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Author Topic: A Disgruntled Democrat, Bush-Hatred & Road Rage
Daruma28
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Remember that thread about Bush and Kerry supporters doing things like keying cars, vandalizing property, stealing signs and committing violence against each other across the nation? I thought that kind of stuff would go away completely with the end of the election.

All I can say about this story is wow....

Bumper sticker evokes road rage

Her Bush-Cheney sticker sent him into a tirade that led to a dangerous car chase through the streets of Tampa.

By SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER, Times Staff Writer
Published March 10, 2005
Related 10 News video:
Political road rage

TAMPA - Politics has always been divisive, splitting families and turning friend against friend.

This week, though, a Tampa woman learned that simple Bush-Cheney bumper sticker can bring trouble, if not danger, from a total stranger.

Police say Michelle Fernandez, 35, was chased for miles Tuesday by an irate 31-year-old Tampa man who cursed at her as he held up an anti-Bush sign and tried to run her off the road.

His sign, about the size of a business letter, read:

Never Forget Bush's Illegal Oil War Murdered Thousands in Iraq.

"I guess this was a disgruntled Democrat," Tampa Police spokesman Joe Durkin said. "Maybe he has that sign with him so he's prepared any time he comes up against a Republican."

Police arrested Nathan Alan Winkler at his home on N Cleveland Street near Hyde Park within an hour of the incident.

After finding the antiwar sign in his car, they booked him into the county jail on one count of aggravated stalking, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison, Durkin said.

He posted his $2,000 bond and was released early Wednesday, jail records show. This was Winkler's first arrest in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Winkler, listed in jail records as a contractor, could not be reached Wednesday. Durkin said Winkler told police officers he got upset with Fernandez because she "gave him the finger."

Fernandez told the Times Wednesday that "whatever gestures I made, I made them because I was trying to figure out why he was honking at me and pointing to his sign."

"At first I didn't know why he was screaming at me," she said. "Then it clicked."

In her frantic nine-minute call Tuesday to a 911 dispatcher, Fernandez said it was the Bush Cheney '04 bumper sticker on her green Ford Expedition that set the other driver off.

"I was just almost run off the road by a man," she told the dispatcher at 5:14 p.m. She was taking her son, 10, and daughter, 3, to a ballfield.

"He just ran me off because I have a Bush bumper sticker in my car. He had some type of - he drove up next to me with - he had a sign on it like hanging from his - from the passenger window, that said something about the war in Iraq. . . . I'm shaking like a leaf."

Durkin said Winkler started following Fernandez at the intersection of Columbus Drive and Armenia Avenue shortly after 5 p.m.

"He told our officers that he just got mad at her, so he went after her," Durkin said.

As Fernandez drove south on Armenia, the other driver pulled alongside her in his black 1996 Nissan, beeping his horn and "flailing his arms," according to a police report.

He held the antiwar sign up to his passenger-side window, she said, following her along busy streets in south and west Tampa and veering into her path, forcing her to swerve to avoid a collision. She pleaded with the dispatcher for help and tried to get away by running through stop signs and changing directions.

"Oh, now he's following me! I'm gonna get back on Kennedy now. I don't know what to do!" she told the dispatcher, her voice rising.

At one point the man pulled his car in front of Fernandez's, got out and started running toward her, Fernandez told police.

"He just pulled over next to me, he's stopping the car, it's ridiculous, this man!" she said. "He's running after my car. Oh my goodness, he's a fanatic, he's in the middle of the street!"

She drove along Arrawana Avenue and Habana Street, then back onto Kennedy Boulevard, but she couldn't shake him, Durkin said.

"He's trying to hurt us. Look at this, what a moron," she said. "Look at him! . . . Idiot!"

The dispatcher told Fernandez to drive to the Tampa police office near Raymond James Stadium, but she drove instead to the ballfield where she had been headed with her children before the chase. She met with a police officer and carefully described the Nissan and its tag number, Durkin said.

Officers traced the tag to Winkler, went to his home within an hour and arrested him.

"This could have been tragic, for her and her children and for other people on the road as this was going on," Durkin said. "But she did all the right things. She showed remarkable poise, she didn't engage him. She called us."

Tuesday's confrontation comes as authorities investigate two recent roadway incidents, one of which ended in the shooting death of a Wesley Chapel man on his way to the Strawberry Festival in Plant City.

David Neel, 49, was found dead in his gray and blue Ford F250 pickup truck Sunday after a bullet pierced his door and hit him in the chest.

The truck had veered off southbound I-75 at the ramp onto eastbound Interstate 4 and hit a tree, according to Hillsborough Sheriff's investigators. They believe he was shot as he drove along the highway, likely by someone in a moving vehicle.

