Free Markets, Free People

Westboro protesters get an Oklahoma welcome

Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know, what they did was destructive to personal property and isn’t right.  But I’m having a hell of a time working up any real anger over that:

Shortly after finishing their protest at the funeral of Army Sgt. Jason James McCluskey of McAlester, a half-dozen protesters from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., headed to their minivan, only to discover that its front and rear passenger-side tires had been slashed.

To make matters worse, as their minivan slowly hobbled away on two flat tires, with a McAlester police car following behind, the protesters were unable to find anyone in town who would repair their vehicle, according to police.

The minivan finally pulled over several blocks away in a shopping center parking lot, where AAA was called. A flatbed service truck arrived and loaded up the minivan. Assistant Police Chief Darrell Miller said the minivan was taken to Walmart for repairs.

I’ve defended the rights of these cretins to do what they do as an act of free speech, a right that only has power if those we disagree with are able to exercise it as well. But I think these scumbuckets are the dregs. And while I don’t condone what was done to their tires, I can understand the anger that might drive some to do it.

What I found most enjoyable, however, was the fact that the repair shops refused them service. We call that the "consequence" of exercising your right of free speech.

Oh, and this:

Even before the protesters discovered their damaged tires, they faced off with a massive crowd of jeering and taunting counterprotesters at Third Street and Washington Avenue, two blocks from the First Baptist Church, where the soldier’s funeral was held.

Miller estimated that crowd to number nearly 1,000 people, and they not only drowned out the Westboro protesters with jeers, but with raucous chants of "USA, USA."

You don’t pull that sort of stunt in Oklahoma. My wife’s an Okie. I know  of what stuff they’re made . And its pretty stern.

Rest in peace, Sgt. McCluskey.

I love you, McAlester.



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17 Responses to Westboro protesters get an Oklahoma welcome

  • I heard a story once that this guy is a fraud.  He was a liberal activist lawyer and he’s basically the equivalent of a Tea Party Crasher.

    • Dunno about liberal, but I’ve heard from several places that WBC protests are just a way for the many lawyers in the Phelps family to enrich themselves using civil liberties lawsuits.

  • In Texas, we honor the “fighting words” concept of common law.  One can burn a flag as an act of free speech, but I can beat the dog-spit out of one, too, if I have the right folks on the jury.  Provocation is the key…
    I think it actually makes for MORE civil discourse.

    • I often wonder whether outlawing dueling ws a good thing. Of course there needs to be a widely held concept  of honor to make it effective.

      • I dunno…  I can think of a lot of people who have little or no honor, but a rather healthy desire not to be beaten who I’ve worked with for decades of my life.  They were more civil than a lot of the attorneys I now work with, largely because I can’t drag them out on the sidewalk (it is frowned upon–professionally speaking).

        • Yeah. Somehow ‘speaking truth to power’  loses some of its charm when that power willing to use it. 

  • If the Phelps troop (as in a family of baboons) ever gets within striking range for me, I want to take a huge Bible, and as they’re leaving, and hopefully with press coverage, declare that I believe the Bible, have searched it and prayed — and that I rebuke them in the name of Jesus, as traitors to His name and blood.

    • We could lend a new meaning to “Bible-bashing” if we referred to “laying on of hands”.  The Bill Clinton model big, big Bible would make a rather formidable weapon…

      • My family has one of those big, generational bibles that would likely kill someone if you hit them with it…

    • That might feel good for you, and I’m sure that carry a milligram of weight on their shoulders. :-;

  • [A] half-dozen protesters from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., headed to their minivan, only to discover that its front and rear passenger-side tires had been slashed.

    Disgraceful.  Utterly, totally, irremediably disgraceful.  How have we come to such a pretty pass in our country???

    Next time, dammit, burn the van and let them walk home after everybody in the town refuses to rent them a car.

    But seriously, I’m glad to see people standing up to these cretins.  I don’t REALLY support destruction of their property in response to their disgusting activities, but, as McQ says, I’m having a very hard time getting too upset about it.

