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Man bites off man's finger at Obama healthcare rally

Here's a weird little piece of late-breaking news about the nation's healthcare reform debate:

A 65-year-old man at a Wednesday night California rally supporting President Obama's embattled reform ideas had a finger bitten off during a scuffle with anti-reform protesters.

a Little Finger

Ventura County sheriff's deputies were called to  Lynn Road and Hillcrest Drive in Thousand Oaks near Los Angeles, according to TV station KTLA.

There, an estimated 100 supporters of healthcare reform affiliated with had gathered as part of a nationwide array of pre-Labor Day rallies to attract attention in support of Obama's reform plans currently before Congress.

Instead, the rally attracted the attention of a group of anti-healthcare-reform protesters across the street.

Initial police reports say that one pro-protester moved into the group of anti-protesters.

Some angry words were exchanged.

One protester punched another, a witness told KTLA.

A scuffle ensued. And the pro-protester had a finger bitten off. (Updated at 8:18 a.m.: Conflicting later reports indicate the biter was a healthcare proponent and the now nine-fingered man an opponent.)

The injured man walked to Los Robles Hospital with his finger for, well, healthcare.

Sheriff's investigators were, well, investigating. Neither the biter nor the bitee were identified by midnight Pacific time.

(Updated at 12:52 a.m.: Karoli over at DrumsnWhistles has an eyewitness account that differs from the KTLA version, involving two men behaving "quite badly.")

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: A healthy little finger similar to one bitten off at a healthcare rally near Los Angeles on Wednesday night. Credit: Reuters
Comments () | Archives (87)

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"Use your good fingers to click here for Twitter alerts on each new Ticket item. "

So the Los Angeles Times thinks that felonious assault and severe injuries inflicted on ObamaCare opponents is funny?

Is there no low Obamabots will stoop to?

You bite off a mans finger for political purposes?

What a bunch of barbarians.

why was the the guy who got his finger bitten on the wrong side and why did he throw the first punch.. I read he threw the first punch then his finger was bitten. If Moveon is involved you know their purpose is to make the opposing side look bad at any cost. Moveon's agenda through the election and after Obama was elected was and is health care reform. They will stop at nothing to make sure Obama's health care reform is passed. Look at their website.

Hard times under Obama forces people into resorting to cannibalism. I would have personally tried for a whole haunch.

wow, karoli certainly doesn't want anyone challenging her story and is withholding her evidence to ensure no one can... and subtly referring to the finger-biting obamacare guy as a quaint

It is past time for the socialist and their thugs to start getting some back. After being hospitalized, hit, threatened, and abused the tea party folks are starting to fight back.

What I would love to see (or be at) is anyplace where the OFA Denver head is demonstrating. Let him try to stick that megaphone in my face. He will find it down his throat in a microsecond.

Time for us to "punch back twice as hard".

"A witness from the scene says a man was walking through the anti-reform group to get to the pro-reform side when he got into an altercation with the 65-year-old, who opposes health care reform.
The 65-year-old was apparently aggressive and hit the other man, who then retaliated by biting off his attacker's pinky, according to Karoli from DrumsnWhistles.",0,7135717.story

So are they lying, or are you?

Wait... isn't this backwards?
>The pro-protester punched an anti-protester, a witness told KTLA.
>A scuffle ensued. And the pro-protester had a finger bitten off.

Karoli at Drumsnwhistles that you linked to had it exactly the opposite way - anti-protester punched the pro-protester, then pro-protester bit off the anti-protester's pinky... Right?

I wonder if the 65 year old is on Medicare.

The best thing about this "news" article is that now, by looking at the accompanying pic, we have a much better idea of what a healthy little finger looks like. But questions remain - how do we know that the bitten off finger was "similar" to this finger? The other may have been of different color, significantly longer or shorter, may have been dirtier or with longer/shorter nails. I think the LA times should clarify these important details or add a disclaimer

Also, I am grateful to the Times for increasing our vocabulary by adding pro-protester and anti-protester to the lexicon. We were getting tired of the overly used protesters and supporters. Thank you.

And I especially appreciate the fact that the author kept the article lean and tight by omitting unimportant details like actually verifying the story, supplying names and other nonessential bits and pieces. Love that fact that the "police report" hyperlink takes you to another Times article saying virtually the same thing without wasting our time by connecting us to the actual report.

