When Congresscritters Attack

Holy Crap!

Follow the link to see an unprovoked assault on some college student when he asks a member of Congress a simple question.

Dan weighs in with some thoughts about self defense. I would much prefer it if people could carry pepper spray on the streets of Washington without first being required to register with the police. A little spritz in the eyes would not only have ended the attack toot sweet, but it would also produce a sight that I have become convinced is impossible.

A Democrat would cry real tears.

22 thoughts on “When Congresscritters Attack”

  1. Imagine if the roles were reversed – someone on the street had performed the same physical attacks upon a congressman or senator as this guy did against the student would-be interviewer.

    That assault would have earned the attacker a year in jail, AT LEAST.

    This congressman needs a sharp, public, and painful lesson that elected officials are NOT above the law and that ALL Americans are equal before justice, especially criminal justice. Censure is not nearly a severe enough penalty.

  2. I think he was drunk, as many have speculated. It is also interesting to see the defenses of his behavior of the left. As far as seeing him prosecuted, I wouldn’t get excited. Cynthia McKinney set the precedent by punching a policeman a couple of years ago and nothing happened.

  3. Dan, you said it yourself – you’d think the same way as your commenters 10 years ago. Well, that student is “you 10 years ago”. He doesn’t have a family to defend, he didn’t make your decision to not let any bully go unpunished, and he is clearly knows what punishing that particular bully will result for him. He decided it’s not worth it.
    Like you, I’d fought back (despite having no training whatsoever) – but I can see that the kid was right.

  4. Tatyana – correct observation, although I don’t know that the kid was right – he did what was right for him for sure, but what is “right” is subjective. As you noted, my version of “right” has changed over the years.

  5. The student also knew he had backup, which can make a big difference. He kept his cool and stuck to “I’m just a student”. Notice the switch to the backup camera when the congresscritter grabbed the student’s cell phone.

  6. OK. I read Dan’s post. Dan, I love ya babe, but you are wrong on this one. Not all conflict is fought with physical blows. Knowing what type of conflict you are in and not mistaking it for something else is the first rule of strategy. This whole thing was a beautiful example of 4GW, where the weak provoke the strong and gain a victory by the over-reaction of the strong. The Congressman is “powerful” due to his office, but is physically not much of anything. In fact, he looked drunk in this video. But the kid, by being irritating, hit the jackpot when the Congressman responded with anger on video. That would have been good enough. But then the kid hit the powerball mega jackpot when the congressman responded further with a (very lame) physical response. By dragging out the encounter, by getting it clearly on videotape, and playing up the victim angle, the kid struck a huge blow against this congressman, a huge ROI (to put it in John Robb terms) far beyond what he would reasonably have expected. If the kid had responded with any kind of violence, he would have “lost” the 4GW encounter and handed a victory to the Congressman. Instead he kept his cool, maintained the moral high ground, and won a moral victory, showing the Congressman to be an arrogant prick, creating a great meme that can be used against the Congressman, all at zero cost, other than at most a minor bruise.

    If the congressman had a brain in his head, he’d have smiled, stuck his hand out, said, “who are you, son, is this a school project or something?” Then put his hand on the kids back and gently propelled him down the sidewalk in the direction he was already going, and walked down the street chit-chatting, with the camera presented with the backs of their heads and inaudible audio, useless.

    Punching this guys lights out would have felt good, but it would have been a political defeat. Sometimes you need to be Bruce Lee, sometimes you need to be Heinz Guderian, sometimes you need to Vo Nguyen Giap, or Curtis LeMay or Gerald Templer … and sometimes you need to be Gandhi or Martin Luther King. It is all a matter of selecting a strategy that will defeat the enemy and advance your cause.

    This was only the mirage of a physical encounter resolvable by martial arts. Seeing through that illusion is strategic wisdom, in this case.

    Know your enemy, know yourself, know the type of fight you are in, be victorious in a hundred battles.

  7. Lex – you seem to be making this an us vs. them issue on a political level which wasn’t the point of my post at all. Sure the kid scored a huge political victory against what I feel is an obnoxious, intoxicated rep. And that is fine with me.

    Lets try this again – imagine that the congress critter for a minute is not a congress critter, just another man. That is how I look at it. If I am wrist locked by any man – be he a congressman, or the president or just some joe, I would have the same reaction. I will take action to stop the threat. That is how I am now wired. I have posted further thoughts at LITGM.

  8. Sure, if some random guy gets in a brawl with you, fight him.

    But this is nothing like that.

    In this case the kid was very intentionally engaging in political theatre, hoping to provoke a response, hoping to generate video that would be a useful political weapon.