Monday, a Zephyrhills woman driving south on Morris Bridge Road in Pasco County lost her rear passenger window to what Pasco investigators believe was a BB gun.

But Tuesday's incident had something different - a partisan political sting.

Janee Murphy, chairwoman of Hillsborough's Democratic Executive Committee, said bumper stickers and campaign signs attracted plenty of aggressive behavior during the election cycle, although nothing as scary as Tuesday's confrontation.

"A lot of our Democrats that had Kerry stickers came across people who got very aggressive," Murphy said. "They were having their cars keyed, having cars come up very close to them. We've had situations where people curse at them, give hand gestures because of what they have on their car.

"But it's just sad, no matter what your political beliefs are," she said. "We don't need people fighting with each other at home when we have so much going on in the Middle East."

Attempts to reach Al Higginbotham, Hillsborough Republican chairman, were unsuccessful.

Records show Winkler has been registered as a Democrat since 1996 and has lived in the Tampa Bay area for more than a decade. Calls to his home were not returned.

Winkler's father, John Winkler, 59, of Safety Harbor, didn't know about the incident until a St. Petersburg Times reporter called him. He said his son, a Web designer, is "kind of a laid back guy."

"That is so not like Nathan," he said. "I know that he is very anti-Bush. But I don't see him doing anything like that. He's certainly not aggressive. He's the least aggressive person I know."

Fernandez, too, is a Democrat. She has been a card-carrying party member since August 1988 - a few months before George W.'s father, George Herbert Walker Bush, was elected president.

Members of Fernandez's family said they don't necessarily vote along party lines. Fernandez voted for Bush in his recent re-election bid, they said.

"I'm registered as a Democrat," Fernandez's mother Marie Fernandez said. "And I voted for Bush, too. Party doesn't matter."

"I respect him for having his beliefs and feeling so strongly," Michelle Fernandez said Wednesday night, her nerves still frayed. "But here he is protesting the war and lost lives, and he is going to put me and my children in danger? This man has a serious problem."

Times staff researchers Kitty Bennett, Cathy Wos and Carolyn Edds and staff writer Kevin Graham contributed to this report. Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at svansickler@sptimes.com or 813 226-3373.
THE 911 CALL

Highlights from Michelle Fernandez's call to 911 dispatchers:

DISPATCH: 911, what's your emergency?

FERNANDEZ: Um, I was just almost run off the road by a man. He just ran me off because I have a Bush bumper sticker in my car. He had some type of - he drove up next to me with - he had a sign on it like hanging from his - from the passenger window that said something about the war in Iraq. I mean, I am shaking like a leaf. Oh, now he's following me. I'm going to get back on Kennedy now. I don't know what to do!

DISPATCH: Where are you on Kennedy?

FERNANDEZ: Right now I'm on Kennedy and Arrawana. Look, he just pulled over next to me, he's stopping the car, it's ridiculous, this man! Look he's running after my car, Oh my goodness, he's a fanatic, he's in the middle of the street! Now he's following me. He's trying to hurt us. Look at this, what a moron. Look at him! Idiot.

DISPATCH: Is that him blowing his horn at you?

FERNANDEZ: No, I was blowing my horn at somebody 'cause I'm running stop lights and everything else to get away from him.

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KidA
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scrrreeeek....scrrreeeek....

...you're wearing a hole into the bottom of that barrel.

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RickyB
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That's not a Democrat. That's a Chomskyite or worse... [Smile]
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Locus
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"With us or against us" apparently he picked a side.

Welcome to our polarized country. Quite the accomplishment for a man who ran on the platform that he could bring the parties together and unify our country.

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A. Alzabo
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quote:
That's not a Democrat. That's a Chomskyite or worse...
He's not a Naderite, or he would've been riding a bicycle.
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Daruma28
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quote:
Originally posted by KidA:
scrrreeeek....scrrreeeek....

...you're wearing a hole into the bottom of that barrel.

Which barrel would that be?
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Daruma28
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LMAO...That was simply hilarious Alzabo. [Big Grin]
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kenmeer livermaile
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Lunatic idiocy is no respecter of political pewrsuasion... or decency.
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Mr Xin Ku
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quote:
Welcome to our polarized country. Quite the accomplishment for a man who ran on the platform that he could bring the parties together and unify our country.
Wow! A Kerry supporter's road rage is Bush's fault too! No doubt the actual logistics of the street chase were pre-planned by Karl Rove.
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Haggis
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No, no. Not Rove. It was in Florida, so it's gotta be Jeb's doing. [Roll Eyes]
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Adam Masterman
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Finally, more "evidence" that democrats are unhinged. Only a few more threads like this and you'll have us all convinced. [Roll Eyes]
Adam

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Daruma28
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Are you implying a motive? lol

Now where in the post do you see DemocratS or ALL DEMOCRATS or ALL LIBERALS or ALL KERRY SUPPORTERS?

