The initial reports were a bit unclear as to the origins of the altercation, but MoveOn is claming to "condemn the violence" while its activist cadres are busy pinning blame on the "anti-reform" forces. One MoveOn activist, "Karoli" (who is Karoli Kuns), has written an eyewitness report and sent tweets in real time:
What's interesting to me is that most mainstream reports indicate that the MoveOn protester began a "verbal confrontation" with members of the conservative anti-ObamaCare demonstrators. And now, as the Los Angeles Times reports, police are still looking for the MoveOn finger-biter:
Authorities are searching for a healthcare reform activist today who they said bit off the finger of a 65-year-old counter-demonstrator during a fight at a MoveOn.org rally in Thousand Oaks.There's a couple of troubling implications here for the MoveOn activists: First is that if Karoli Kuns' first-hand report is accurate, there should be additional eyewitness accounts supporting allegations that conservatives were aggressive and instigated violence against MoveOn demonstrators. Kuns has published a report, but her account is sketchy and her conclusions tentative.
More troubling is that if Kuns' story is correct, why hasn't the MoveOn finger-biter turned himself into the police? People don't usually evade the authorities unless they've got something to hide (or are in fact guilty of lawbreaking). Moreover, these MoveOn "candlelight" protests are social networking events. Participating activists are well-connected through online media and telecommunications. So why haven't the MoveOn people reported the name of the finger-biter to the police? Indeed, the word is out the MoveOn specifically spread disinformation initially to confuse the press and the authorities as to what really happened.
So, while the exact details and criminal ramifications are still being investigated, the event does remind us of the fact, as Ed Morrissey notes, "that most of the violence in these protests have come not from Tea Party activists or gun-carrying protesters, but from the counterprotesters from unions and left-wing groups."
Here's the video report, from Freedom's Lighthouse: