Patterico's Pontifications

10/31/2007

Westboro Baptist Church hit with $11M Judgment

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 3:30 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka KS is well-known for its objection to homosexuality. Church members picket military funerals based on the belief that the war in Iraq is a punishment for the nation’s tolerance of homosexuality.

One grieving father whose son’s funeral was the subject of a protest sued the Church for invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Church claimed it was exercising its right to free speech. Today the jury returned an $11M verdict against the Church:

“Albert Snyder of York, Pa., sued the Westboro Baptist Church for unspecified damages after members demonstrated at the March 2006 funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq.

The jury first awarded $2.9 million in compensatory damages. It returned later in the afternoon with its decision to award $6 million in punitive damages for invasion of privacy and $2 million for causing emotional distress.”

The Judge noted that the size of the award for the compensatory damages alone “far exceeds the net worth of the defendants” according to financial statements filed with the court.

Good.

— DRJ

268 Responses to “Westboro Baptist Church hit with $11M Judgment”

  1. Good.

    They have a right to free speech, but not to abuse it by intentionally bothering others who are grieving; protest some other time and place than at a funeral.

    htom (412a17)

  2. The 6 million for invasion of privacy should definitely be struck down. I’m not comfortable with the rest either.

    I explain why on Captain Ed’s post here, in that, and the subsequent few comments, then tgharris explains very succinctly my position, and Carol Herman, whom I ordinarily disagree with, explains a point that I wholly miss.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  3. sorry kids, but as long as they’re not disruptive, it’s their right.
    It’s gonna come back and bite your ass on abortion protests.

    blah (fb88b3)

  4. htom, they had a legal right to be where they were. In fact, they were protesting at the exact spot where a law passed specifically to curtail its actions demanded they be restricted to.

    So the 6 million for invasion of privacy is gone on appeal, guaranteed.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  5. blah, you are TOTALLY right. That is the point Carol Herman made… the discussion in the Captain Ed post is definitely worthwhile reading.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  6. But the homos are destroying this country! All good Republicans know it is our duty to do whatever it takes to end this scourge!

    homohater (128577)

  7. I am really not convinced that homosexuals are destroying our respective nations.

    DRJ, I think you’d find the above link interesting… not totally on topic, but something I think you might enjoy reading.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  8. I could care less about the homosexual issue and it wouldn’t matter to me if they are protesting Iraq, unfair taxes, the Teletubbies, or whatever. IMO this was a deliberate act to cause an invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  9. DRJ, I thought you might find the actual religious issue interesting and the interpretation of scriptures regarding this issue. I found the pastor’s sermons on these topics fascinating and his scriptural examples compelling.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  10. Is there anyone here who seriously believes that the Snyders will collect a dime?

    Dana (556f76)

  11. Yes.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  12. How could anyone who lives in our great country have anything nice to say about this group.

    john ivanoff (fc2c22)

  13. “How could anyone who lives in our great country have anything nice to say about this group.”

    That’s not the point

    blah (fb88b3)

  14. Thank God they lost. Maybe the hate mongers will be silenced. If you look at things logically, would we tolerate them if they were racists? I think Not! It is time for America to get past bigotry. We have enough problems to deal with outside of our country, and it is time for all of us to respect each other. Regardless of what your personal agenda is.

    cd (b706f6)

  15. Intentional infliction of emotional distress happens every time we say something somebody does not want to hear. This case can go nowhere on appeal which would make very good law or it can be sustained which would make some very bad law.

    nk (7aed24)

  16. DRJ: So WHAT!! You’re allowed to have free speech even if it pi..aggravates people. God, you are so wimpy and so stupid.

    TCO (3b23ad)

  17. NK,

    As I understand the law relating to intentional infliction of emotional distress, it has evolved to include outrageous conduct. I think it started in California law but has been adopted in many jurisdictions, either outright or in effect. It’s not my favorite development in the law but as long as it’s there, this seems like a textbook case.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  18. TCO sounds familiar.

    nk, there’s a difference between saying somethng I disagree with and coming to the funeral of a loved one and yelling/holding up signs/being a dick about “he died because of the fags”.

    Those people deserved to lose, and while the amount might have been too much, I would wager a significant portion (A million or more) will stand.