Seeing how some of you get absolutely furious when someone mentions "leftist" "liberal" or "Democrat" maybe we don't need any more evidence than your own responses... [Wink]

Anyhow, I think I understand Adam. You must certainly have that visceral reaction whenever you see a new thread by me about Liberals/Leftists/Democrats similar to the way I would get seeing the anti-Bush/anti-War thread titles all of last year posted by the same people over and over again....I sympathize with your plight. [Big Grin]

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Haggis
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Daruma,

Keep posting these things. It keeps things lively.

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KnightEnder
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I wonder how many ridiculous stories featuring conservatives I could find to post if I trawled the Liberal web pages and didn't care about clogging up the board with worthless partisan dribble?

KE

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simplybiological
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i would like to just, you know, restate on this thread that i stopped putting a darwin fish on my car because it was ripped off (along with the paint) on three separate occasions.

just saying.

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Daruma28
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KE - By all means...worthless partisan dribble can make for interesting debate. [Smile]

SB - I wonder if the people doing that realize that they are supposedly defending Christianity while violating one of it's major tenets: Thou shalt not steal?

I hope if you ever catch one in the act, you would give 'em a beat down...or at least call the cops and press charges!

Hypocrites are infuriating, no matter what side of the ideological divide they be on.

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Haggis
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Hmmm... I wonder if ripping a Darwin fish off someone else's car breaks a Commandment. If the intent was to take it for oneself then it would be breaking at least two: coveting and theft.

If they were Christians who took it, thay probably feel pretty safe, as "Thou shalt not commit petty vandalism in a futile attempt to stifle free thought for My greater glory" just didn't make the director's cut of the 10 Big Ones.

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KnightEnder
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No, partisan dribble makes for polarization, not debate. Take today's dribble for instance; what debate is there? He's a nut. End of story. In a country of billions of people it would be easy to start a new thread on the crazy thing the other side did today, but what is the point?

KE

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DonaldD
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You live in a BIG country, KE.

What exactly does a Darwin fish look like? Is it beating up a creationist or something?

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Tezcatlipoca
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quote:
In a country of billions of people
....not yet.....not yet.

*evil maniacal laugher* Muahahaha!

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Daruma28
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I just found the story interesting from the perspective kind of like rubbernecking a brutal car wreck, not necessarily for a debate...but it did remind me of that thread that got pretty heated about Bush/Kerry supporters doing terrible things to each other.

You don't find this story interesting in the least? Or are you mad/irritated at what you percieve my agenda is for posting it?

I wasn't trying to "attack" or show ALL Liberals/Democrats et al are like this or anything of the sort -- but it does feel like a chill wind of McCarthyism is blowing through Ornery where any mention of a Democrat/Liberal/Leftist in a negative light instantly garners a whole host of condemnations and derision. [Wink]

Oops. Sorry. I was chanelling Tim Robbins their for a second...

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DonaldD
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It's not so much a perceived agenda as a predictable agenda...
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Daruma28
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That goes both ways DonaldD. [Big Grin]
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DonaldD
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What, did I forget my smilie?

Hey, I call 'em like I see 'em. At least David Ricardo isn't littering the board with similarly partisan (although ususally better thought-out) threads anymore.

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Daruma28
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Aahhh - so I "litter" the board? And with less-thought out garbage? Glad to see such an appreciation for my posting....I do wonder what happened to DR.

lol [Smile]

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Everard
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The election ended.
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Daruma28
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Was that the only reason he posted here?

If so, what a colossal waste of time. Has their even been ONE person that changed their vote based on postings here at Ornery?

I highly doubt that...

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Everard
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He's still posting. I thought you meant what happened to his massive quantities of threads.

I suspect many LURKERS changed their votes, but probably not many high activity participants.

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TomDavidson
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"By all means...worthless partisan dribble can make for interesting debate."

When in the history of the world -- or even of this board -- has this ever happened?

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Daruma28
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
"By all means...worthless partisan dribble can make for interesting debate."

When in the history of the world -- or even of this board -- has this ever happened?

When some consider a topic partisan dribble and others don't, it can be interesting.

Like this article I posted...I don't consider it partisan dribble - I consider it a report on an interesting manifestation of a phenomenon in our country's political culture - while KE considered it partisan dribble.

