The limits of civic discourse and modern medical science were tested in Los Angeles on Wednesday when a MoveOn.org protester whose feelings became inflamed over the issue of providing health care to all was moved to bite off part of the finger of a by-standard during the course of an altercation which broke out at a protest. Since the victim was 65, government health care was able to step in (in the form of Medicare) to provide care, but failed to succeed in reattaching the finger, which was severed at the first joint.
One man bit off part of another man’s finger when a health care reform demonstration turned violent.
William Rice said doctors did not reattach the bitten-off part of his left pinky after he got in the middle of a Southern California rally Wednesday night that he said was ”very scary.”
”I didn’t go out to demonstrate my beliefs, I happened to be driving by and I stopped to ask people what their purpose was,” Rice, 65, said in a telephone interview Thursday. ”I had no signs, I was not part of the demonstration.”
About 100 demonstrators in favor of health care reform had gathered on a Thousand Oaks street corner for an event organized by MoveOn.org. About 25 counterdemonstrators gathered across the street.
Rice declined to say Thursday which side of the debate he falls on.
Ventura County sheriff’s spokesman Eric Buschow said a confrontation erupted after the biter crossed from the MoveOn.org side of the street to the counterprotest, where Rice was standing.
A loud scuffle ensued, punches were thrown, and the tip of Rice’s finger was bitten off, Buschow said.
The biter fled before authorities arrived. He could face felony mayhem charges.
”We don’t know the identity of the man who bit the finger off,” Buschow said. ”We want to contact him and get his side of the story.”
Personally, I always tell my children “there’s no excuse for biting”, but that law may not be on the books in California, and it’s certainly important to make sure that the senior citizen was not violently shoving his pinky into an innocent MoveOn.org protester’s face or taunting him with shouts of “Pull my finger!”
Clearly, this presents a major teachable moment After all, this man might not have been able to get sufficient treatment had he not been covered by a government health care program: Medicare. Indeed, Medicare is a single payer system, such as many more progressive health care advocates support. Clearly, in a world where one never know when one’s finger will be bitten off by a crazed MoveOn.org protester, we need to have health care available to every American.
No word on whether, in light of this new realization, the health care bill will be renamed after a famous biter. The “Mike Tyson Memorial Health Care Bill” anyone?
(Thanks to Scott Carson who pointed me towards the link.)