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A Montana man was charged with felony assault on a minor Monday after a Saturday attack on a 13-year-old who didn't take his hat off during the national anthem at the Mineral County Fair and Rodeo. Immediately after picking the kid up by the neck and throwing him to the ground, fracturing the boy's skull, 39-year-old Curt Brockway told bystanders the attack was completely justified. According to eyewitness Taylor Hennick,

"There was a little boy lying on the ground," she said. "He was bleeding out of his ears, seizing on the ground, just not coherent." She said she recognized the boy as a family member's neighbor [...]

"He said (the boy) was disrespecting the national anthem so he had every right to do that," Hennick said.

Wednesday, Brockway's attorney, Lance Jasper, told the Billings Gazette that Brockway, an Army vet who suffered a brain injury in a vehicular accident in 2000, was simply acting in response to Donald Trump's repeated public condemnations of sportsball players who don't respect the flag. Yes, Jasper, who represented Brockway in a previous felony assault case (for which he is still on probation), is completely serious.


"His commander in chief is telling people that if they kneel, they should be fired, or if they burn a flag, they should be punished," Jasper said. "He certainly didn't understand it was a crime."

Yr Dok Zoom is not a lawyer, but we're betting Jasper's going to have a lot more luck arguing Brockway's head injury resulted in diminished capacity than that he thought he was acting on Donald Trump's orders.

Brockway was arrested at the fairgrounds in Superior, an itty bitty town in western Montana, about four and a half light-years from anywhere (and around the corner from your Editrix's house). According to a charging document,

Brockway told Deputy Micah Allard the national anthem was playing before the rodeo got underway, and he noticed a young teenager still wearing his hat. Brockway told the deputy he asked the youth to remove his hat because it was disrespectful, to which the youth responded by saying "(expletive) you."

Again, we won't pretend to be Assistant DA Sam Waterston here, but we might just argue the boy's sassing back may have played as much a role as patriotic fervor in Brockway's violent reaction. Something about the last refuge of a scoundrel, also.

Jasper plans to seek a mental health evaluation for Brockway, and that sounds like a good idea to us. Brockway was honorably discharged from the Army in 2000 after suffering a traumatic brain injury in a vehicle crash while on holiday leave.

[Jasper] said Brockway's military background has been central to his identity since suffering the injury to his frontal lobe, which controls cognitive functions like judgement and problem solving.

Couple that injury, Jasper argues, with the president's calls to weed out those who have protested the national anthem or criticized the nation, and Brockway is no longer thinking for himself but responding to a presidential order.

Yr Dok Zoom knows, from family experience, that brain injuries can result in serious personality changes, and can definitely result in increased impulsivity, so we're sympathetic, to a degree. But we do wonder what steps are being taken to ensure that the man, who was released on his own recognizance, is not hurting other children who sass him or the flag.

Jasper doesn't even sound all that confident in that argument himself, frankly:

"Trump never necessarily says go hurt somebody, but the message is absolutely clear," Jasper said. "I am certain of the fact that (Brockway) was doing what he believed he was told to do, essentially, by the president."

Jasper plans to deploy that argument. "There is the defense that his mental illness or brain injury that will be raised, along with permission given by the president," Jasper said. "Whether that passes muster with the court as a viable defense is for a different day."

Defense attorney gotta defense, we guess. In 2010, Brockway was charged with a felony "after pulling a gun on a family member when he was coming back from cutting firewood." He was sentenced to 10 years' probation in that case, in which Jasper also represented him. The judge took the brain injury into account at sentencing. Brockway successfully petitioned earlier this year to end his probation early, so this weekend's alleged attack didn't violate the probation he was no longer on.

Jasper said Brockway's family has received "hundreds" of death threats since news spread about the incident, because literally everyone in the world is terrible. But hooray, at least that 2010 felony conviction kept Brockway from having a gun, and the kid he grabbed by the neck and flung into the grandstands is still alive.

There's also a GoFundMe for the boy, who had to be flown to a trauma center in Spokane for treatment, because US America is still free and there's no socialized medicine, thank god.

Brockway will be arraigned next Wednesday, Aug. 14, by which time we imagine InfoWars will have found out whether the boy who left his hat on at the rodeo is a supporter of Antifa.

Update: Story clarified with a note that Brockway was let off probation early, so this was not a violation.

[Billings Gazette / Missoulian]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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