    This was an Intentional Tort violation, and I don’t think you could honestly agrue otherwise.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  19. God, you are so wimpy and so stupid.

    TCO, I’d bet my life on DRJ not only running rings around you intellectually any day of the week, but also that she could kick your behind from here to Kingdom Come.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  20. TCO, there are many boundaries to free speech, some of them criminal law in nature, some of them in tort law.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  21. Of course, the speech is cruel. And there’s a difference between cruel speech and uncruel speech. But it’s still speech! Take a mallet and drive that concept through your foreheads. GRRRRRRRRRRRR.

    TCO (3b23ad)

  22. SPQR, you’re a squishy liberal. I bet you would rat out your buddies in a POW camp. You don’t deserve to be in America. Go slime over to Russia.

    TCO (3b23ad)

  23. Oh…I didn’t know DRJ was a chica…we have gurls here?

    TCO (3b23ad)

  24. TCO, I suspect that you’re soon to learn the limits of speech on this very website…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  25. TCO,

    There are limits on all Constitutional rights, including free speech. The hard part is knowing where to draw the lines.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  26. And no, we don’t have “gurls”.

    We have women and ladies.

    And as you demonstrate, we also have assholes.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  27. DRJ, people like you with your limits make me sick. Hope you have fun selling your soul. That’s not why Thomas Paine wrote his pamphlets. That’s not why men fought and died. Go have fun with the Rangels of this world. That’s where you belong.

    TCO (1c4d1b)

  28. Scott, the idiot in you brings out the asshole in me.

    TCO (3b23ad)

  29. I’m just an outsider here, an official and a teacher, and just a novice on the law, but, I would think that the judge would understand some of the points you all have made, and did some form of directed verdicts if the jury acted improperly, or even some instructions beforehand….

    Now, my opinion about this, and I am a firm believer in free speech, but, doesn’t it come with some responsibilities, and that may or could include some simple respect for others….even if they were protesting in a “legal” place doesn’t make it right….because as I read what some of you have written, it seems as though they could have protested at the next grave site in the cemetary, and should have lost in court…

    Some degree of help may be needed here…

    reff (99666d)

  30. TCO, your comments show that you are a very poor judge of other people.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  31. You know it hurts my feelings if you cheer for the Dallas Cowboys. Traumatically. Sheesh. I don’t care if it’s cruel. Or rather…I do care. And I think the way to handle it is with disdain and counterpeaking out and such. But it’s SPEECH. This is still a free country. That’s why we killed people to make it so. That’s why we drilled the redcoats and left Englishmen dying by the side of the road from Lexington to Concorde. Because this place IS FREEE!!!

    TCO (3b23ad)

  32. TCO– apparently, it doesn’t take much.

    You are an absolute idiot if you think your ranting does anything but embarrass anyone who agrees with you.

    YOU ARE DOING HARM TO YOUR PERSPECTIVE.

    Is that clear enough?

    If I was inclined to agree with you, I would rethink my views due to the sheer level of stupidity you are exhibiting by failing to give arguments, rather than personal insults. (Yes, it may be a shock, but accusing someone of being “wimpy and stupid” is really, really ineffective.)

    Foxfier (97deae)

  33. Huh? I haven’t judged any people. I’m making a point. Get over your liberal “feeling” and think. Bonk your head with a hammer and stop being such a liberal.

    TCO (3b23ad)

  34. 32. I know. I’m still right though, even if I don’t keep my cool.

    TCO (3b23ad)

  35. TCO, you really do need to grow up because your commentary does not add to the discussion. You really are not “right” just because you are stubborn about refusing to understand the thinking of the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  36. Of course, I’m not right FOR the reason of stubborness. I already said I’m right despite it. I mean the points are the same. If I say the derivative of X^2 is 0.5X, you explitive, explitive, I’m still right. The points don’t change based on who made them or how made. Unless you are some sort of deconstructionalist Marxist.