When is the paper shutting down?

"It's like raaaaaaaiiiiin/ on your wedding day -
it's having your finger bitten off/ at a health care rall-ay!
Isn't it ironic? Doncha think..."

what is wrong with people these days? Biting off someones finger over stupid stuff??? Come on immature and stupid was that? I know people can get heated up over things they believe in but to act like that and injure another person is STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sadly, this made me laugh.

So "DrumsnWhistles," an admitted pro-free government healthcare supporter gets to frame the incident from her left leaning point of view. Let's hear the opinion of the other side to make it "fair." After all, "DrumsnWhistles" was across the street and couldn't hear a single thing her fellow obama supporter was saying to the man whose finger he bite off.
The one fact that isn't in any dispute is that the obama supporter that bite the finger off was not on the "pro-free healthcare" side of the street. He was not defending himself, he went across the street to cause trouble.
If he was defending himself like "DrumsnWhistles" wants us to believe, why did he leave the scene of the crime? Why not file a police report of him being attacked.
Did "DrumsnWhistles" or any of the other pro-free healthcare supporters tell the police the name of the finger biter? Obviously not. So not only did the finger biter leave the scene of a crime, the other obama supporters didn't rat him out to the police.

INEXCUSABLE. Any way you look at it, this debate has been horribly mis-managed by our representatives. Of course they have done a wonderful job fixing our economy, exiting our wars, and supporting our inalienable rights.


Finger bitten off during California health protest

(AP) – 35 minutes ago

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — California authorities say a clash between opponents and supporters of health care reform ended with one man biting off another man's finger.

Ventura County Sheriff's Capt. Frank O'Hanlon says about 100 people demonstrating in favor of health care reforms rallied Wednesday night on a street corner. One protester walked across the street to confront about 25 counter-demonstrators.

O'Hanlon says the man got into an argument and fist fight, during which he bit off the left pinky of a 65-year-old man who opposed health care reform.

A hospital spokeswoman says the man lost half the finger, but doctors reattached it and he was sent home the same night.

She says he had Medicare.

O'Hanlon says the attacker fled but authorities have a good description.

All the more poetic that it was the anti-reform protestor who got injured. Now, of course, we all want to know, was the guy able to receive proper medical care? Or was he denied treatment for lack of adequate coverage?

Please check your facts-- there are reports that the person who lost a finger was NOT an Obama supporter. It was an Obama supporter who bit off the finger of an elderly man who was protesting Obamacare.

wait, what does this have to do with "obama"...?

Since when did they start serving finger foods at these rallies?

Did they not know that burger king was around the corner if he was hungry.

Oh special you are.

Obama's instruction was to, "get in their face" not "bite off their fingers'"...

So, some bussed in thug from crosses the street to harass counter protestors. He picks what he thinks is a weak target. Gets in his face. Starts a fight and gets punched. Then the Obama thug bites off the finger of his target in typical Leftist thug fashion and the press reports just the opposite. Gee, it is comforting to see that the Los Angeles Left-biased media hasn't changed its spots after all these years. I can remember when the Times was playing this game of "opposite day" going all the way back to the Carter administration. The more things change, the more they stay the same!

It's a good thing that Obama's health "reform" plan has not passed. This poor man would be waiting on a government agent to determine if he was worthy for a finger re-attachment at age 65!

If this were reversed, MSNBC would run it as breaking news. Instead, I'm sure they'll make jokes about it.

Once again, as in EVERY instance of violence at town halls, the lunatic thug obamabots are the perps.

Some may find this amusing, but it isn't. I fully expect more violence from these crazy people. They are desparate and unhinged. History tells us that that does not end well.

The small change in the retraction on the bottom of the news article is just another liberal socialist news media trying to influence the outcome of Democracy by spreading one sided lies and misinformation it doesn't suprise me that a this would happen. when the Media goes to great lengths to cover up Obama's lies and racist attitudes. I wonder if He finished His book about post United States which is about the world after Muslims destroy America?

What's the point of including a photo of a healthy finger that is totally unrelated to any of the people or events mentioned in the article? Do they think we don't know what a finger looks like?


The Republican party has been taken over by the right wing fringe craze.
It's sad because I use to be a Republican, but cannot adhere to the Radical right principles. They have taken the GOP over.

