Under the Dome

Greensboro reporter assaulted at rally

A Greensboro reporter was knocked to the ground at the Sarah Palin rally Thursday.

Greensboro News-Record reporter Joe Killian was attempting to interview protesters who supported Barack Obama when he was kicked in the leg by a Palin supporter, according to his blog:

The man began to say something about how of course I was interviewing the Obama people when suddenly, from behind us, the sound of a pro-Obama rap song came blaring out of the windows of a dorm building. We all turned our heads to see Obama signs in the windows.

This was met with curses, screams and chants of "U.S.A" by McCain-Palin folks who crowded under the windows trying to drown it out and yell at the person playing the stereo.

It was a moment of levity in an otherwise very tense situation and so I let out a gentle chuckle and shook my head.

"Oh, you think that’s funny?!" the large bearded man said. His face was turning red. "Yeah, that’s real funny…" he said.

And then he kicked the back of my leg, buckling my right knee and sending me sprawling onto the ground.

Killian searched for a security guard afterward but did not locate the man again.

His colleague, Mark Binker, has more here


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Re: Greensboro reporter assaulted at rally

I wasn't going to make any big deal about the following incident, but it seems as though a pattern is taking shape and so I feel that my story is worth sharing.

I was driving in my neighborhood last Sunday morning when a car got right up on my rear bumper, way too close. Now sometimes cars get close on the interstate, but this was different. We were going about 30mph with no other cars around. Then the fellow zoomed around me and back into my lane before brake-checking me pretty damn hard.

I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. After all, I was driving slow in the left lane. I was driving in the left lane when there were no cars in the right lane. These are the two biggest sins of driving, and in my book they are legitimate grounds for road rage. The only defense for such inconsiderate behavior is when you're about to make a left turn, just like I was (and did).

But something about the combination of the particularly aggressive break-check, the middle finger out of the window, and the McCain-Palin bumper sticker made me suspect that what really upset him was my Obama bumper-sticker.

Now I'm a moderate guy. I'm registered independent and generally agree with some traditionally "liberal" polic positions and some traditionally "conservative" policy positions. I don't vote straight ticket. I have close friends of all persuasions, including apathetic. I get along with all of them. I think Bush has been a poor president, but some of the drastic things I have heard people say about him are absurd.

For the first time in my life I have put a political bumper sticker on my car, and I did it because I believe that Obama is the right man for the job. He's no Messiah; his shortcomings will be apparent in due time. McCain, although he has often been a refreshingly independent voice, has sold out his own legacy by pandering to the extremist social conservatives. If he is elected, I believe that he will be unable to present an independent voice and we will have more of the past 8 years.

Now it is true that the fellow who cut me off didn't physically assault me the way that reporter was assaulted. I will also grant that he probably did not actually want to cause an accident. However, such recklessly violent behavior is disconcerting and scary, even to an able-bodied man like me.

The first question that I ask myself and that I think each of you should ask yourself is this: if I had not filled my anecdote with a thorough description of my moderate poltical tendencies, if I had just said 'some nut almost ran me off the road cause he didn't like my Obama sticker,' how many McCain-Palin supporters out there would have thought to themselves 'I wish he had run your liberal a** off the road.'

I'm not asking how many would *admit* to thinking that, but how rather many McCain supporters feel hate in their heart when they see someone publicly supporting the Obama campaign? Based on what I've seen and heard the past few months, I think the number is large. Emotions are high and opinions are strong, but if you can't bring yourself to act gracefully toward your fellow citizens who have different political preferences, you should ask yourself what sort of democracy you believe in.

The second question I ask is, if my cat-like reflexes hadn't saved the moment and this guy had caused an automobile accident, would he have pulled over, apologized, and admitted he got carried away? Or would he have sped off? Would he have gotten out of his car and provoked an altercation? It was Sunday morning; nobody was around?

A teacher told me one time that the media likes to portray the polarization of the electorate like a graph in the shape of a V, with lots of voters on the far left and far right and very few in the center. In reality the electorate is more like an A, with the largest percentage of voters near the middle and very few out on the edge.

Of course there are 'fringe' elements on both sides, but from where I stand it seems like the fringes are getting mighty wide and the middle ground is feeling narrow. Ever been on a sandbar when the tide is coming in?

Re: Greensboro reporter assaulted at rally

I hope this story will prompt a reporter to ask McCain or Palin for a reaction. Wasn't McCain just recently very indignantly defending the zeal of his mob?

Re: Greensboro reporter assaulted at rally

We've seen on TV that these McCain supporters are out of control, now its happened in our own state of NC.

Now I don't fault someone for supporting a different candidate than myself, but when you physically abuse someone, that's cross a line. You might also have problems with the media, again fine, but committing the crime of assault is just plain pathetic. THIS MUST STOP. It is this vain that I'm encouraging everyone to fight back, by giving a few hours this weekend at your local Obama office to call voters, canvass, or get folks to the one stop early voting (to vote or register and vote).

Also, let your undecided friends and neighbors know what the McCain campaign is condoning.

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