August 10, 2009

This weekend the righties got all worked up about the supposed "brutality" of union thugs in St. Louis who they say beat up a black conservative tea partier named Kenneth Gladney who came out to protest the Obama health-care plan on Thursday. They even had a big protest the next day, along with a press conference featuring Gladney in a wheelchair.

But take a look at the video of the supposed assault. It enters the scene a bit late -- an SEIU member is already on the ground and appears to be injured, but we can't tell what the cause was. As he's laying there, other SEIU members come to his protection, and one of them pulls down Gladney; both men fall to the pavement. Both quickly get back up. There appears to be little to it. [A section of the video showing the supposed assault is in slow motion.]

Indeed, it's readily apparent that Gladney seems completely unhurt. He wanders out to the crowd, chats with the cameraman, flags down a cop, and saunters back to where police decide to handcuff the man who knocked him down. As you can hear, the man protests that he was just keeping Gladney away from his fallen friend.

The next day, Gladney is at the press conference in a wheelchair. He claims to be too medicated to speak, so his lawyers and fellow tea partiers do it for him.

Does this seem real to you? Sure looks fake to me.

Right-wingers love to bring up cases of fake hate crimes and overblown racial-profiling claims as proof that these phenomena don't really exist to the extent that their victims claim. (See Ann Coulter for the most recent example, but Michelle Malkin has made a minor cottage industry out of this specious narrative.) But they sure do love it when a minority conservative can make a reverse-the-charges accusation (usually involving race) against liberals -- no matter how dubious the claims.

We can see, moreover, that the right-wing teabaggers intend to create as much physical provocation as possible and then claim victimhood when something erupts -- even when there's nothing. (See yesterday's history lesson for more on this.)

Even worse, this kind of nonsense creates permission for right-wingers to then indulge in the "defensive" violence we've read them fantasizing about on right-wing gun forums. You know, that "Second Amendment" threat we've been hearing.

At the end of the video, I've added a snip from a friend of Gladney's, who remarks: "I wish I'd been there with you, bro, it'd have turned out a lot different, I promise you."

That's what worries the rest of us.

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