    This is very much from the Alinsky style play book. The Left has been using it for years. We are now seeing it being turned against them. The point is to put the other side in a position that whatever they do, you win.

    This kid had a strategy, and it worked far better than he had any reason to hope. Good. I hope that ten thousand more like him come along just like him.

    To respond as if it were a run of the mill street brawl would have defeated the whole point.

  9. I read your follow up post. I don’t agree at all that the kid is a p@ssy. He crushed this guy. He may have destroyed this guy’s political career in two minutes. If you pick the level of conflict, engage the enemy when and where you choose, then destroy or at least badly hurt your enemy, you won. This was 100% politics. And the kid won a hands-down victory.

  10. I believe you are giving this kid too much credit. I don’t think that the kid’s thought process was that advanced. I think that he was genuinely surprised and scared when the congressman attacked him. He instinctively went into a shell and pleaded for the congressman to let him go. I am different. If any man violates my personal space with an attack like that I will bring it to a swift end and run away (hopefully). I don’t disagree that a political victory was won, but on a self defense level I believe the kid suffered a major defeat.

  11. I agree he was surprised that the Congressman actually took it to a physical confrontation.

    I don’t think there is a “self-defense level” here.

    The Congressman presented no meaningful threat, he looks old, weak, uncoordinated and probably drunk. Physically, the only thing at stake may have been pride (“…If any man violates my personal space…”), but no genuine danger of any real harm. If it came down to it, the camera guy was there, and it would be two to one in less than a second.

    The only thing in play here was the politics. The kid sought out and initiated a political confrontation. He was looking to generate some kind of useful ammunition in the form of a video record. It played out differently than he figured, but he managed to win an even bigger political victory by letting the whole thing play out for the camera. Repeatedly asking the Congressman to let him go makes the congressman look like a bully. That makes the whole thing more, not less effective politically, to most viewers.

    Actually, the unsung hero here is the camera guy who calmly made a clear record of the whole thing, even when it got weird.

    I am in favor of doing political damage to my political opponents by any lawful means. If that means someone has to choke down pride, fine. That is why I invoked 4GW in the first place. The whole point is to make the powerful look like bullies, by setting up confrontations where the powerful win on the physical plane but lose on the moral plane. It is not a manly or satisfying form of warfare. But it is an effective one. And I only care about results. I only care about defeating the other side.

  12. “The Congressman presented no meaningful threat, he looks old, weak, uncoordinated and probably drunk. Physically, the only thing at stake may have been pride (”…If any man violates my personal space…”), but no genuine danger of any real harm. If it came down to it, the camera guy was there, and it would be two to one in less than a second.”

    The only way you know now that the kid was not in danger of any real harm is because we know how it ends. I agree that the Congressman looked bloated and intoxicated and MAY have presented no meaningful threat. But we didn’t know that until the end of the video, did we? He could have just as easily cold cocked that kid. He obviously has a temper and can get belligerent. The kid didn’t know what was next either. The only way we know that this thing wasn’t going to escalate was the happy ending. I prefer to take these types of situations into my own hands – I won’t wait around for anyone to maybe let go of me. I will make them let go on my terms. If they start it, I will finish it.

    I think we both agree that this is a major loss for the congressman which = a major loss to Dems, which is great. But once again, on a self defense level that kid is a loser.

  13. If the Congressman had cold cocked him, and broken his jaw, that would have been an even bigger victory. The Congressman would have lost his next election for sure and the whole thing would have gotten into the major media. You can see at some point the Congressman realizes he is being an ass, and he tries to put his arm around the kid’s shoulder. Funny.

    The point here was to provoke an angry response. The angrier the better.

    Say, for example, you know there is a Democrat Congressman who is a former cop, very strong, very tough, and known to throw a punch. The whole point of doing this, approaching, asking him a provocative, partisan question which is technically free speech, but is meant to piss him off would be precisely to get him to go apeshit on you. You end up in the hospital, sure, but so what? You are exercising your lawful speech, hoping for a violent response, because you want a political benefit. The Democrat “wins” a meaningless, provoked scuffle, and a Republican takes the guy’s seat away in the next election, because he was videotaped punching some kid. There would be no “self-defense level.” “Losing” the fight would be the whole point. It would be a strategic victory, in exchange for nothing but taking a punch.

