HEALTH-STERIA

Town-Hall Meetings Gone Wild

First there was one report of an unruly town-hall meeting this week, then another—and another. Over the past week, people on both sides of the "ObamaCare" debate have shown up to community meetings in Missouri, Florida, Texas, and Michigan with their fists raised, as members of Congress have been yelled down, hanged in effigy, and taunted. Raucous demonstrations have led to actual fistfights, too, as well as arrests and hospitalizations. Opponents of the health-care bill have undoubtedly been projecting their voices above the rest, as conservative groups encourage the use of disruptive tactics. “Become a part of the mob!” read Sean Hannity's Web site on Friday. Some opponents, including Rush Limbaugh, have even compared the Obama administration to the Nazis and the health-care logo to a swastika to rile the crowds. (The Anti-Defamation League has protested these efforts.) On Thursday, White House officials passed along tips to lawmakers about avoiding disastrous public forums. “If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard,” Jim Messina, the deputy White House chief of staff, reportedly said. But as of Sunday, there was no end to the chaos in sight.