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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Watch Your Little Pinkies!

I can hear late night television hosts relating this story in their monologues.

Host: "Boy, this health care reform issue is getting rough!" Audience: "Just how rough is it?" Host: Well, just yesterday an elderly man protesting health care reform had his finger bitten off in a scuffle at a rally near Los Angeles."

And, again, truth is stranger than fiction. KTLA-TV reported that at the scene of two dueling health care demonstrations -- one in favor of health care reform sponsored by, and a counter-rally of protesters against health care reform, this finger gnawing incident actually happened.

An estimated 100 supporters of health care reform ( had gathered as part of a nationwide effort of pre-Labor Day rallies to attract attention in support of President Obama's reform plans currenty before Congress.

According to the Los Angeles Times (September 3 2009), the rally attracted the attention of a group of anti-healthcare reform protesters across the street. Angry words were exchanged by the groups.

According to one account, a man was wading through the counter-protest to get to the MoveOn side, when a 65 year old confronted and hit him. A big scuffle ensued. And, in response, the man who was hit, identified by one witness as "pro-reform," bit off the other man's finger. Neither person was identified.

According to KTLA-TV, the elderly man took his detached finger to a local Los Robles hospital for some health care.

And what does this idiocy show about the potential for violence in heated, large demonstrations and about the mentality of some of the protesters attending the rallies? Short on patience and short on supporting peaceful resolution of important issues, thugs cannot settle for quietly waving support signs but must resort to jumping bandwagons to become hysterical, cannibalistic maniacs. Where is the kinder, gentler nation in these hard economic times.

And what about a rash of recent finger dismemberment incidents?

In New Jersey, A 30-year-old Staten Island man was sentenced on August 27, 2009, to 15 years in prison for biting off the finger of an Atlantic City police officer and assaulting two other officers attempting to subdue him at a casino nightclub. (New Jersey Star Ledger, August 28 2009)

In Florida, Dr. Paul Arnold turned his back for a moment on a patient who was upset because the doctor wouldn't write him a prescription. Then, the patient, Gregory S. Powell, 45, of Fort Myers, allegedly attacked Arnold, 65, biting off part of one of the doctor's fingers. (The Fort Myers News Press, August 14 2009)

In Arizona, Michael Hernandez, of Chandler, has been arrested on suspicion of assault for allegedly biting off the tip of his wife's (together for nine years) right index finger during an argument, police said. He was taken into custody at his home and later booked into jail. When police later asked why, Michael Hernandez said: "It was in my face." (Arizona Daily Star, February 28, 2008)

In Kansas, police say a Hutchinson woman bit off the end of her husband's finger during an argument at their home over the weekend. In a bizarre action, investigators believe Adelghun Khinde Johnson, 45, may have swallowed the fingertip because it was nowhere to be found. (International Business Times, May 20 2008)

And from the United Kingdom, Pamela Fox, 65, is alleged to have poured a caustic substance over the borders and lawn of Marija Andric, 50, after believing that Miss Andric had damaged her flowers at her home in Maidenhead, Berks. Mrs Fox confronted Miss Andric, who opened her door to find Fox pointing an aerosol spray at her face.

Olive Lycourgou, prosecuting, at Reading Crown Court, Berks, said: "Miss Andric put her hands up to protect her face. Mrs Fox leaned in and bit off the end of Miss Andric's little finger." After the alleged assault she said Fox spat blood out of her mouth and ran away. Surgeons were unable to reattach the finger. (Stewart Payne,, February 14, 2007)

This Is One Theory About Human Biting Development.

An expert on skeletal muscle development at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Darlinghurst, Australia, reports that humans owe their big brains and sophisticated culture to a single genetic mutation that weakened human jaw muscles about 2.4 million years ago, (Anil Ananthaswamy, New Scientist, March 24 2004)

The slack muscles relaxed their hold on the human skull, giving the brain room to grow. Other primates remained stuck with mighty muscles that squeezed the skull in a vice-like grip.

So, are these human biters actually throwbacks with small brains who bite out of the urge to combat primitive dangers? One thing is certain: biters are animalistic, stupid people better suited to caveman times.

If You Encounter a Biter, Take Certain Precautions.

In all cases of human bites, call your health care provider right away. Do not wait a day or two to see your provider. These bites become infected even more often than animal bites and can cause serious problems. The human jaw is stronger than the hand but much weaker than many dogs' jaws, and the human jaw can generate somewhere around 100psi of bone-crushing crunch for a very powerful human bite.

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