    TCO (3b23ad)

  37. blah, Rudy didn’t lie….you can say he quoted numbers from a bad study, and you might have an argument….but, his fact that the numbers are better here for cancer survival than there are true, no matter what study you quote….and a close to 10% better rate of survival is not something to ignore….especially when “socialized medicine” may very well be coming here, and that isn’t good…

    Next, please show me where the author of the other article is not a puppet of the Iranian government….his “bona fides” not withstanding, he could have been writing with a gun at head, under duress…

    As so many have said that STB must be doing in Iraq recently….

    reff (99666d)

  38. dang, I put that in the wrong place….sorry…i”ll fix it…

    reff (99666d)

  39. Huh? I haven’t judged any people.

    Do we seriously need to quote yourself to you?

    I mean, really. Trolling is one thing, but picking up for Alphie is entirely another.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  40. If I say the derivative of X^2 is 0.5X, you explitive, explitive, I’m still right. The points don’t change based on who made them or how made. Unless you are some sort of deconstructionalist Marxist.

    Sorry, the math geek in me can’t let this one slide…

    I’m still right. Unless you are some sort of deconstructionalist Marxist.

    Or capable of business Calc.

    The first derivitive of X^2 is 2X, not .5X

    Honestly, I fell off my chair laughing when you pulled that one.

    Just go away TCO, and we’ll cease mocking you. Stay, and we can’t be held accountable for our actions…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  41. LOL, that’s a good one Scott.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  42. you’re right, it’s 2x.

    TCO (3b23ad)

  43. And I’m not a liberal, so you are batting 0 for 3 TCO.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  44. Which means – you explitive, explitive – that you’re wrong.

    Run along now, TCO. Grown ups are talking.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  45. No. I like being corrected. and am willing to admit it when shown it. Unlike 95% of left and right who will argue a point that they don’t even beleive in once made, to try to avoid looking wrong.

    TCO (3b23ad)

  46. But you are a liberal. A feeeeeeeeling liberal, SPQR.

    TCO (3b23ad)

  47. TCO lacks reading comprehension. DRJ reported facts and expressed no opinions in her post.

    Unlike TCO, DRJ is a class act.

    Jerri Lynn Ward (bf2d8c)

  48. I pretty much destroyed the comments in this thread. Luckily it is not a very important one, so Pat will not discipline me.

    DRJ is sweet and I am annoying. I know. But she’s still liberal and confused.

    TCO (3b23ad)

  49. and am willing to admit it when shown it.

    Impossible.

    You have had explained to you the very basics of tort here, along with the concept of “limitations upon basic rights”.

    Get convicted of a felony, and try and legally buy a gun. I dare you.

    Walk up to a cop, and after swearing for a few moments tell him you are going to effing kill him/her.

    Get on an airplane, and say that you have a bomb.

    There are limits to free speech. Free speech only works if those exercise it use restraint and good judgement.

    Holding up picket signs and chanting how “God hates Fags” and that the recently departed soldier died because we have gays in our country is stepping over a line. A big line.

    A “reasonable person” would not consider doing something like that. A reasonable person would understand that to do that at a grave-site would likely inflict upon at least the parents and family some sort of emotional trauma. Not only have they lost a child, but “those people over there” seem to be glad about it.

    This was a clear case of Intentional Tort involving emotional injury.

    You seem intent on calling everyone who disagrees with you a softy, a commie, an idiot, a wimp, and/or unworthy of being an American.

    You are not debating, you are name calling.

    And I for one am rather sick of it.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  50. I admitted the formula.

    TCO (3b23ad)

  51. Yes you did. Congrats. Gold stars all around.

    Now admit to being an insulting, insipid, pointless ass, and we’ll have the basics of an understanding.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  52. I admit the insulting part.

    TCO (3b23ad)

  53. I think that TCO might just be a highly precocious 14 year old boy with a good vocabulary.

    Jerri Lynn Ward (bf2d8c)

  54. I pretty much destroyed the comments in this thread. Luckily it is not a very important one, so Pat will not discipline me.

    Oh, really?

    TCO has just joined alphie in the purgatory of the moderation queue.

    Ta-ta for now!

    Patterico (bad89b)

  55. One week time-out.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  56. Okay, TCO, let’s reset this discussion. Let me give you an example that involves the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Even though the right to bear arms is a Constitutional right, society has accepted restrictions on that right. You, I and others may wish there were no restrictions but there are some. For instance, we don’t let 8-year-olds drive cars or take guns to school, even though my Dad did both as a child in rural Texas. He was the oldest son and he drove a car to take his younger siblings to school. He also carried a gun to protect his younger siblings from rattlesnakes between home and school and at recess. That was no big deal then, and I suspect it was even more common 100+ years ago, but it would rarely happen now because society accepts some restrictions on the right to bear arms.

