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  • Ack

    Well, I have to say, that while I think that Allen’s workers did go too far, I also think that Stark was wrong. He was asking inappropriate and unneeded questions. In fact, I do think he was heckling.

    Honestly, what purpose does it do to lower the threshold of political discourse to this level?

  • AustinRoth

    His workers did not go to far; they did thir jobs. Have you seen this series of photographs from just prior to the ‘incident’? Changes the perspective entirely:
    Heckler subdued at Allen event

  • C Stanley

    You beat me to it AustinRoth. Ed Morrissey has that series of photos up, too. What were some people saying about context earlier today?

  • AustinRoth

    I forgot the polite hat tip to the Captain. My bad.

  • dan

    i’ll do ya one better. i’ve seen the video (local DC newscast) of that which you posted the photos for just before the ‘incident’. and they absolutely did go to far.

    i dunno what you think those photos do to exonerate the ‘pacifiers’… but you can do a lot with photos. and by that i mean leave a few frames out to convey the idea you want.

    at the time just before stark was grabbed, initially, he posed no threat. he was just standing and yelling, the balding gentleman with the glasses grabbed his hands and held him, and another guy came from off camera and just plain horsecollared him.

    and who are these guys? security detail? random allen supporters?

    i ask, if you feel they were in the right, then what is to stop anyone from randomly tackling someone they feel is threatening someone else?

  • Dan’s right. I saw the video as well–there is no doubt in my mind on this one.

  • I should add that while I’m quite skeptical that the heckler was contributing to an informed electorate in any meaningful way, that does not mean that the right response is to tackle him. Dumb speech should not be met with violence.

  • dan

    seconded.

  • Elrod

    This is funny. I saw the photo frames and just knew, right there, that they were “reorganized” to make it look like Stark was attacking Allen. How did I know that? Intuition.

  • C Stanley

    Now this is getting ridiculous. Elrod, on what basis can you say that the photos were reorganized? And they don’t show Stark attacking Allen, but they do show him shoving another individual out of the way in order to get through a doorway to get access to Allen. And contrary to what you guys seem to believe, the video does NOT show what the WaPo said it did, neither Stark “being put in a chokehold” nor either of their two other statements, being “slammed to the floor” or “thrown against a window”. In the video, Stark is grabbed by some guys and then they are directly in front of the camera, so you can’t see how they are holding Stark, and if I’m not mistaken he is talking the whole time, hardly being choked. It looks to me like he intentionally drops to his knees (again, the other men are blocking the view of Stark at that point so you can’t really tell what happens). Stark immediately gets to his feet and is shown the door, again talking (without even being out of breath) the entire time. Yet the WaPo characterizes this in ways that lead people to view something that isn’t captured on the film- nice piece of unbiased journalism, that.

  • For what it’s worth, I defended the Allen staff in the comments section after Holly’s original post on this issue, but after watching video that more clearly showed what happened I now firmly believe that the force used was excessive. Yes, the heckler was annoying and should have been dealt with or removed, but a politician and his staff should know better than to horse collar a guy and then slam him against a wall, especially in front of cameras.

    The issue for Allen is that he’s again showing he doesn’t handle these sorts of situations well, and that reflects poorly on his abilities as a politician. Like Kerry, all he had to do was deal with the issue immediately and defuse it – “I’m sorry that members of my staff overreacted in what they felt was a threatening situation, and I apologize to Mr. Stark.” would have solved the problem. Instead he responded with “stuff like that happens”, leaving us to wonder how competent he really is.

  • C Stanley – a video of the incident can be found here.

  • Rubyeyes

    This is a non-story. The guy was trying to make a scene which he did.

    How anyone can say they used too much force is beyond me. He’s not hurt, Allen is not hurt – life goes on. The simple fact is you can never be too safe.

  • Eric

    I think the force used was unnecessary but that force wold have been justified. Seeing how these people are not professionals I wouldn’t get too worked up. There is no doubt from the pics and video that the heckler was the first one to use violence and should of been stopped and held for the police instead of shown the door. Then the force used to “tackle” him would of been justified.

  • Kim Ritter

    love that knee-jerk reaction from the right—-now the context is important, but it wasn’t in Kerry’s gaffe, right?

  • Eric

    So Kim it isn’t important that the man wrestled to the ground had just assaulted someone? Personally I could care less about Kerry and have trouble imagining why anyone would care.

  • Eric

    And bu the way Kerry caused the problem by saying he had nothing to apologize for. If he misspoke and people were offended how freaking hard is it to say “sorry if that offended anyone it’s not what I ment or was trying to say”. No instead he used it to try and bash repubs for his own mistake creating this dumb-ass circus. Bashing anyone but Kerry is stupid.

