Fighting Words

I’m no fan of Henry Kissinger. Proof that only the good die young is more like it. But I’m no fan of Lyndon Larouche either, and I actually sympathized with Kissinger’s wife, Nancy, when she throttled a Larouche disciple who ambushed her in an airport…

In 1982, a member of LaRouche’s Fusion Energy Foundation, Ellen Kaplan, asked Kissinger at an airport terminal if it were true that he slept with young boys; Kissinger and his wife, Nancy, were on their way to a heart operation. In response, Nancy Kissinger grabbed the woman by the throat. Kaplan pressed charges and the case went to trial.

Ellen Kaplan actually launched an x-rated verbal attack, a screen shot of the news story is here.

I remembered the Nancy Kissinger story when I read this today…

Before he punched a man for calling him the “N-word,” a Queens man was trying to help the drunkard who was stumbling outside a Greenwich Village eatery, sources said Saturday.
Douglas Reddish, 25, was eating with his girlfriend outside Benny’s Burrito on Greenwich Ave. when an intoxicated 30-year-old man ran into their table about 5:50 p.m. Friday, the sources said.
Reddish attempted to help the apparently drunken man to keep him from stumbling into other tables.
Reddish stood up and put a hand on the unidentified man to steady him from “falling onto the other tables,” a source said.
“You’re drunk,” Reddish told him, according to what witnesses told police.
The man appeared intoxicated and was asked to leave by staff.
Workers at the restaurant came out and asked the boozed-up passerby to leave — but he refused and turned towards Reddish.
“No, this n—-r wants to fight me!” the man allegedly said.

Reddish is facing misdemeanor charges, the man he punched is in the hospital.

Sometimes the body reacts before the brain has time to process. I remember, as a rowdy teen, realizing that I was airborne just before I tackled my brother. He deserved it, and we’re great friends now, but it was weird to launch across the room without being aware until just before the moment of impact.

I can easily believe that Douglas Reddish, mortally insulted and challenged to fight in the presence of his girlfriend, felt his fist connect before his mind engaged.

But he knocked a man onto the concrete and put him in the hospital. If a mind is a terrible thing to waste, so is a brain– not improved by being slammed into the back of a skull that is impacting the sidewalk.

Some words, in some contexts, are weapons. Like Nancy Kissinger, Douglas Redding was ambushed and verbally assaulted. It doesn’t mean physical retaliation is okay, but as Judge Fuentes said of Nancy Kissinger, it’s a human reaction.

It’s too bad that our great English language has so many words that can hurt, and so few to say we are sorry.

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