    Once you accept one restriction, the legal question becomes blurred. Where do we stop? People can draw a line at different places but we can’t argue there shouldn’t be a line drawn because we’ve already accepted there are exceptions. The point becomes how we balance competing interests.

    Similarly, the law recognizes legal limits on free speech so we have to balance the interest of free speech with other interests. Free speech is very important and it often trumps other concerns but that’s not always true. I think in this case it met it’s match.

    Jerri Lynn and Scott: Thanks for the nice words.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  57. Scott: I understand the concept of a tort. I just disagree with a tort being used for someone having their feelings hurt from speech. And you are being silly/stupid by bringing up the example of an assualt (threat). I’m aware of what that is. It is not the same as hurting someone’s feelings.

    And I actually have a lot of points. If you were fair, instead of conflating the sin with the sinner you would realize that. (This does not nesc justify bad behaviour of course, but they’re independant variables. Like the derivative with the curly d, not the straight one…)

    TCO (3b23ad)

  58. Thanks good sir.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  59. Whew. Thanks Patterico.

    Promise to share the angry e-mail he sends you in about 10 or 15 minutes about how dare you give him a week off? :)

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  60. DRJ, if you want me to greenlight TCO’s response (if any) I will.

    But frankly I have lost patience. I haven’t even really bothered to read every comment for substance. I saw the attitude and insults, and the proud declaration that he had destroyed the thread and I wouldn’t discipline him, and the father in me immediately gave a timeout.

    I recommend you leave him there.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  61. TCO,

    I didn’t see Patterico’s time-out until I already posted my last comment. I wasn’t trying to get the last word. If you want, I’ll be glad to hold-off on this subject until you come back.

    Patterico,

    It’s fine. Patience is a virtue that I could use more of, too, and TCO may have a great response after thinking on this for a week.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  62. Wait…I was going to hit on Jerri Lynn first…

    TCO (3b23ad)

  63. Scott& all– let the idiot rant.

    Seriously.

    He can’t seem grasp the idea that his rights end when someone else’s begin.

    He can’t seem to grasp that there is little point to saying things if you are not going to do so in a way that folks will actually listen to; this means he’s either very egotistical or acting foolish for his own amusement.

    There seems to be a disturbing trend in immature members of our society towards seeing causing annoyance as something other than a mark against them.

    Foxfier (97deae)

  64. the proud declaration that he had destroyed the thread and I wouldn’t discipline him

    Which is the “unlimited warfare” trigger for most fathers, I believe… :)

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  65. I accept the punishment, no angry email. And if Pat has a hard time physically making the ban happen, will just honor his wishes.

    TCO (3b23ad)

  66. Boo.

    I need to refresh more before posting my sage advice. ;^p

    Foxfier (97deae)

  67. lolz Fox.

    Ok folks. I’m outta here for a couple of hours. Need to go say howdy to some folks at a local watering hole, and try and committ some acts of capitalism…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  68. So, the left plays the right like a fiddle again. When it comes to respect for those serving or having served, that trumps the right wing’s (or their adherents and friends) hate for the gays lifestyle… add in that right wing hyper adherence to “the law and courts judgements and punishments” – and subtract their often raging disdain for massively over awarded lawsuit figures… which they support in this case…
    lol
    Yesiree… it’s nice to have so much mixed all up in one big fat wretching ragefest.
    So, let’s see. The right has to distance itself from the Christian right anti-gay movement, then embrace the formerly hated excessive jury awards, then weasel around the first amendment, then ignore the fact that the video at Hot Air clearly shows the protesters far back, and finally they have to embrace the gay? downed soldier ?
    The best bet is to have a big fat hissy fit about “respecting the mourners” – a way to play that liberal “you hurt my feelings while my feelings were hurting” card.
    Yes, I’d say it’s a GIGANTIC WIN for the left.
    How pathetic it all looks from here.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  69. Patterico,

    On further thought, I think a timeout of a day or two is plenty but it’s your call.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  70. Doc – You’re not serious, right?