Just wondering where my sensible Party has gone???

Mark B.

Uhhh...actually the guy who got his finger bitten off was OPPOSED to obamacare, the guy who bit it off was in favor.
Interesting that the Times would get that mixed up, isn't it?

It's really a shame that people are getting so angry and violent at these rallies. Sure, it's your right to voice your opinions but lets have a little respect for yourself and others. Keep it non-violent.

Have the biter be tested for rabies and the bitee get rabies shots!

Could you write with greater clarity? Whom do you mean when you write "pro-protester" and "anti-protestor"? According to all reports except this one, the anti-REFORM protestor (I guess he could be considered the pro-protester as he was in favor of protesting health care reform)was the one whose finger was bitten off. The pro-REFORM protestor (the one against protesting against health care reform) was the one who did the biting. You have neglected an important term in describing which one was which.

How come your version is different than the KTLA report? Mr. Rice whose finger was bitten off was part of the anti-reform group... His finger was bitten off by a Left-Winger. You have your story backwards. I guess it is more sensational to write that man bites dog......

A word of advice. Obama is a thug. His followers are thugs. When you aren't sure of who is performing the thuggery, assume its the 'in your face' faction of the Obama thugocracy.

I wouldn't doubt that the pro O thug started this as well.

Wake up and smell the czar filled tyranny!!

Obama Obama.

As usual, the Times has it wrong, the old man who lost the finger was there to PROTEST Obama Care. He was NOT a Supporter.

What is America coming to? Shouldn't our children be allowed the same freedoms we were allowed as children? Why would this country want to take all our children's freedoms away, after all this is supposed to be the land of the free.

What with 0bama supporters biting peoples' finger off and his administration opposing the Hippocratic Oath for physicians, the distinct impression comes across that 0bama Health Rationing has little, if anything, to do with improving public health and a great deal to do with increasing government interference with and control of peoples' lives.

What a bunch of animals they should be made to do community maintenance at the zoo.

Good thing he didn't have to wait in line long (or months to be seen).

i think he needs to think about other things then just this health care----i know we need it---but he has been in office for 9mos now---and all we hear is about health care---nothing else---i voted for him---but now i wish i han't----i am really disapointed in him--- i have no one to take care of me and just getting by---- i thought he would try and change things--but so far he hasn't--could care less about the people that are loseing there jobs and houses. all he is careing about his health care--and we know its not going to happen--work on getting the jobs back and helping the familys that have no where to sleep tonite--he has a bed--some don;t!!!!!!!

I am a retired Postal employee and I have a FEHB insurance plan. There is none better. If this is the kind of proposal that is offered by the Presidents insurance plan, most poor people like me, and I am sure there is many, should welcome it. I don't care what it cost, most people in this country should be happy about it. Why are these poor people being brain dead on this much needed program.. Wake up people and smell the real coffee.....

Remember that the well to do don't care either way as long as they get their way.. Please my fellow Americans, don't be used again by the extreme people on the right. Your healthcare is at stake.Go withe the president's healthcare plan. I beg of you...

What an insane thing to do. Do we need an overhaul of mental healthcare as well?
While we are at it-might as well just get it done.
People were against social security and Medicare. These turned out fine. If people would contribute ideas instead of anger we would all be better off. When we look back ten years from now I hope we can be happy that the healtcare debate helped millions of people in this country have access to affordable healthcare. Nobody likes seeing their premiums increase by 500%. The system is just broken and we all need to contribute GOOD ideas to this debate. The fighting in just a way of showing ones ignorance.
Come on people. Take a breath and think up some great ways to make the healthcare system BETTER.

Biting off a person's finger was not cool to say the least, but what did the victim do to the biter? Did he shve the fingerin his face/Ther are two sides to every story.NOT ALL HEALTH PROPONETS ARE LIE THAT!


This is another crazy republican scheme...

I am sick and tired of paying for every republican politicans health care!

If they want health care let them pay for it!!

The taxpayer has no more money after giving it to all of their rich friends!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is just dumb

Please git off of this lady,s, and check your own family situatious. thanks. WADO .

I read on the website that people should 'Fight Back Against Health Care "Lies"'. I assume a member thought that was 'Bite Back?' Always knew the average liberal had a reading/reasoning problem.

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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