    It is like the Palestinians sending their kids out to throw rocks at Israeli tanks, then shooting sniper fire over their heads. The point is, if you are the Palestinians, you want a dead, bloody kid, a bunch of screaming weeping relatives, and most of all you want it all on video, clearly, with pre-positioned cameras. On a self-defense level, you lost a kid. But on the strategic level, that is the whole point. It is theatre, it is a movie, which you produce and direct and you make the other side play to your script. The dead kid is a means, if you are the Palestinians. You win on the moral plane by making your enemy look violent and out of control, you create a martyr.

    In the less violent American form, there is a long tradition of using offensive behavior, usually within lawful limits, to create scenes that make your opponent look bad. It is part of “community organizing”. It was practically invented in Chicago.

  14. I am with Lex on this one. The kid won big. For example, Fox played the video. And of course it will be on YouTube until the end of time (or next election — same thing).

  15. In my gut I agree with Dan. A stand up fight is cleaner. But victory against powerful enemies is only partly achievable with gut level responses. These people don’t fight cleanly or openly. And their aims then are malign and they are relentless. Whatever lawful means work has to be the only criterion. If that means sacrificing our pride, so be it. There is too much at stake to worry about that. I wish it were otherwise but it isn’t.

  16. I am surprissd that you guys think that this kid actually thought that his little “meeting” with the Congressman would escalate into a physical confrontation. I assume that the kid(s) were trying to catch the Congressman saying something wrong and spreading the video.

    In a POLITICAL sense, the fact that the Congressman was (probably) intoxicated and (certainly) not thinking clearly and escalated this into the physical level is a huge win for the kid. I am not arguing that and I have said that repeatedly.

    But I guess I am not wired that way. If any man does something to me like the Congressman did to that kid, it is go time. Right or wrong, that is the way I am now wired and it isn’t going to change.

    Will this kid have the same reaction to the same type of situation if done by, say, a counter protester who doesn’t care about their future on camera? What will the kid do if faced with a mugger on the street? He will get his ass kicked because while he is politely asking for the man to let go, he will get cold cocked, or knifed or hit from behind, etc. If ever approached in this manner you have to take things into your own hands, forcefully, and quickly or you risk injury or worse.

    I haven’t approached this part yet, but the deal with the weird hug at the end was creepy beyond words.

  17. I don’t know what the kid thought. He may have been surprised, though I think most people going into this kind of situation realize that anything can happen. My impression is that this was a highly competent ambush. They may have staked out the victim, waiting until the time was right (after lunch?). The interviewer had the self-control to avoid giving his name, and his face is blurred. He would do well to remain anonymous if he can. Getting hurt isn’t the big risk for these guys. The risk is that they become targets of the Left’s retaliation machine. As it is they may survive to do political battle again.

  18. Dan: “I am surprised that you guys think that this kid actually thought that his little “meeting” with the Congressman would escalate into a physical confrontation.”


    Lex: “I agree he was surprised that the Congressman actually took it to a physical confrontation.”

    The kid was surprised. He was surprised the way a ten year old kid is surprised when he thinks he is going to get a pair of socks for Christmas, and there is a train set under the tree. He got a surprise gift much better than he hoped for.

    The kid and the camera-man kept it cool, dragged it out, made sure it got recorded. They executed on the plan, even when it got weird, they stayed with the program and probably took this guy out politically.

    The Congressman handed these guys a big win when he went physical.

    It would have been an even bigger win if the Congressman had clocked him and given him a bloody nose. It would have been a gigantic win if the Congressman had hit him repeatedly and knocked him down. It would have been a devastating, history shaping win if the Congressman had knocked him down, caused a spinal injury and put him in a wheelchair for life. The worse the kid is made into a victim personally, the bigger the payoff politically.

    Whether or not on a personal level he should be willing and able to defend himself, I don’t care. It is like saying a soldier who exposes himself to fire to accomplish a mission should have the sense to shoot back. Maybe the mission and the risk or harm it entails requires him to do otherwise. It is not about him. It is about the team, the cause. These guys won one for the team, by setting themselves up to be attacked, so the attacker can be shown to be an attacker, on video.

    4GW: learn it, use it, win with it.

  19. “This kid had a strategy, and it worked far better than he had any reason to hope. Good. I hope that ten thousand more like him come along just like him.”

    Actually, if we made the kid the chairman of the RNC, the GOP would have someone with the capacity to form at least a rudimentary game plan, which is better off than it is now.

    The video clearly establishes the kids knew who the Congressman was, a public official and tried to ask him questions. While I concede to Dan that there is still a possibility the Congressman could go life-crisis postal and whip out a .357 or a bowie knife, I think we can agree that being a member of the House of Representatives lowers the probability of that happening significantly.

    Random aggressive street drunk who accosts you, have at it.

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