“Don’t Tread on Me… Tread on Her” – the tea party gets violent

Last night, in Lexington, Kentucky, a young woman by the name of Lauren Valle was assaulted outside a debate between Senate candidates Rand Paul and Jack Conway. She was approaching Paul as he made his way into the venue, in hopes of giving him an “employee of the month” award on behalf of the new MoveOn-created entity Republicorp, when she was attacked by Paul supporters. (Footage of a Republicorp representative bestowing a similar award upon Wisconsin Senator-Designate Ron Johnson can be found here.)

Here’s the video of Valle being forced to the ground and stomped on:

I can certainly understand how she might have spooked people as she made her way toward the candidate, but I think most everyone would agree that the stomp to the back of her head, after she was down and clearly immobilized, was, at the very least, both malicious and gratuitous. And, if what she claims is true, and the men who took her down and stomped on her head knew who she was, and knew that she didn’t pose a security threat, well, then it’s just downright evil.

Oh, and the guy who stomped on the back of her head, after she had been wrestled to the ground, and had been laying still, wasn’t just some rube from the sticks. He’s been identified as Tim Profitt, a county coordinator for Rand Paul.

donttreadAs for the other guy – the guy with the “Don’t Tread on Me” button pictured here, who tackled her and held her down while her neck was being stomped on – he’s been identified too. His name is Mike Pezzano.

Valle, who claimed to be fine immediately after the incident, was later transported to the hospital, and the police are now looking into filing charges against her assailants.

As you might expect, many are blaming her for what happened. Some Paul supporters, however, are taking it a step further, and claiming that people on their side were hurt as well, pointing to, if you can believe it, a woman whose foot was stepped on by a Conway supporter… In spite of having tons to do tonight, I’ve spent the better part of the last hour reading through comments left on various sites by the Tea Partiers of Kentucky. Most, while cruel, aren’t all that interesting. Quite a few folks said, for instance, that they wished that it was Nancy Pelosi who had had gotten head stomped against the curb. Most folks, I think it’s safe to say, think Valle got what was coming to her, seeing as how she was a “socialist thug bused in by Conway.” But, here’s my favorite comment, left in a thread following an article in a Kentucky newspaper:

Watched the youtube version. This is such a fake. I have seen better acting in a high school play. They “tear off” her wig, then it goes back on… to be “torn off” again? Then the stomper places his foot, poses for the the photo Op, then “stomps”. Move-on needs to hire better actors. Seesh, I was expecting a ketchup pack explosion of fake blood to top it off. Strike my initial comment, I don’t want to insult high school thespians.

That’s right – that socialist, lesbian thug orchestrated the whole thing to make Rand I don’t have a problem with segregation Paul and his supporters look bad!

Additional material on the growing threat of violence on the right, and how it’s not their fault, can be found here.


update: Paul, to his credit, has fired Profitt.

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  1. Posted October 27, 2010 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Don’t forget the bomb threat at NPR yesterday or Miller’s band of thugs in Alaska. It’s becoming a habit and it’s disturbing.

  2. Knox
    Posted October 27, 2010 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    I was going to mention Miller as well. His goons “arrested” a liberal blogger several days ago, holding him against his will. He had to be freed by the real police. upon their arrival.

  3. b
    Posted October 27, 2010 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    all i can say about all this is that it is…..sick!

  4. Posted October 27, 2010 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Having read a number of comments about this story from other Tea Baggers, I became interested in the parallels of violent Tea Baggers and wife beaters.

    “While there is not an agreed upon universal psychological profile of a domestic abuser, perpetrators do share a behavioral profile that is described as “an ongoing pattern of coercive control involving various forms of intimidation, and psychological and physical abuse.”

    “Minimizing and denying the abuse. Perpetrators rarely view themselves or their actions as violent or abusive. As a result, they often deny, justify, and minimize their behavior. For example, an abuser might forcibly push the victim down a flight of stairs, then tell others that the victim tripped.”

    “Projecting blame. Abusers often engage in an insidious type of manipulation that involves blaming the victim for the violent behavior. Such perpetrators may accuse the victim of “pushing buttons” or “provoking” the abuse. By diverting attention to the victim’s actions, the perpetrator avoids taking responsibility for the abusive behavior. In addition to projecting blame on the victim, abusers also may project blame on circumstances, such as making the excuse that alcohol or stress caused the violence. “

  5. John Galt
    Posted October 27, 2010 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Fist off, she was threatening to these men. She’s almost 5 feet tall, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she weighed 100 pounds. Second, I see nothing wrong with the fact that an employee of the Paul campaign have her a freedom nudge with his foot in order to keep her our of harm’s way. If anything, he should be commended.