He may not have found it interesting, but others obviously have. [Smile]

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Everard
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Umm, Daruma, who here has posted in such a way as to suggest this is an interesting topic to discuss?
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simplybiological
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quote:
What exactly does a Darwin fish look like? Is it beating up a creationist or something?
like the jesus fish, but with feet and says "darwin" inside?
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A. Alzabo
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quote:
i would like to just, you know, restate on this thread that i stopped putting a darwin fish on my car because it was ripped off (along with the paint) on three separate occasions.

just saying.

Heh. A friend of mine had one of those satan fish on his car. Someone actually smashed his windshield and left a church flyer under his wiper.

And I don't know anyone with a darwin fish whose car hasn't been vandalized at some point. That's why I never put one on.

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kenmeer livermaile
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quote:
No doubt the actual logistics of the street chase were pre-planned by Karl Rove.
Wasn't the guy driving a Rover?

quote:
worthless partisan dribble?
But this one had a chase scene. Besides, I recently met a reactionary leftist (at an espresso shop, of course) whom I can envision doing just this thing.

I would LOVE to see tag team wrestling between partisan stereotypes.

The BIBLE-THUMPER and JARHEAD versus The PROGRESSOR and The WEATHERMAN!

quote:
I wonder if the people doing that realize that they are supposedly defending Christianity while violating one of it's major tenets: Thou shalt not steal?
Maybe they're just icthyphobes?

quote:
If they were Christians who took it, thay probably feel pretty safe, as "Thou shalt not commit petty vandalism in a futile attempt to stifle free thought for My greater glory" just didn't make the director's cut of the 10 Big Ones.
Anyone remember the joke about why Moses REALLY smashed the Decalogue tablets.

(voice of God as a whirl of thunder:

"Boom Crash Roar Fulminate!"

Moses: 'You want us to cut off the tips of our WHAT?!!!!' (smashes tablet)

quote:
Take today's dribble for instance; what debate is there? He's a nut. End of story. In a country of billions of people it would be easy to start a new thread on the crazy thing the other side did today, but what is the point?
Personally, I find imagining some guy chasing me with a No Blood For Oil sign funny.

Ironic counterpoint via accidental sequence:

quote:
"Umm, Daruma, who here has posted in such a way as to suggest this is an interesting topic to discuss?"
Well, it's generated quite few posts in a short time... anyway, I don't care if it's left or right or wrong: I LIKE stories about lunatics.

It could be worse. Moms Mabley told of entering the lobby of a hotel. She was performing in toown that night. She said:

"They's a man leaning against the wal, with his ear up agin it. He sees me lookin at him, and motions me over. Says: 'Put your ear up here and tell me what you hear.' So I listen... and I listen... and I listen some more. NOTHING. I tells the man I don't hear nothing. The man looks at m all sad and says: 'Been like dat ALL DAY.' "

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Daruma28
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quote:
Originally posted by Everard:
Umm, Daruma, who here has posted in such a way as to suggest this is an interesting topic to discuss?

If it weren't interesting, no one would have added their two cents in, now would they? [Wink]
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Anonymous24
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How many people have Kerry or Bush bumper stickers on their cars? And how many have been in violent situations because of those stickers? Probably less than .01 percent or whatever.
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KnightEnder
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The vast majority of the posts on this thread have been about what a waste of time threads like this are. Very very few people commented on just the story posted. And KL likes everything, so he don't count.

KE

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kenmeer livermaile
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"And KL likes everything, so he don't count."

EVERYthing? Nirvana at last... Daruma, I guess you're fined for littering after all. Better take this kind of stuff over to miscellaneous chat where anything goes?

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The Drake
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I think situations like this are inevitable in a country the size of the US. The pool of lunatics who support Kerry is probably roughly the same split as lunatics for Bush. Now that would be a great 527 group. Lunatics for John Kerry.

Eventually, one of them pops their gourd and does something remarkably insane. I don't think it has anything to say about the polarization of the country.

I think it might be relevant that it happened in Florida, but maybe it only got press because it happened in Florida.

On the main point, most of the anti-Bushes that I know personally have gotten over it, toned it down, accepted reality. Life goes on, until it doesn't. Reading wide motives into a lone action like this along the lines of, "Look at all those Democrats running people off the roads. Why can't they get past the election?" is petty.

In Daruma's defense, there was none of that tone in the original post, though some seem to have read it that way.

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Everard
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Drake-
The reason so many people read it that way is simply because daruma has previously posted that this sort of behavior is symptomatic of the left, and posted several examples of Kerry supporters doing this sort of thing. Since this was prior to the election, his exact statements were not "Look at all those Democrats running people off the roads. Why can't they get past the election?" But more along the lines of "Look at all those Democrats being assholes. Democrats are jerks."

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