A Trump protest turns violent

Shirley Teeter talks about her experience being assaulted outside of a Donald Trump rally.

Shirley Teeter talks about her experience being assaulted outside of a Donald Trump rally.

Shirley Teeter has a long history of participating in protests, beginning in the late 1960s with civil rights marches and protests against the Vietnam War.

So, when she heard last week that GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump was coming to Asheville, appearing less than a block from where she lives, she decided to go and speak her mind.

Before the rally, as people filed in, Teeter says, everyone seemed in good humor.

But after the rally, the demeanor was different, she says.

“They were angry, ready for a fight,” she says. “People should know how Trump works people up in those rallies of his.”

Still, Teeter, who is 69 and uses oxygen because of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, never imagined a man would haul off and sock her in the jaw.

“I told him he’d better learn to speak Russian as he walked by me,” she says. “And that his first words should be ‘ha, ha.’”

She says she was referring to Trump’s cozy relationship with Russian leader, Vladimir Putin.

The man, later identified as Richard Campbell of Edisto Island, SC, hauled off and punched her in the jaw, Teeter says.

“I guess I lost consciousness because I don’t remember hitting the ground,” she says. “He tried to say I grabbed him, but that’s not true. I never touched him.”

Bystanders helped her up and emergency medical personnel tended to her wounds – bruises on her jaw and ribs and a badly skinned elbow.

“I asked the police to please arrest him,” she says. “But they didn’t.”

Apparently, if police don’t witness the assault, they can’t arrest the perpetrator, even with video evidence and a number of people offering to testify against him. A warrant was issued the next day, and Teeter said then she will press charges.

Teeter has had X-rays and no bones were broken, but two days after the assault, she was sporting a large bandage on her elbow and an ice pack on her badly bruised ribs.

Photos of Teeter on the ground, her eyes closed, went viral pretty quickly. The story made national news, including reports in CNN and the Washington Post.

“I don’t feel famous,” she says, shifting uncomfortably in her seat. “I feel violated. I feel people are being manipulated by Trump. I’ve never seen a candidate behave like this. … There are those of us who listen to his words and don’t hear the same thing. I hear the lies and the call to hate people and I see him for what he is – a very dangerous man.”

Just seeing the difference in people after the rally, Teeter says, makes her want to speak out even more. Without hesitation, she says she would go again and protest.

“You can’t let hate stop you,” she says. “I don’t know why that man thought it would be OK to punch me, I really don’t, but I refuse to be angry. I’m sad about what happened, but nobody will rob me of my sense of peace. Nobody can take that away from me. Nobody.”

Have you ever lived without hope?

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Watching the demonstrations in Baltimore is a lot like watching the riots of the 1960s or the Rodney King protests.

I’ve never been caught in the middle of a violent demonstration, but I can understand the fear that anyone might feel. I also understand the frustration that drives people to such drastic measures.

I don’t condone violence, but I do understand what drives it. It is a lack of hope that things will ever get better. It comes from living in fear that you or someone you live will be next.

These victims of police violence are not thugs — the cops are the ones acting as thugs when they shoot unarmed people or beat someone who already has been subdued.

There have been far too many deaths of young black men in this country. There has been far too much oppression.

The school-to-prison pipeline is real, especially in poor, largely minority communities. Teens can be sent to jail for missing school, and once they’re in the “justice” system, they’re in it for good.

Or let’s say you’re driving while black and you have a tail light out (a friend of mine had his tail light knocked out by a police officer who had just pulled him over for no reason). You don’t have the money to pay the fine and court costs because you work two part-time, low-wage jobs, so you wind up getting your fines increased and losing your license. Now you have no transportation to and from work because the buses don’t run late at night when you need them. So, you lose your job.

Since you haven’t paid your fines, which are increasing by the week, a warrant is issued for your arrest. The cops show up, and you’re headed for jail.

Now your spouse and kids are in a real financial mess. Your teenage son gets angry and starts acting out, and he’s arrested. The cops see him as a threat so they tackle him and cuff and shackle him. He shouts an obscenity and the cops start kicking him, injuring or even killing him.

With only one income, your spouse and your other child become homeless.

This happens all the time in poor neighborhoods. People are jailed for the crime of being poor, and when they finally rise up against the violence perpetrated on them, the privileged classes are more upset about the burning buildings than about the lives lost.

I worked hard for everything I have, but I’m white. I was raised in a white middle-class town by middle-class white parents. No one sees me as a threat because I’m not one of the people who has been oppressed for generations.

It’s not easy putting yourself in the shoes of someone whose entire experience is so different from your own, but it’s time we tried.

Unlike many white, middle-class people, I know what it’s like to live without hope. I’ve been there. I know the desperation.

As I said, I don’t condone the violence, but I certainly do understand it.

Before you call these black youths thugs and criminals, try to imagine what your attitude would be in their situation, and then understand that being a petty criminal wouldn’t bring the death penalty down on you.

I will defend these people against the abusive and violent system that keeps them down because Black Lives Matter. All Lives Matter. These police killings are no different from the lynchings of the Jim Crow era, and I understand the need of people to rise up against them. They are fighting for their very survival.

Violence begets violence. We need to remember that.

Four dead, three troopers hurt

A protester at Wayne LaPierre's press conference Friday injects a little truth into the proceedings.

A protester at Wayne LaPierre’s press conference Friday injects a little truth into the proceedings.

It’s what you call irony.

National Rifle Association lobbyist Wayne LaPierre was still talking, telling us we need more, not fewer guns, that armed teachers are the solution to mass shootings in schools, as a man walked up and down a street just outside of Altoona, Pa., shooting people, killing four, according to early reports.

Among the injured are three —armed — state troopers. These are people whose job it is to stop people with guns and he shot three of them. We don’t know yet whether any of the dead are troopers.

It seems to me that something is trying to tell us that LaPierre and his ilk are full of shit. More guns is not the solution to gun violence.

Do we put guns on school buses next? Do we arm crossing guards? Remember, this latest shooting was a man walking up and down the street.

Where does the arming cease? Do we provide Sunday school teachers with an arsenal, just in case?

I’m tired of the killing, aren’t you?

I don’t think we should spend another moment listening to the NRA. I don’t even care of you’re a responsible gun owner who loves target shooting and hunting. If you believe more guns will stem the violence, you are wrong. Period.

I have tried to respect other opinions because I have a lot of friends who are responsible gun owners, but we need to control guns. We need to stand up to the bullies in the NRA and tell them where they can put their guns and ammo.

I have listened to the “other side” of the gun debate and I have reached the conclusion that they no longer deserve our time and respect. The NRA represents gun manufacturers, not gun owners. I don’t even care of we repeal the damned Second Amendment. Our gun “laws” now have nothing to do with the founders’ intentions anyway.

We have the Second Amendment because George Washington didn’t believe we needed a standing army; that well-regulated militias would suffice. It wasn’t meant for every person to have an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. That was the totally twisted interpretation by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

As my husband says, “Piss on your Second Amendment rights! What about the rights of innocent people to live their lives?”

It’s time to regulate guns. It’s well past time, actually.

To those who disagree that increased regulation will help stem the tide of violence, with all due respect, piss off. I’m tired of listening to it as people die by the tens of thousands in this country.


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