Grass Valley, CA — An area man had a brief altercation earlier this week with a collection of umbrellas he believed to be Muslim women. Lawrence Bergerson of Penn Valley took it upon himself to explain the evils of Islam to what he believed were burqa-clad women in a downtown Grass Valley restaurant. The lecture was believed to have lasted as long as 5 minutes before the management asked him to leave the property.

“I know we have some crazy people around here,” said restaurant manager Delia Berkman who was in charge at the time of the incident, “but this might be the strangest thing I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen people talk to furniture. That’s nothing new here in Grass Valley. But this guy was discussing women’s rights and the joys of salvation with Jesus with the umbrellas. You’d think after 20 seconds he’d realize that they weren’t people. It’s not like they talked back or even moved.”

A burqa, also called a burkha, bourkha, burka, burqu’, is an enveloping outer garment worn by women in some Islamic traditions to cover their bodies when in public. Many Muslims believe that the collected traditions of the life of Muhammed, or hadith, require both men and women to dress and behave modestly in public.

However, this requirement has been interpreted in many different ways by Islamic scholars and Muslim communities. Many westerners believe the burqa represents the oppression of women and needs to be discontinued as a tradition. Others can’t tell the difference between a burqa and outdoor furniture.

According to witnesses at the popular local eating establishment, Mr. Bergerson finished his hamburger inside the restaurant, when he became very agitated with some collapsed patio umbrellas that had been stored for the winter. He apparently paid his bill, and wandered out to give the furniture a piece of his mind.

“I couldn’t hear anything,” said restaurant patron May Judenfruit who was enjoying her lunch. “He started off by wagging his finger at the umbrellas. And then his mood seemed to darken and he appeared to be very angry. That’s when I could hear him shouting at them. Something about how Progressives think this is multiculturalism but he thought this was oppression. White genocide, I think he said. Or something like that. The more they didn’t answer, the angrier he got.”

Others patrons were excited by Mr. Bergerson’s behavior, noting how this is what Nevada County is all about.

“I had just finished my sliders when I see this guy shouting at these umbrellas,” said Nevada City resident and struggling author Roy Riffle. “It was like a character out of one of my drafts. I mean, it was great. This is what makes this area tick. A crazy old guy who thinks umbrellas are women in burqas? It’s going right into my book.”

He Knows One When He Sees ’em

Mr. Bergerson, a Donald Trump supporter and Nevada County Tea party Patriot activist has announced in recent Facebook posts that he is, “very concerned about Sharia Law being imposed” by what he calls “our Muslim ex-President.” He is active in several local Facebook groups, often posting questionable videos and pictures showing terrorist groups performing beheadings. Mr. Bergerson insisted in one post that he was “doing the Lord’s work.”

A typical Lawrence Bergerson Facebook status update
A typical Lawrence Bergerson Facebook status update

Friends close to Mr. Bergerson maintain that he is harmless, but a bit unhinged from watching too much cable television.

“Ever since he’s been on disability, all he does is watch cable news channels,” said retired neighbor Bob Holbart in a Gish Gallop telephone interview. “Sometimes I catch him when he’s leaving or out on a walk and all he wants to talk about is ISIS. ISIS this. ISIS that. He’ll ask me what I’m doing to prepare for terrorist attacks in the town. It’s really weird. He tried to get me to put a Donald Trump bumper sticker on my car. When I refused, he asked me why I didn’t want America to be great again. I just steer clear of him now.”

Gish Gallop reached out to Mr. Bergerson for comment on his outburst, but we were told to “go screw your Progressive selves.”

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