Healthcare Debate Descends Into Ritual Cannibalism

A proponent of healthcare reform reportedly bit off the pinkie finger of a 65-year-old anti-reform protester at a rally in Sherman Oaks, Calif., yesterday. He should have eaten his heart—it gives you their strength!

The men involved in the altercation haven't been named. The biter was attending a Moveon.org vigil in support of reform, and the victim was a counterprotester. According to a blogger who says she was there, the victim, who was wearing an orange shirt, had been harrassing a female pro-reform protester, and the biter waded into the anti-reform crowd, possibly to defend her. The victim started threw the first punch, according to the blogger's account:

The man in the orange shirt hit the pro-reform guy (I'm going to call him PR Guy just to keep the players straight). Hard. ( tweeted in real time) He punched him in the face, knocked him to the ground and into that thruway. As you can see from the photo, cars drive straight through that without stopping. The pro-reform guy could have been run over. He got up, tried to get back up on the curb, but Orange Shirt guy was in his face. Finger in his face, PR Guy standing, steps up to the curb, and there's a scuffle. Orange shirt seemed to have PR Guy in a hold, but again, I was across the street, so won't state that as absolute fact. Next thing I see is PR Guy's hat being tossed into the street, both yelling at one another, then Orange shirt walks away, PR Guy picks up hat and crosses to our side.

When he gets to our side, he tells a story in one sentence: "He punched me hard, straight in the face, so I bit his finger off."

The victim apparently picked up his pinkie and walked it over to a nearby hospital. The Los Angeles Times says the Ventura County Sheriff's Department is investigating the incident.

We're slightly dubious, based on the accounts we've read, that a man's entire pinkie finger was bitten off—it seems to us that that would take some gnawing, and would be kind of difficult to accomplish in a scuffle. Maybe just the tip? One thing's for sure: If the victim had been doing his job as an anti-Socialist American and brought a semi-automatic assault weapon with him, this wouldn't have happened.