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Old 04-25-2005, 02:10 PM   #1
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Give Peace a Chance?

Peace activist faces trial after crossing the line of civility
Columbia Tribune
By TONY MESSENGER
Published Sunday, April 24, 2005

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.

Perhaps "Punch for peace" would have been a more appropriate sign.

The man, Paul Allaire, doesn’t live in Boone County. He lists Arcadia as his home, though he’s a frequent attendee at the Wednesday protests. He has been charged with third-degree misdemeanor assault for his alleged attack on Preckshot.

In that regard, Preckshot has no complaints.

What does confound her, however, is why her weekly adversaries weren’t more helpful when police came to the scene.

After the incident, Preckshot went to a nearby gas station to call the police, and they quickly arrived to take statements.

None of the peace activists, however, would give up Allaire.

That’s what steams Preckshot more than the punch that smashed her glasses and knocked her hearing aid to the ground.

That didn’t stop police from getting their man. A few days after the conflict, Preckshot and her husband, Geoff, were at the local military recruiting office on Broadway when the peaceniks marched by on their Palm Sunday protest. The Preckshots saw Allaire, holding the same "End the occupation" sign. Geoff snapped pictures of the alleged scofflaw while Allaire flipped his middle finger in his general direction. He called police, and they tracked Allaire down.

Apparently, he didn’t go quietly. He also faces a charge of resisting arrest.

"The great irony is the lack of cooperation with the local peace people," Preckshot says.

Mark Haim, head of the Peaceworks group that sponsors the protests, takes umbrage at that remark.

Haim says the police never talked to him. He says he didn’t see anything. He says there are two sides to the story.

"We hold to a strict code of nonviolence," he says. I asked him whether Allaire would be welcome at future protests. He said the issue hasn’t come up.

Allaire’s attorney, Dan Viets, had no comment. Allaire, on the other hand, issued me a two-page statement written on the back of Peace Nook fliers.

"The only reason I even approached this woman was to try to understand where her extreme hatred came from," he says. The flier he says he was putting in Preckshot’s face showed President George W. Bush in a Hitleresque outfit and pose. He calls it a joke.

"I was neither being impolite nor threatening when I was slapped," he writes.

Sure you weren’t, Paul. And your middle finger just popped out of your fist when you walked by the couple four days later. In case you’re wondering what that looks like, I have the pictures.

The case is scheduled for trial May 13.

For her part, Preckshot wants to see justice done.

"If you can’t handle the conflict and the occasional negativity that comes with it, you shouldn’t be in the street," Preckshot says. She hasn’t had much conflict at all in her years standing along a busy road seeking support for troops. Her main concern has been avoiding traffic. In her heart, she believes most of the peace protesters feel the same way, even if they come down on a different side of the ideological spectrum. Still, she’s not willing to let the incident go, Preckshot says.

"I draw the line at getting punched in the face."


I guess there is enough Hypocrisy to go around on both ends of the political spectrum.
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Old 04-25-2005, 02:37 PM   #2
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that'll make your head spin.
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Old 04-25-2005, 02:50 PM   #3
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Morons.
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Old 04-25-2005, 02:58 PM   #4
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people these days. sheeeesh.
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Old 04-25-2005, 03:30 PM   #5
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What idiots. One of my peace/leftist lists is a real circus. Last year it split into factions. One side supported Kucinich as an independent and the other supported Kerry, rather reluctantly, actually. We had a huge fight and we came pretty damn close to having a lawsuit between the warring factions. Peace group, my ass.
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Old 04-25-2005, 05:39 PM   #6
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^ precisely what's wrong with liberalism today. a bunch of competing, specialized interest groups. screw identity politics. get your priority's straight, realize that 8 years of GOP rule is far more destructive than your silly protest votes, and get in line and fucking win the white house back.
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Old 04-25-2005, 05:47 PM   #7
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amen brother!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 04-25-2005, 06:45 PM   #8
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JFK was a neocon

American liberalism seems to be fucked because not only were the conservatives able to use 'liberal' as a label for leftist but the leftists claimed it with pride.
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Old 04-25-2005, 06:49 PM   #9
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for a second i thought you said "JFK was a moron"....i was about to go crazy on you

i've heard arguments made about the neocon label. interesting, to say the least.
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Old 04-25-2005, 06:56 PM   #10
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Just the outwards looking American foreign policy that we saw during his time in office, strongly rooted in the liberal tradition and with objectives of openly supporting capitalist states against communist ones. Now as to the future direction of US policy if he had gotten a second term that will be debated for years but there certainly is a case to be made that the policies of Wilson, Truman and Kennedy are reflected in those of the Bush administration and the driving force behind those are those who have been grouped together under the neoconservative banner.
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Old 04-25-2005, 07:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Just the outwards looking American foreign policy that we saw during his time in office, strongly rooted in the liberal tradition and with objectives of openly supporting capitalist states against communist ones.


yes, this got us (and australia) into Vietnam.
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Old 04-25-2005, 07:56 PM   #12
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Yes it did, and it is a pity that so many died in vain because of flawed design in the beginning and a long bloody drawn out withdrawl with loss of popular support by the end. The fall of the South was a tragedy that in retrospect could have been averted.
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Old 04-25-2005, 07:59 PM   #13
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Yes it did, and it is a pity that so many died in vain because of flawed design in the beginning and a long bloody drawn out withdrawl with loss of popular support by the end. The fall of the South was a tragedy that in retrospect could have been averted.


that does sound familiar -- an academic, works-on-paper strategy fails in practice because of poor planning?

hence, the tragic flaw of LBJ's "best and the brightest" strategies.

academics do not warriors make.
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Old 04-25-2005, 08:57 PM   #14
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Yes it did, and it is a pity that so many died in vain because of flawed design in the beginning and a long bloody drawn out withdrawl with loss of popular support by the end. The fall of the South was a tragedy that in retrospect could have been averted.
The "fall of the South"? I admit it, American history is my Achilles' heel. There was a tension in economic structures; the North was industrial and urban and the South was agrarian and rural. They were on a collision course, and someone had to win and someone had to lose. One of my own ancestors was a slave-owner, but he voted against secession. As a Southerner, I really don't like the Confederate cause thing. It would have left us as a Third World Country economically and politically. I'd rather be part of the United States.
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Old 04-25-2005, 10:15 PM   #15
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That is stupid-if you're for peace, here's a hint: don't go around abusing the other side! It kinda, you know, defeats the purpose of what you're for. I was part of an anti-war thing back in 2003, and everyone involved completely avoided any violent activities.

Both sides have the right to stand outside and support/protest whatever they want. It's a shame this Paul Allare guy didn't get that.

Angela
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