  6. Edward
    Posted October 27, 2010 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Peter, I think there are a lot of characteristics shared by assholes. Good point, though.

  7. Posted October 27, 2010 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Yes, assholes should form their own party, The Asshole Party.

  8. Andy C
    Posted October 27, 2010 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Remember when the Klan use to hold their annual rally in Ann Arbor and hundreds of idiots would riot in the streets in protest, smashing windows, etc? Hell one guy got stomped on by multiple people because he had a confederate flag on his t-shirt under his jacket. Point is, mob mentality brings out the worst in ALL people.

    Also, hats off to Lauren Valle, she is quite the trooper. We need more guttzy people like her around. I’m not a MoveOn fan but walking into that crowd and trying to present that award was a great idea.

  9. Kim
    Posted October 27, 2010 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    My favorite Reddit exchange on this topic:

    Compuoddity- If you look at the video in slow motion, he was stepping on her shoulder and his foot slipped and fell off onto her head. Not that this excuses anything, but it’s far different from what I first saw, which was the guy intentionally stepping on her.

    mooggeek- If you look at the video backwards, Pezzano was rescuing her from Profitt, who was using her as a footstool, helping her up and hugging her…at an Obama rally.

    The_TWAT_Team- If you watch Lonesome Dove backwards, it’s about zombie cowboys who travel south to eke out a simple but pleasant life in Southern Texas.

  10. Posted October 27, 2010 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Yeah, i do remember that. I personally knew people who went there with the express intent of throwing bricks at the Nazis. While a fun thing to imagine, in practice, it’s a miserable and deplorable idea and I condemned it at the time.

    You are right, mob mentality brings out the worst in everybody.

    I don’t think these guys are representative of all Tea Baggers, but the unwillingness of people to condemn their thuggish and stupid actions is disturbing to me.

  11. 734
    Posted October 27, 2010 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    This isn’t so bad. There are Tea Partiers running for office who have actually murdered people.


  12. Bob
    Posted October 27, 2010 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    No excuse for what they did, Rand Paul is a dick and his followers are idiots. But anyone catch her interview with Olbermann? I kinda wanted to step on her head (metaphorically) too. Some of the moveon.org people make me rethink calling myself a progressive.

  13. Frogger
    Posted October 27, 2010 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    “Humble yourself before Aqua Buddha”

    In a perfect world, this woman would be shackled to a stove somewhere, or serving lunch at a segregated lunch counter, or working in a mine without any costly safety precautions.

  14. Stephen
    Posted October 27, 2010 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Here’s an update — the guy who stomped her head thinks he’s entitled to an apology.

    “I don’t think it’s that big of a deal,” Profitt told WKYT. “I would like for her to apologize to me to be honest with you.”

    While the victim, Lauren Valle, said Tuesday that she believed the campaign workers’ violent reaction to her presence there was “premeditated,” Profitt told WKYT that he thought Valle was following a strict protocol with the intent of creating controversy.

    “She’s a professional at what she does,” Profitt said, “and I think when all the facts come out, I think people will see that she was the one that initiated the whole thing.”

    He then blamed the forceful downward motion of his foot on the head of Valle as a function of chronic back pain, a claim he has made before:

    “I put my foot on her, and I did push her down at the very end, and I told her to stay down. I actually put my foot on her to — I couldn’t bend over because I have issues with my back,” Profitt said.


  15. Posted October 27, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Apologize? Even Dick Cheney didn’t ask the guy that he shot in the face for an apology. Okay sure, the guy did apologize, but Dick didn’t ASK for it (did he?)

    Speaking of asking for it…yeah, what Peter and Edward said is right. In my legal aid days, I worked with domestic violence agencies and the way you knew someone was a beater (there were women beaters too…pretty rare just cuz we are usually smaller than you guys) was when s/he would never take responsibility for what happened. It was always someone else’s fault… kinda almost like how a segment of folks blame “affirmative action” (i.e. the wimmins and the blacks) for their failure to achieve anything in life.

  16. Jules
    Posted October 27, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Hey, Bob, I saw that interview. What the heck are you talking about? She was fine. Seriously, wtf?

  17. Posted October 27, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    I agree. MoveOn sucks but that doesn’t excuse how this woman was treated. These men are adults, they should know better.

