Does it really matter what was said (even if vile and offensive) does it really justify someone to physically and verbally assault someone?
Perhaps it does (in Texas we have the expression, 'thems fightin' words'), but if you do respond, then you are then responsible for your own actions.
Sounds like the lady initiated a rowdy conversation with the gentlemen who said the improper comment. Who knows what she said to him to make him respond, I'm thinking something just as improper. Then she really went off the deep end and with her previous history of abuse the Captain took action.