As you know, Bruce has been embroiled in trouble since angrily kicking a news photographer in the knee during the lawmaker's very first session at the state Capitol in Denver. The kick came after the photographer took Bruce's picture during a prayer. ("Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy ouch.")
Nine days later, as of our deadline for this paper, the leaders of our state House still were debating how to punish Bruce. Finally,on Thursday, they voted 62-1 (no, Bruce wasn't the one; he wasn't allowed to vote) to censure him, something that never had happened in the Legislature's history.
So, after watching the lawmakers follow their usual habit of moving with tortoise-like speed, let's review some of what we've learned:
If you listen to Republicans in El Paso County, the kick was the result of the Rocky Mountain News photographer intentionally placing his knee in front of Bruce's shoe just as the lawmaker was having an attack of that restless legs syndrome we've been seeing on TV ads.
The county's Republicans who still claim they were not on drugs when they sent the former county commissioner to Denver actually believe the kick was not Bruce's fault. It's a belief deeply rooted in their love of their political party and, of course, the suspected inbreeding that keeps their population up.
Here is an excerpt from an actual letter to the editor by a typical reader of the Gazette, which is hiring Bruce to kick-start its plummeting circulation:
"[Bruce] mirrors the patriots who started this great nation over 200 years ago." Tony Staley
Tony was referring to that moment in American history when, during a debate about the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, Thomas Jefferson kicked Aaron Burr in the knee. (Historians say after he stopped hopping around, Burr pointed out an alleged stain on the president's frilly shirt, and when Jefferson looked down to find it, Burr shoved his finger under the president's nose and flicked it, setting off the War of 1812.)
Another typical Gazette reader, Joanne Runstadler, wrote: "It is the Rocky Mountain News that should apologize ..."
(Footnote: Runstadler is also still waiting for Native Americans to apologize for picking on Gen. George Custer in 1876.)
Bruce himself described the full kick as a "poke" or a "nudge," which changed the thinking of many Coloradans. In a survey last weekend, 98 percent say they would now like to give Bruce a good, swift nudge in the testicles.
Bruce's nudge-poke claim came despite the kick being captured by a TV camera, complete with a loud thwack. Sound analysis experts examined the tape and on Tuesday issued the following finding:
"It is the unmistakable sound of a human kneecap being impacted with moderate to heavy force by a cheap, brown loafer that smells terrible, a shoe likely owned by an aging man who has never been married, a lawmaker, perhaps, who probably spends a lot of time in the bathroom "conducting non-public hearings,' if you know what we mean."
I am just kidding, of course. The experts didn't say anything about the shoe being brown.
Seriously, Workplace Violence Headquarters, a private research firm, says such incidents take place some 1.5 million times each year in offices and other places of work. The company calls punching and kicking "simple assaults," and says the typical offender shows signs that include bullying and having emotional problems.
(To which I, in this specific case, might add: Check. Check.)
And there's this sign:
A loner. Withdrawn. Feels nobody listens to him. Feels picked on.
Bruce tried to do something last summer in that loner department. He flew halfway around the world and conducted a month-long search (unsuccessful, unless you count the startled donkey in Belarus) for a companion, a quest that took him to remote lands such as Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
And even the most likely of places for Bruce to find a soulmate: Kickistan.
Listen to Rich Tosches on the Darren and Coba Show, Thursdays at 8 a.m. on MY99.9. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amazing story of some amazing groups of people who care. Well done.
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