  • BeYourGuest

    I’m really very sympathetic to the idea that a loud guy carrying a backpack and moving agressively toward the Governor deserves to be wrestled to the ground. So I’m with Austin Roth on that. But I don’t see the point in denying what happened–or in blaming the Washington Post for reporting it.

    Now that I’ve seen the videotape (thanks Ryan H!), I do see a chokehold (quickly evaded–or maybe quickly released), a slam into a window and then to the floor. And then, everybody gets up and walks away.

    As for the photographs, I see the staffer initiating physical contact. But those sure are pretty close quarters.

    Now, the tape is pretty short. Maybe the loud guy started out heckling in a less agressive tone and was met by staffers trying to protect–well, not so much the Governor as trying to protect the Governor’s bubble. (I hope that makes sense.)

    I don’t think the occasional bit of heckling is out of place. If I saw Allen–or, say, Dick Cheney–at the mall, I might also have a choice comment to make to him. I would expect that person to endure and ignore me.

    But if I’m on the jury, I’m not voting the loud guy a million dollars in damages, because he’s going too far.

  • Holly in Cincinnati

    Mr. Stark’s comments can be found here.

  • Kim Ritter

    Ok I’ll show restraint and not use the “jack boots” fascist reference here. I agree with BYG- He was a heckler who asked a question that Allen’s handlers didn’t like about his sealed divorce records and his sealed arrest record from the ’70’s. That’s when the handler slammed him to the ground saying “Now you’re getting hurt”. I think the force WAS clearly excessive, but don’t buy that he was just an innocent constituent who wanted to ask a question, either.

  • Stark moves towards room door to follow Allen as Allen leaves the room, a staffer tries to block Stark. Stark dances the staffer to the door and bodily shoves the staffer out of the way then tries to shut the door to block the staffer.

    Stark continues into the hall and quickly approaches Allen and gets directly in Allen’s face (well inside “personal space”). Allen turns away and Stark moves towards him, but is intercepted by the “Allen supporter” and a security man. (You can spot the security easily–they’re the guys in the brown jackets.) Stark tries to push past the supporter, who is telling him to leave. Security man steps in and goes for a headlock, which Stark backs out of. The security man manages to keep a grip on Stark’s shirt and with the supporter on the other side of Stark, turns him away, gets him headed away from Allen. At that point Stark wiggles loose from the security man but not the supporter.

    Stark tries to turn back towards Allen, and the supporter takes him to the ground with a waist hold as more security steps forward. Supporter keeps him there while security steps in, they take Stark to the door.

    Security should never have let him even close with a backpack unless they’d inspected it first. The only clear “assault” I saw in the whole affair was done by Stark, bodily shoving aside the man in the door who tries to block him. Past that was fairly reasonable (and believe it or not, fairly gentle) response in a security situation. Tape’s not good enough to see how the hands were playing in the first face-to-face with white-shirt, but as they come into sight it looks as if Stark has tried to grab white-shirt’s hand and gets pushed back. In any case they’re holding each other right there.

    Bet Allen tightens up his security. He should.

  • Kevin H

    Seems like neither the picture series nor the video posted here tells the complete story.

    There are gaps between picture 8 and 9, when the heckler is being relatively subdued, and then between 17 and 18 during the time in which the heckler fell/ was thrown into the window/on to the ground.

    The video just doesn’t start soon enough. It misses the whole first 8 frames. You get to see a bit more of the same recording on youtube. And it definately looked like something happened. I’d love to see some raw unedited footage starting 30 seconds before the video I linked.

    The claim of a ‘choke hold’ is a bold exageration. The younger of the two star staffers seems to grab the heckler’s jacket at the upper arm and back. I think I’d call it a “clumsy, aggressive grab”. I’d say that it was ok given the series of events that precedes the video.

    Now the incident that ends up with the heckler on the ground. It is really hard to tell from the video if he fell or was thrown. It looks like at around 0:24-0:25 (in the video I linked) the heckler is starting to fall to the right. Nothing obvious happens to him to make him fall. Then at ~0:26 it looks like the older staffer throws his sholders to the right, accelerating rather than slowing the man’s fall, while saying ‘now your getting personal’. Really a tough call. I’d want to see a video from the front before I made any conclusive judgement about the incident. If I had to guess on what I’ve seen so far, looks like the older staffer got a little emotional and a bit out of hand.

