Dept. Of Amazing: Man Gets Finger Bitten Off Over Health Care

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KTLA news reports that a 65-year-old man got his finger bitten off during a health care protest in Thousand Oaks, California, outside Los Angeles. The man, part of an anti-reform protest that formed across the street from a pro-reform MoveOn.org rally, reportedly attacked a reform backer during an altercation, and subsequently had is pinky bitten off:

About 100 protesters sponsored by MoveOn.org were having a rally supporting health care reform. A group of anti-health care reform protesters formed across the street.

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.

The man took his finger and walked to Los Robles hospital for treatment.

At the blog DrumsNWhistles, blogger Karoli gives a first-person account of what happened. She was there, with the pro-reform people. She writes, sounding a bit shaken up:

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."

Honestly, I thought he was exaggerating. I guess he wasn't.

No word on the age of the biter.

August recess has seen a lot of crazy stuff happen: there were death threats against members of Congress, union members, and one against conservative organizers; there were people screaming at each other; on August 6, there were two scuffles at an event in Florida and a fight outside a town-hall in Missouri. But this is the purest example of sheer, violent atavism so far. Hopefully we, as a nation, can make it to Congress's return next Tuesday without biting off any more appendages.

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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