We've already reported to you how Rep. Allen West, when confronted with a transparent 'gotcha' question, pushed back hard on the questioner in a town hall today. But what you probably didn't know is that the story doesn't end there - as it turns out, the town hall in question quickly degenerated into a very tense situation, with security escorting several protesters out, shouting, and a few blows both from supporters of Congressman West, and from the protesters themselves.
Biz Pac Review has no less than three videos depicting various stages of the confrontation. First, there's a video depicting protesters being thrown out, described by Biz Pac Review this way:
A half dozen officers from the Boca Raton police department were on hand to run interference between West supporters and those who West said were hired by "the San Francisco billionaire" from the Credo SuperPAC but the real scuffles (and yes, I mean plural ) began, as they often do, during the audience question period where a woman interrupted the Congressman to argue her point on gay marriage. When approached by West’s security, the anti- West crowd began to loudly complain about the security team’s tactics, calling them storm troopers and accusing them of “Gestapo-like” behavior.
As you'll see from the video, "gestapo-like" might be a bit of a stretch. Moreover, as West himself explained, he wasn't employing security in that manner out of fear for his own personal safety (a lieutenant colonel in the army doesn't have a lot to fear from a disorganized mob), but just to prevent another Gabby Giffords situation from happening.
Ironically enough, West was so unafraid to engage in dialogue with the protesters that he engaged one or two of them in long one-on-one conversations, and good naturedly swatted down the ones that only came to scream at him. Examples of both exchanges were captured in this video, where West responded to a questioner who accused him of having no solutions with the line, "Put me in charge of this country and I'll show you solutions."
Unfortunately, however, these exchanges turned out to be foreplay for a particularly nasty verbal and physical exchange which occurred as West was mingling with the individual participants. BizPacReview sums up the incident this way:
Not one to back down from a fight, West said, as he was surrounded, “I’m gonna stand right here.”
The words became physical when a West supporter with a cane responded to a woman who used profanity toward a man by shoving her and threatening to hit her with the cane. Police were around, but did not act forcefully with any of the people attending. One man, an anti-West protester, gently bumped the BPR camera person twice, purposely trying to intimidate.
In the interests of fairness, one must note that West's supporters behaved just as disruptively in this final exchange as did his detractors. However, one person at least managed to do nothing whatsoever untoward or embarrassing throughout this process, and that was Allen West himself. Kudos to the Congressman, considering how awkward this entire town hall was.