    As to Allen’s comments: ‘Things like that happen’. Peoply get into fights. Fights break out in bars, in lines etc. We can lump people into two broad categories on their reactions to that type of events. There are those who are very concerned and want to make sure everyone is all right and noone’s feelings are hurt, and there are those who say ‘things like that happen’. I probably fall in the first category. I’ve only been in one fight in 7th grade and it lasted all of 20 seconds. George Allen falls into the later category. I don’t think it really matters to me which category my politician falls into. There are much more important things to be worried about. Much more concerning to me is his use of racial slurs in the past.

    I hope this isn’t the reason people vote for Webb, but I hope people do vote for him none the less.

  • Uncle Joe McCarthy

    funny how still pics lie….the local station that took the vid has the entire sequence in context, and that obese dude was physically blocking mike’s path…

    does mike ask inapropriate questions? not when you consider that wingnuts like to hammer the character issue down everyone’s throats

    the allen campaign knows exactly who mike is…for it was mike who was asking the racism questions long before the maccaca comment.

    if the campaign was indeed concerned about security, why did the level of physicality increase after mike yelled his spitting question, with the old man stating “now youre getting personal”

    why didnt allen call for hotel security?

    anyone who is an apologist for allen is this matter is blind

    so anyway, did allen spit on his first wife? and does he hate black people?

  • Rambie

    Rubyeyes: This is a non-story. The guy was trying to make a scene which he did.

    I do think that Allen’s security people. or “supporters”, went a little to aggressive. However, something occurred before the video clips started.

    KevinH: …I’d love to see some raw unedited footage starting 30 seconds before the video I linked.

    Agreed, a more complete video would help to determine what happened. I think the truth is somewhere in between the two sides.

  • I hope this isn’t the reason people vote for Webb, but I hope people do vote for him none the less.

    You’d think Allen’s inept campaiging would be enough. Or their forcing people to read even snippets of Webb’s turgidly poor prose. Webb never forced that abysmal writing on anyone, Allen’s supporters did. On the brighter side, Allen’s inept campaigning has removed him from any serious 2008 consideration.

    White-shirt should’ve let the pros handle it, but frankly, the pros looked like they were caught WAY short. Stark shoulda been swarmed when he assaulted the staffer in the doorway, and he should never have gotten that close to Allen after that. BAD security guys! No cookie! No sympathy for Stark, though–he went in looking to make trouble and got what he was after. He was physically and aggressively confrontational, and Allen’s security should have covered him much better.

  • Rudi

    I hear the photographer is a plant from Reuters and a terrorist who hates our freedom and Family Values. How can anyone malign a California closet Jew who plays redneck cowboy. Now his opponent probably help secret talks with the VC and Red Chinese……

  • BeYourGuest

    Hey!

    I read Webb’s novel Fields of Fire a couple of years ago–it was really pretty good!

    Definitely not turgid.

  • Holly in Cincinnati

    No, Rudi’s not an anti-Semite:

    How can anyone malign a California closet Jew who plays redneck cowboy.

  • BeYourGuest

    But, Tully, I did enjoy your narrative rendition of the events of the video.

    You definitely have literary talent!

    Plua–“Stark”. What a great for a character in a thriller.

  • Pyst

    Nope, Rudi isn’t, but Allen did play out that very scenario Rudi described to a T didn’t he?

    I wonder how Allen felt about Jews when he was curled up in his Confederate flag on cold nights?

  • Rudi

    I really liked the pork chop comment. And this idiot had thoughts of being President. Forgive my Kerry moment, I messed up the snark – LOL. I could link to Sailer and VDare to find……

  • AustinRoth

    While I don’t live in Virginia anymore and have no dog in this race, I would definitely support Webb over Allen, for any number of the obvious reasons.

    But those of you that despise Allen so much that you would prefer his security detail wait until actual harm comes to Allen, or say ‘pretty please step back’ are the pathetic partisans in this case.

    What I see in the video is untrained security trying to restrain a threat, and not being very adept, resorting to brute force over skilled leverage techniques.

    If the Secret Service had been Allen’s security, that asshole would not have gotten through the door or within 20 feet of Allen. They would have slammed him to the ground so fast, and without missing their holds, and then ‘escorted’ him from the vicinity with just as much if not more force, just more expertly applied.

    All I see the Allen security being guilty of is not being well trained in subduing potential threats.

  • Rudi

    AR I agree with you on this one.
    1) Stark is not an innocent, he went looking for a incident. He is probably as well know as the maccaca.
    2) His security is poor, they took a heckling incident and made it a news story. Allen’s campaign makes the Bush crowd look like one of the Mt Rushmore crowd.
    3) Now if they escorted him outside and baet the sh** out of him beyond the cameras, that would be a story.