  18. Oliva
    Posted October 27, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    I admit I’m a tenderfoot (in keeping with the Lonesome Dove>/i> reference in the Reddit comments) in this very depressing world of Teabaggery, but to me Palin was violent in her 2008 RNC speech–not the pitbull part, though she was suggesting violence, but the whole thing. People talked about her as “combative” and such, but she went beyond that; she was sarcastic, demeaning, chilling, and mean. Truly ugly. And her “reload” and “Mama Grizzly” and other such comments all are violent.

    And like the example of domestic violence, plenty of damage and destruction comes from verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse.

    Speaking of which, remember when ABC decided to hire Glenn Beck to do occasional pieces for, I think, Good Morning America, back during his CNN Headline News days? I wonder if anyone there has said publicly what a horrific decision that was. Speaking of violence and its fomenters.

  19. Posted October 27, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    I’m waiting for the barrage of posts from right wingers calling everyone on this blog wusses.

    This year in politics has to be the ugliest I’ve seen in my 41 years, though, and it just seems to be getting worse.

  20. Bob
    Posted October 27, 2010 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    “Hey, Bob, I saw that interview. What the heck are you talking about? She was fine. Seriously, wtf?”

    Was I too hard on her? I made it clear there was no excuse for what happened to her. Maybe it was just the interview with Olbermann, who I find to be an insufferable blowhard. Perhaps a good interviewer would have coaxed something insightful out of her. I just thought she had nothing say. She had a platform to say something meaningful and really didn’t. The main point seemed to be expressing, rather meekly, how she intended to pursue legal action against the idiots who roughed her up. Maybe I’m off…I just found her to be sort of an irritating liberal stereotype. I’ll just blame Olbermann. I think he’s as bad as Beck in his own way, even if I agree with most of his viewpoints.

  21. Ted
    Posted October 27, 2010 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    They may appear similar to you, Bob, but there’s a subtle distinction. Olberman, while being an insufferable prick on occasion, doesn’t lie.

  22. Robert
    Posted October 28, 2010 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    “I’m waiting for the barrage of posts from right wingers calling everyone on this blog wusses.”

    Don’t hold your breath, Peter. There is a reason the fucking phonies who post to this sight completely dodge the threads Mark posts on these sorts of subjects. People who can’t adress criticism are pathetic fucking fakes.

    My $200 bounty on EOS’s identity is still in effect by the way, as is the $100 one on BA.

  23. Knox
    Posted October 28, 2010 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Yeah, where is EOS anyway? I remember him/her saying quite emphatically that the Tea Party gang would never go violent and/or racist.

  24. ytown
    Posted October 28, 2010 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    “Olberman, while being an insufferable prick on occasion, doesn’t lie.”
    Ted, you know this how?

  25. Bob
    Posted October 28, 2010 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I’ll agree that Olbermann has few charges of outright lying leveled against him, on that point Beck is certainly worse. But Olbermann is every bit as mean spirited, even when his message is valid. He has a pretty long list of sexist remarks attributed to him as well. Thing is, Beck is a transparent corporate whore. He’s also a fucking idiot. Mentally unstable, barely educated and a mormon. I realize those are all largely the same thing. Olbermann is smart enough and educated enough to know better. I just think that ultimately his brand of ham-handed rhetoric does the left more harm than good.

  26. Edward
    Posted October 28, 2010 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    To my knowledge, we’ve yet to apprehend a heavily armed fan of Olbermann’s on his way to commit mass murder.

  27. Oliva
    Posted October 28, 2010 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Olbermann has admitted (in a C-SPAN interview and elsewhere) to having a big ego, can laugh at himself even while he spouts self-righteous points. BUT he really did help rouse passions and turn the country away from the filth of Bush/Cheney back in the day. Colbert did his magnificent National Press Club gig right in front of Bush back then, and it did so much, and Olbermann did a pretty powerful job in his first outraged “Special Comment.” He’s done a lot, including getting Maddow on MSNBC. That he has turned into a caricature a bit isn’t great, and I wish he’d get back to greater humility, but he deserves real credit for steering public opinion away from Bush/Cheney back in 2004. He helped a whole lot of people keep their sanity, I do believe.

  28. Meta
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Anders Behring Breivik, the man who last week killed nearly 100 in Norway, is said to have been influenced by American right wing bloggers.


  29. Arthur Trout
    Posted December 9, 2013 at 4:01 am | Permalink

    Thanks, I have recently been searching for info about stomping on the necks of Communists and found this post full of both style and substance. Yours is the greatest I have came upon till now.

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