Report: Violence breaks out at Tampa town hall on health care

The toll: “At least one fistfight” plus “shoving and scuffles.” No word on who started it, how many people were involved, etc, but if the left can turn a memo sent to 10 people by a guy who’s not even a Republican into a nationwide GOP astroturfing conspiracy, surely it can turn some chanting and a fistfight into Kristallnacht. I look forward to MSNBC’s coverage tomorrow.

From what I can tell, it was a protester who got the worst of it. The Teamsters’ handiwork, perchance?

Several of the protestor’s signs bore an image of Obama with his face painted as the Joker, an image that drew protests of racism locally when it appeared on a Web site thought to be associated with the Pinellas Republican party…

One of those involved in a scuffle, Randy Arthur, of Oldsmar said he was injured by those manning the doors and said he would file a police report.

He and his wife, Kathy, were outside the meeting room when organizers tried to close the doors. Randy Arthur and others tried to stop them “and he didn’t give up,” Kathy Arthur said.

Randy Arthur, who owns an air conditioning service company, later talked to police officers, his knit shirt ripped and a few scratches visible on his chest. “They slammed him into the wall,” Kathy Arthur said…

“They’re hiding from their constituents. She works for us and needs to listen,” said Karen Jaroch, a Tampa homemaker and organizer for the 9-12 Project, set up by rightist TV commentator Glenn Beck.

If all they’re going to do is scream, they belong outside. Disrupting the event itself when people are trying to listen is a jackass thing to do, and totally counterproductive in terms of handing the left material with which to tar the GOP. Which reminds me: Since this is bound to be used against Republicans, what exactly is the logic behind the theory that Republicans are organizing it as part of an astroturf campaign? Said the Florida Democratic Party chair after tonight’s fiasco, “Recently, their thoughtful discussions are being interrupted by angry mobs – well funded and organized by Washington special interests – attempting to drown out the voices of the hard-working Floridians who are desperate for health insurance reform.” Well-funded Washington special interests are trying to win the media war … by telling people to get into fistfights? Nuance.