  • Uncle Joe McCarthy

    so if a constituent asks questions a candidate doesnt like, he becomes a heckler?

    sorry guys, that dog wont hunt

    mike is the same guy who asked allen if he ever used the word nigger…at that time, no physicality occured

    i cannot believe their are so many apologists for allen on this site

    you dont like the questions, ignore it, or ask hotel security to excort the gentleman out…what occured was inexcusable

  • Eric

    And according to everything I’ve seen it’s the Heckler who got physical first. He was grabbed and they tried to remove him before he asked about Allen spitting on his first wife. The force didn’t seem to be in response to his question. I personally don’t give a damn about Allen and that is such weak BS trying to play off everyone who sees it differently than you as some sort of partisan. I’m looking at this from a security standpoint and I guaranty I would of had Mike face down in cuffs about 2 seconds after he first pushed thru the doorway while we was still shoving the campaign workers.

  • Kim Ritter

    that is such weak BS trying to play off everyone who sees it differently than you as some sort of partisan.

    No ones saying that if you see it differently it is because you are a partisan. But theres no doubt that it influences whether you take a candidate’s version at face value or question it further. The more partisan you are, the more resistance you have to look at it fairly—human nature. Both C Stanley and I have admitted that it colors our viewpoint—or are you immune to that??

  • C Stanley

    Kim Ritter said:

    No ones saying that if you see it differently it is because you are a partisan

    Uncle Joe McCarthy said:

    i cannot believe their are so many apologists for allen on this site

    OK, so he didn’t use the exact wording, but close enough.

  • AustinRoth

    Uncle Joe – you are the apologist. The man forced his way past Allan’s security, tried to slam a dorr on them so he could get closer, and was the first to start shoving. So he got the worst of it. Too bad. He was not politely asking questions, or even just yelling rude questions. It was his actions pushing through the security detail to get close that was the precipitating incident. He is at fault. Period, end of story.

  • Kim Ritter

    Uh, AR- With all due respect, there’s wiggle room in the video and pictures. What I saw was he did push past security and ask the questions—but it was when they realized the questions were about Allen’s divorce records–which have been mysteriously sealed from public view and ex-wife given a hefty settlement to keep her trap shut, they decided to take him down “Now you’re getting hurt”.

    Just makes me a little curious at what Allen’s hiding in those divorce records. Kinda reminds me of another Republican-Congressman Sherman who paid his mistress in a secret settlement not to talk about their relationship until after Election Day. Seems there’s alot of money at work to keep blabbering mouths shut, otherwise the Republicans might really be facing a wipeout!

  • C Stanley

    Kim,
    For someone who has derided Karl Rove’s smear tactics, you sure seem interested in having Republican’s personal foibles exposed. Do you really want to go there? Tit for tat, is that it?

  • BeYourGuest

    Unbelievable!

    The Allen campaign’s main talking point has been that Webb is a pervert, based on a misread passage in a novel he wrote thirty years ago.

    Meanwhile, in the real world of thiry years ago, George Allen’s divorce records were sealed!!!!!

    Is Webb just supposed to be be defenseless?

  • AustinRoth

    You want to imply they were sealed for a reason that reflects badly on Allen. Actually, rarely do judges do that. They normally get sealed due to unsubstantiated claims that would be harmful, but are in the official documents.

    I will give an example from my own life. When my wife and I were much younger, we almost divorced. Her attorney convinced her to make unsubstantiated (and patently false) claims of physical and sexual abuse by myself against my children to try and get larger alimony and total custody without visitation as an intial position, as so to force me to settle on terms favorable to her.

    After a court appointed phyciatrist reviewed my children’s medical records, interviewed them, and interviewed people who knew us, he reported back to the judge the accusations were completely baseless and without merit.

    My wife and I subsequently reconciled, and the judge ordered the proceedings and filings sealed as they are so potentially damaging to me.

    So I have a little different view on this.

    BTW – we filed a joint complaint against her attorney, which was upheld and turned out to be his third in two years. He was forced to return all payments and fees to her, and was disbarred.

    All in all, turned out OK for us, as we recently celebrated 21 years of marriage and counting.

  • C Stanley

    Wow, AustinRoth, what a powerful story. Glad it has a happy ending 🙂

  • BeYourGuest

    Austin Roth–

    I also find your story amazing. Congradulations on your long marriage!

    Congradulations also on getting a piece of [redacted] lawyer disbarred! Seriously–you’re a hero for taking that distasteful burden on, and for seeing it through.

    But my question remains.

    A political party and it’s sound machine spent at least a week calling Jim Webb a pervert.

    Is Webb just supposed to be be defenseless in face of that mudslinging?