    • I’ll second all that and just point out that so far they’ve been lucky…DAMN LUCKY.

  • It is so nice to see Phelps & Crud get booted out of any city. But it’s not “free speech” to go around the country and protest at military funerals while blaming any shred of acceptance of gay folks on what problems this country faces. It’s lunacy. This man is inciting hate, and worse, promoting violence even if the words never cross his lawyer-parsed lips. There’s a qualitative difference to protest at a political event, or in front of a political office, or direct one’s protest at a politician, over policies and taxes, and such, which is what free speech is about — than it is to pick a private funeral for a non-political person, a soldier, and bring that tearful event into the public eye through disruption while publicly calling, essentially, for the elimination of a whole group of fellow Americans for their mere existence.  And that’s what he’s doing, calling for a genocide of sorts, however careful he is to “not cross the line.” Just as calling for the death, however couched in terms of Free Speech, of fellow Americans, and shouting “god hates Jews” “blacks” or “latinos,” or “Italians,” or “Cheese eaters,” or for that matter  anyone else, would not be acceptable, it should not be so for gays. But when you get politicians like Carl Paladino, Clint McCance, and many others, and preachers of the cloth too, essentially saying the same thing, “God did not create us like that,” and saying gay folks are  “evil” and “sinners” and “anti-America” and “against God,” and “not natural” and on and on and such, and that we must be eliminated somehow or another, well, then, that’s a sad commentary on America, which still despises gay folks, your very children even,  so much that this is even still a matter of debate.
    And I might add that we gay folks have turned the cheek over and over again in the face of this sort of rancid nonsense, and have not acted out as many other communities would have, with riots and violence, nor even true counter-protests. No, we say “Forgive him Lord, he knows not what he does.” But it’s not speech, it’s howling lunacy, and should be subject to a competency hearing to see if he should be allowed out of an institution.
    It’s going to the Supreme Court, this cretin’s actions are. But it’s time for everyone to stop the public gay bashing with words, as people are still supposedly allowed to do under the guise of “Free Speech” for it leads to physical gay bashing with baseball bats. It’s bullying, violence, incitement and lunacy, and deserves no place in a nation of laws and decent people. Let’s hope the Supreme Court see it for what this is — incitement to violence and mayhem and akin to yelling fire in a crowded theater.

    • Please, Jim.  I consider gay folks to be “sinners”, as does anyone who reads the Bible.  But I consider mahsef to be a sinner, too.  I don’t consider a “gay” life-style to be “normal”, and a long way from a “happy” way to live, as is borne out by a lot of the trouble my homosexual friends and clients encounter in their relationships, and metrics.
      We can go round and round about it being “natural” and “against God”, and I would never condone hating or hurting someone on any of those predicates…quite the contrary.  By the same token, I would not do anyone the disservice of pretending I thought a destructive life-style was just peachy, either.  But, in my world, it would likely never come up.  It’s a “non-ya”…as in “none of your business”…issue.

      • The only “sin” is ignorance, and the only salvation is enlightenment. — Georges Santayana

      • Ragspierre – It’s a “non-ya”…as in “none of your business”…issue.

        I agree.  So long as a person isn’t hurting somebody else, ESPECIALLY a child, it’s really none of my business how he spends his time.  It is, shall we say, between him and God.

        Jim Hlavac[I]t’s not “free speech” to go around the country and protest at military funerals while blaming any shred of acceptance of gay folks on what problems this country faces. It’s lunacy.

        While I absolutely agree that what Phelps and his odious “church” do is lunacy, I am quite chary of declaring it not to be allowed under “free speech”.  If Phelps’ protests, disgusting as they are, are not protected under the First Amendment, then what else isn’t?  Who gets to decide?

        As for verbal bashing leading to physical assault… Nah.  When I was a child, “gay” and “faggot” were common insults.  Yet, I can’t imagine that any of my friends who used those terms would dream of hitting or otherwise harming a homosexual.  And if they did, then we have laws to deal with that, and I am four-square in favor of enforcing them to the limit.