to show it to him - no "marching in dramatic protest style". And then a guy stomps  over and snatches it away.

He's an asshole vigilante - plain and simple.

MK Hamm's version is completely at odds with what is shown on the tape. Watch the video for yourself and then comeback and tell me you are proud to be associating yourself with this rubbish.


Video for you, Mead50

I don't lie, but the mainstream media sure does obfuscate, so I'm not surprised you haven't seen this video. Start watching around 3 minutes in, if you care to see the incident in context, exactly as I reported it. If this doesn't embed, maybe Jon will embed it for me, as there's no hyperlink. I assure you, it supports me and refutes the more common, incomplete account:



He is still a vigilante asshole

So you are happy to defend a vigilante asshole? Because your video still demonstrates that that is what the poster ripper upper was. Your argument is what...that he was provoked by sass from uppity Negroes? That it is OK for old white guys to appoint themselves as the stewards of black folks' actions? Why didn't vigilante asshole guy go rip the "don't tread on me" flags out of the hands of the people shown at the beginning of the video?

How heavy are those goalposts, friend?

If you read the piece, you'll find I don't defend the man (except against baseless charges of racism), but just offer context the rest of the media did not give. They were not innocently sitting with their rolled-up posters the whole time. They were having a separate and disruptive protest that led McCaskill herself to ask them to put them away. It wasn't the content of the posters that was bugging people, but the fact that they were the only ones allowed to have them.

Also, if you read the story, I count the man who ripped the poster on the conservative side of the final tally of documented violent acts (though sign-ripping isn't really violent). I'm not sure what else you want me to do. Not sure what else you want me to do, but I'm sure you'll think of something.

The video proves your complaint about my reporting wrong. You may wanna apologize for calling me dishonest.

I apologize

I apologize. You aren't defending the asshole vigilante. You are making excuses for him. Why? In what sense does it help the cause of political discourse in this country to have people like you saying it's no so bad, really, becasue he was provoked ?



It doesn't matter what you

It doesn't matter what you write MK. Mead50 pretends you wrote something else and then rips you for it. In liberal-land that qualifies for truth. It's pointless to argue.

You can see for yourself that she is making

excuses for the vigilante asshole in the blockquote I provided above.

mk, Mead50 will move the goalposts all day if you let him...

but at the end of the play, at the end of the game, at the end of the day... he will still have lost the argument.

Truth and reason are his greatest enemies.

If the town hall barbarians were Democrats,

 If the town hall barbarians were Democrats, why are the Republicans so pleased with their messages? 

Democratic violence

One of the raison d'etres of this excellent site, it seems to me, is that facts matter.  They cannot be wished away, or acknowledged if they help one's friends and ignored if they do not.  Public policy is a pursuit for those who are willing to do their homework, whether Democrats or Republicans 

In that spirit, all violence at these town halls should be condemned, without regard to the perpetrators.  That includes violence be Democrats (say I, a Democrat). 

Having said that, we need to also condemn the tactics of intimidation--they need not be enumerated, given the looping video we have all seen--that were rife at many town halls.  They are the "assault" (an act that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent, harmful, or offensive contact.) to the "battery", the physical violence, that we all condemn. 

Liberal Violence

So... all I get from this, really, is that if you use a fairly narrow definition, and look at a really small number of incidents from a very large number of town halls, a disproportionate number of incidents happened because "Obama supporters" were violent. This, from a very partisan, conservative woman - who I happen to admire and respect generally - who tends to approach these conflicts with that perspective in place, and judge accordingly.

Forgive me if I don't entirely see what's been "proved" with this exercise.

To do this in a vaccuum - as if the shouts, and intimidation, and disrespect hurled from various right-sde attendees either didn't exist or should be classed, merely, as "free expression" or something - seems convenient, to say the least. I'd refer to the appaling tape of the crowd that couldn't have the decency to respect a wheelchair bound woman's fears that a catastrophic medical event might cause her to be unable to pay her bills or lose her home; no, I suppose no one was arrested, but I'm not sure we get to use that excuse to just ignore what occurred, ot class it as simply acceptable and move on.

Look, I deplore violence, and the people who committed it should be arrested and dealt with appropriately, regardless of their political views. Or mine. Or Mary Katherine Hamm's. But that's not the whole discussion of what happened in August, what kind of behavior was extreme or inappropriate... and to pretend that it is, amounts to, well, pretending. Both sides really need to look at redefining notions of acceptable behavior to maintain civil discourse, how to draw lines, and how to stick to them (along with, say, drawing a line at "rude outbursts from the House floor during speeches by the President"). I'm happy to do that work work as someone on the left. I'm not sure we see a lot of people making that effort on the right.

On Media

Activists from the right were encouraged to bring video cameas and cell phones and instigate and make themselves part of the evening news.

I'm surprised the count is that low, just goes to show that by and large the Democrats who attended these events were civil, not aggressive.

The attempts by the fringe Right to win facetime on the News cycle were a page out of every activist manual, and especially from Saul Alinsky.

It was pathetic and laughable, Jon, like the rent-a-mob supposedly turning out "En Masse!!" for the march on Washington today, led by the biggest buffoon and mountebank in your movement today, the psychotic Glenn Beck.

Surprised you are allowing MK Hamm's cynical, deliberate wingnuttery to pollute your site, but chacun à son goute, I guess.

So I gather...

Based on statistically insignificant data and biased sample (police surely didn't file reports on every instance that could constitute a "crime" by strict definition), pro-public-health-care advocates cited more often than anti-public-health-care advocates. What was the ratio of advocates involved? If there were more than 7 pro-public advocates for every 4 anti-public advocates, that shows the opposite of the author's conclusion (assuming we make the same other poor assumptions that the author did). That's an important factor, don't you think? Since disruption doesn't constitute a crime, this says nothing about the civility or willingness of either side to engage in substantive debate, just about who gets cited. And what point does this prove? Certainly it doesn't prove a willingness or unwillingness of either side to work together (again, unwillingness to compromise is not a crime). Certainly it doesn't prove that a certain option being discussed is right or wrong (this has absolutely nothing to do with the subject). Sounds to me like whining by someone who doesn't have a real point to make on the subject.