Don't Try to Ask Alaska Republican Joe Miller Any QuestionsS

Are you a journalist? Would you like to ask Alaska's Republican Senate candidate some questions? Well, I wouldn't try doing so after a town hall meeting at a school. Because you might get handcuffed and "detained" by his security detail.

You might remember Joe Miller, the the Ivy League-educated "tea party" lawyer who beat incumbent Lisa Murkowski in the Alaska Republican primary, from the time Sarah Palin's husband/spirit animal Todd fired off an angry email demanding to know why Miller wouldn't say unequivocally that Palin was qualified to be president. (Possibly because he has an Ivy League education.) Or, you might remember him from the time he called Murkowski a whore, on Twitter. But now, you can remember him from the time his "security detail" handcuffed a reporter at a middle school.

Yes, that's right, Sarah Palin isn't the only Alaska Republican with an overreaction problem. Miller threw a town hall meeting at an Anchorage middle school on Sunday, and invited people to come on his Facebook and Twitter pages. So, that would make it a public event, right? Ha, ha, what, are you a communist? You see, it was a private event, at a public school, that Joe Miller invited everyone to, on Facebook, and I know it was private, because a reporter was detained there by security guards for trespassing.

Tony Hopfinger, the founder and editor of news website Alaska Dispatch, was pestering Miller about his record as an attorney after the event. It's not entirely clear what happened next, but there was some kind of confrontation between Miller's black-suited security guards (who, Hopfinger says, wouldn't identify themselves) and Hopfinger. Hopfinger pushed someone, and, next thing he knew, was shoved up against the wall, handcuffed, and told he was under arrest. (Fun fact: He, uh, wasn't.) Then the real police showed up and—one imagines exasperatedly—told the guards to release him.

The guard who handcuffed Hopfinger, meanwhile, says he "arrested" the editor for "trespassing," though he didn't really explain why detaining the poor guy at a town hall in a middle school counted as "trespassing." (His response: "I don't educate the public.") Of course, it doesn't, really, in real life; it's just that Alaska only dimly counts as "real life," and if you're a security guard it's easy to get confused and assume you're allowed to arrest basically anyone, for any reason.

The best part of the whole incident may be the write-up provided by Alaska Dispatch writer Craig Medred, who describes Hopfinger—his boss—as "a pot-bellied and overweight writer" and "a bit florid, visibly out of shape, and no apparent threat in scuffle." How many opportunities do journalists have to describe their editors at all, let alone call them fat?

[Alaska Dispatch; Anchorage Daily News]