Bryan will write about this later, I’m sure, but let me tell you: I was eating dinner when Charles sent me the link to his post, and when I saw the picture I literally dropped the fork and scrambled to the phone to call MM’s husband. My hands were still shaking 15 minutes later. I know some people will read that and think I’m exaggerating to claim the mantle of victimhood on her behalf, but I swear to you I’m not. Nor did I freak out because Stark’s a Lefty! and we can’t have Lefties! that close to Michelle. I freaked out because this guy has a history of being physically aggressive to get close to conservatives he doesn’t like, as you’ll see by clicking through the series. Numbers 1 through 8, especially. Which culminated, of course, in this. Like I said to Charles, if some right-wing nut with a habit of pulling belligerent ambush stunts smiled his way into a shoulder-to-shoulder “fan” photo with Jane Hamsher or Jeralyn Merritt or some other lefty woman blogger, the nutroots would go nuclear. And I wouldn’t blame them a bit.

Bryan was right there with her, of course, so I don’t want to overstate the danger, but damage can be done very quickly depending upon the M.O. The lesson here for us is that we simply must take better security precautions. So should the popular lefty bloggers, as there certainly are crazies on both sides. It’s tragic that that’s the price of doing business in the public square these days, but it is.

I know our commenters are going to rush to MM’s defense, but let’s not go popping off in ways that would let Stark don that victim’s mantle I mentioned earlier. Just be thankful she’s okay.

Update: Michelle confirms that she didn’t recognize Stark when they posed for the photo, that he presented himself in friendly terms, etc.

Update: Robert Spencer e-mails:

Security was very bad at CPAC. Floyd and his men were there and they were terrific, but they couldn’t be everywhere. No one was checking badges at the entryway to the exhibit hall. Anyone could have gone in there. Mine was in my pocket this morning and I breezed in with a suitcase and a laptop. The crowds were large and the spaces small, making oversight difficult to nonexistent.