Monday, April 25, 2005

Promoting peace by punching a handicapped woman.

LGF posts a story about a "peace activist" who attacked a handicapped woman.
Rita Preckshot went to a peace rally, and a fight broke out.

It started out as a typical Wednesday for Preckshot, a 49-year-old who stands about 5-foot-2 and has hearing aids in both ears. She was standing on her normal spot on Providence Road, holding her signs in support of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. For nearly four years now, this has been Preckshot’s life from about 4:15 to about 5:45 in the afternoon once a week. She started her solo troop-support effort to counteract the peace protesters who stand a couple of blocks away at the intersection of Providence and Broadway. The peaceniks hold signs that say things such as “honk for peace” and “end the occupation.”

They outnumber Preckshot every Wednesday, but she stands out there just the same, sometimes drawing another supporter or two to help her effort.

On this particular Wednesday - it was March 16 - her effort seemed to annoy a couple of the protesters. Not satisfied with their own peace protest, a pair of peaceniks grabbed their signs and made their way to Preckshot, who normally stands outside the Bloomers flower shop near Locust Street.

“Two of the guys from the corner walked down with a big sign that read ‘End the occupation,’ ” she remembers. One of them started taking pictures of a Preckshot supporter across the street, she says. “At some point, the other guy starts coming toward me.”

For a diminutive woman, Preckshot can handle herself. She’s a former police officer, and she isn’t easily intimidated. Still, a young man coming at her waving a sign in her face seemed a little aggressive, particularly from somebody supposedly advocating peace.

The man stepped closer. She backed off a step. He shoved a sign in her face, and she backed off once again.

“Don’t touch me!” she told him.

Then, she says, he pushed her.

“He started taunting me and reached out and pushed on my shoulder,” Preckshot says. “Each time he pushed, it got a little harder. When I saw his hand come at me again, I grabbed it. I felt fearful.”

As Preckshot pushed the man’s hand away, “he slugged me right in the face,” she says.
Rita's glasses were broken and her hearing aid fell on the ground. When the police arrived, she couldn't find the assailant and his fellow protesters couldn't find their conscience - they wouldn't give him up. A few days later while at a military recruiting office, Rita and her husband first saw the middle finger of her assailant and they called the cops to arrest the rest of him. In the same peaceful mood that motivated him to assault a woman, add "resisting arrest" to the tough-guy's charges.

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