Mike Stark, a blogger, Marine veteran, constituent and first-year law student at the University of Virginia, walked up to Sen. George Allen (R-VA) after a rally in Charlottesville this morning, and asked the senator to release his arrest records and confirm or deny reports that he spit on or otherwise assaulted his first wife. In response, Stark was assaulted himself.
As the TV footage shows, Stark was tackled by Allen staffers who slammed him head-first into a glass wall before dragging him out of the Omni Hotel. Stark intends to file charges.
Stark was not a “protester” as the news clip reports. He is a blogger and citizen journalist — just like me. Allen had gone to the lobby to field questions from the media, and Stark had as much of a right to be there as any other member of the press. And he certainly had the right not to be physically assaulted by Allen’s thugs.
Allen has a reputation for using violent metaphors, famously saying of Democrats in 1994: “Let’s enjoy knocking their soft teeth down their whiny throats.” Well this time, some of his staffers decided to take him literally.
Right-wingers intentionally choose violent rhetoric like this because they want to intimidate the opposition. And when words don’t work, eventually some of their loyalists will attempt to follow up with action. This is thuggery. This is the stuff of fascism.
What we have witnessed today is a crime, the grounds for a lawsuit, and I hope, the end of Sen. Allen’s political career.