Last night, video emerged of a Rand Paul supporter wrestling a female protester to the ground and treading on her face. Today, gun advocate Mike Pezzano was outed as one of those men. Who revealed his identity? Other Tea Partiers.
Meet Mike Pezzano, Rand Paul supporter and advocate for open carry gun laws. He's the guy in plaid who pins liberal protester Lauren Valle to the ground in this video. Update: The stomper has been identified. Read about him here.
Kentucky Tea Partier and blogger Lisa Graas figured out Pezzano's identity by comparing still images from the Rand Paul brawl with photographs from other Tea Party events. Here are the images from last night's event:
Click to enlarge
Yes, the man who held a woman down so another man could step on her face was wearing a "Don't Tread On Me" pin. He was also wearing the same "We the People" hat that he wore at another Tea Party event—one where he also wore a name tag.
The nametag is how Graas figured out Pezzano's name. Our research suggests there is only one Mike Pezzano in Kentucky: A Lexington Rand Paul Meetup member who is an "assistant organizer" for Kentucky Open Carry, a group that advocates for laws allowing people to carry firearms openly and in public. Obviously, that is exactly what a grown man who wrestles tiny, peaceful females to the ground—and holds them down while other grown men stomp on their faces—needs: a gun on his belt.
Mike Pezzano did not respond to our requests for comment.
Interestingly, Laura Graas—who first identified Pezzano—is a self-professed Tea Partier, the embattled founder of the Palin Twitter "Twibe." (She quit the Twibe when Palin endorsed Rand Paul: "I've been sending almost daily communications to SarahPAC telling them about this race and begging them to call me. No one has called," she explained.)
Upset by the violent video from Rand Paul's debate, Graas used her connections with other Tea Party bloggers to sift through photos and identify Pezzano. By email, Graas elaborated on her politics:
Yes, I am a Republican. I prefer to be identified as a Lincoln Republican. I support the Fourteenth Amendment as a pro-life voter whereas Rand Paul does not. [...] I supported the Tea Party candidate Bill Johnson, whom you may have never heard of thanks to big media. [...] They're thugs. Everyone knows it but no one will go public because the Campaign for Liberty is just too scary and powerful. He isn't "the Tea Party candidate". Never was. He astroturfed Kentucky like an SEIU thug.
...and her fear of a vast Rand Paulian conspiracy:
I admit, I am scared. I'm afraid to talk to you..........but so are a lot of other people and somebody has to have a spine. [...] Rand Paul isn't going to do anything to me,.........but his supporters might. I'm afraid of them. Over at Liberty Forest, during the primary, there were calls for volunteers to "crush" me. They still despise me. They smear me around the internet.
Uh, okay. Graas' sleuthing on Pezzano's identity seems to hold up, but I think we all learned a valuable lesson today: No Kentucky Tea Partier (Lincoln Republican or otherwise) should be allowed to carry a firearm openly, ever. [Images via Blue Blue Grass and Gene Linzy Photography]