  • Kim Ritter

    CS- What I am interested in is divided government. In an end to the twelve-year domination of one party over the other, of 50.5% of the population over 49.5% of the population. Republicans are the ones who made personal character an issue by impeaching Bill Clinton and masquerading as the party of family values. I would just like to see the masks removed.

  • Noone Really

    After looking at both the pictures and the video, I’m of the opinion that a guy with a backpack forcing his way around folks to ask a question, especially with his tone, represents a possible threat. I’m also of the opinion that Allen’s “rescuers” for lack of better term atm, did a piss poor job of handling that potential threat. So I think that both the guy and Allen’s people handled that situation poorly.

    You’re never going to get a response on a question like that, much less in the tone he was using and the actions he was taking. That was stupid, pointless, and nothing more than a way to get on the camera and CNN. It didn’t solve anything and made for an embarassing situation for all those involved. And if it was the guy’s intent to force Allen’s people into that situation where they had to forcefully remove him, then he’s just an ass, plain and simple.

  • Eric

    Kim, If you watch the video they were trying to remove the guy before he started yelling about Allen spitting on his wife. Check it out, it was after the headlock. Now that question did get the chubby grey haired guy worked up, but they had already gotten aggressive before that. You keep saying “Now you’re getting hurt” like that’s a quote. It’s not. Listen again, that’s not what’s said.
    BYG you keep going on about all this other political BS. Because Allen’s a piece of [email protected]#t doesn’t mean there was anything wrong but people who didn’t know what they were doing playing security. I couldn’t care less what was yelled or why. They had every right to remove him and to use force to do so. They just weren’t very good at it.

  • BeYourGuest

    Eric–

    I have a comment in this thread saying the same thing you are saying–that they did the right thing in removing him by force.

    A link to that comment of mine is HERE. It’s timestamped “11.2.2006 7:16pm” if you’d prefer to do a CTRL + F search for it.

    I understand that this is a pretty long thread, so I’m not accusing you of any intentional misepresentation. But you are 180 degrees from being correct.

    Further, if you look at my political BS in this thread, you’ll see that it is in reponse to the political BS of others. So I don’t really see any ground for complaint on that score either.

  • Eric

    BYG,
    Great now show me where I stated you said anything that contradicts that. I made several statements trying to stay on point. My comment was not that you were saying anything about the fight, but that indeed you were not saying anything about the fight that the post was about.

  • BeYourGuest

    Eric–

    I refer you to this (LINK.) comment of yours, specifically the last paragraph, where you address me like this:

    BYG you keep going on about all this other political BS. Because Allen’s a piece of [email protected]#t doesn’t mean there was anything wrong but people who didn’t know what they were doing playing security. I couldn’t care less what was yelled or why. They had every right to remove him and to use force to do so. They just weren’t very good at it.

    You’re certainly closely juxtaposing my “political BS” with the notion that Allen’s staff had no right to remove the loud guy. I have clearly stated the opposite on this thread–Allen’s people were right to remove him, by force.

    Are you now saying that juxtaposition was meaningless? I ask because I can only read your words, Eric, not your mind.

    As for what you call my “political BS”, I am mostly responding to comments made by others. Here’s an example:

    Quoting C Stanley: (LINK)

    Kim,
    For someone who has derided Karl Rove’s smear tactics, you sure seem interested in having Republican’s personal foibles exposed. Do you really want to go there? Tit for tat, is that it?

    11.3.2006 12:42pm

    My reply to that is this: (LINK)

    Unbelievable!

    The Allen campaign’s main talking point has been that Webb is a pervert, based on a misread passage in a novel he wrote thirty years ago.

    Meanwhile, in the real world of thiry years ago, George Allen’s divorce records were sealed!!!!!

    Is Webb just supposed to be be defenseless?

    11.3.2006 12:57pm

    So I don’t think I’m the first one to go off the topic here. Even if I was, I’m not sure that’s much of a criticism. In fact, these threads are full of conversations that develop away from the original topic. That’s one of the enjoyable things about commenting here.

    But you’re free to call my comments BS, Eric, if that’s all you’ve got.

  • Eric

    Great some one else did it so you can too. And here we go again off topic.

    I was referring to your complain about webb not being able to use Allen’s divorce records against him and how you thought that was unfair. Not on topic. Any “juxtaposition” was not intended, I stated what I thought and pitching in with unrelated political “BS” is just that.

  • BeYourGuest

    Eric–

    Anyone who’s still reading this thread can go back and see for themselves how the discussion here developed and what I said. I’m satisfied with that.

    Otherwise, I look forward to seeing you police other comment threads here for topicality.

    ; )

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