    I don’t think anyone one wants to claim a right/left victory in this instance.

    TCO was ranting the liberal rant about the first amendment, without considering tort law remedies.

    I’d be happy to get into the left’s intolerance of free speech if that’s the road you want to go down.

    What the Phelps’ actually had on their signs matters less to me than their conduct. They could have been ranting about any number of loony things and the outcome should have been the same.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  71. Silicondoc, uh no, one does not have to distance oneself from anything to condemn the Westboro clowns obnoxious stunts. Pro-gay, virulantly anti-gay, or don’t-give-a-damn about gays, everyone I know hates these disgusting whackjobs.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  72. Used to be that if a greiving father decided that a “protester” had impugned the honor of his son, he could challenge said protester to a duel and shoot the person between the eyes or run him through (yah yah, no protesters back in 1830, I know). I don’t know, but I bet it also used to be that in the same situation, the father, and maybe a bunch of the dead soldiers buddies could decide, instead, to lope over and completely beat the stuffing out of the entire group of “protesters” and nobody would complain much. Putting a few limits on “asshole” speech seems like a better solution than the former system. Although if a group of soldiers let the current protesters know what they thought of their chosen venue for protest by kicking the crap out of their homophobic asses, I, for one, still wouldn’t bat an eye. Wanna protest gays?, go wave signs at a gay pride parade somewhere.

    EdWood (1fb98c)

  73. SiliconDoc,

    Not to pile on, but please consider this: The Church members could have exercised their free speech rights at a military cemetery (at a time when there wasn’t a funeral), a government office, a politician’s speech, or a gay pride parade (as EdWood suggested). They chose this venue for the publicity value but the right to free speech doesn’t mean the right to all the publicity you want. The family’s ability to peaceably bury their son is important, too, and when the Church members targeted this funeral they intentionally interfered with this family.

    So, on the one hand, we have the right to free speech that can be exercised in several venues. On the other hand, we have the family’s need to peaceably bury their son and that can only happen once. I think it is reasonable for a jury to decide the family’s needs should be protected, and protecting the individual is a very conservative value.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  74. You have the right to your opinion, but being a jerk is actionable. It’s called verbal assault, and perps deserve a good ass whuppin’

    Alan Kellogg (4b4608)

  75. If an anti-war homosexual group wanted to hold a rally at the funeral of the dead government employee ( KIA soldier ) to express their opposition to the government’s war and even their glee that a soldier died while engaged in that war that they oppose, would that be free speech?

    It then becomes a matter of a private citizen being emotionally hurt by those who are protesting the government. Certainly the WBC people should be smacked around for their actions but wouldn’t it be best if this was done physically with a jury letting the inflictor of the punishment off the hook? Surely if the kid who planned against the WBC at the Falwell funeral succeeded, a jury wouldn’t have convicted.

    I’m convinced that the drafters would have had an assumption that punishment would be meted out for such people as the WBC before constitutinal matters would ever need to be contemplated.

    j curtis (8bcca6)

  76. I thought TCO was right, but obnoxious. Where he earned the timeout though was in stating Patterico wouldn’t have the balls to give him one. That was just dumb.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  77. If the conduct was just protesting and not intentionally disruptive

    Going going gone

    I’m not sure if they made physical contact or shouted screamed during the service – I don’t know the facts but if they were just holding their stupid insipid signs by the roadside

    Then bye bye verdict

    EricPWJohnson (695c44)

  78. Heh, heh. TCO is entertaining and intriguing, but he’s wrong about SPQR. When he comes back, ask him about climate.
    ========================

    kim (248517)

  79. If the conduct was just protesting and not intentionally disruptive

    Phelps is nothing BUT intentionally disruptive.

    The guy is a tool, pure and simple. I’ve heard stories of services with this guy or his “flock” have shown up, and “disruptive” is being very, very kind when discribing what they did.

    I suspect that at least part of the judgement will stand. I would guess that the $6 million for invasion of privacy will get overturned, but the $2.9 mil for compensatory damages and $2 mil for causing emotional distress will stick.

    Scott Jacobs (425810)

  80. Kim, you don’t live near our good host, do you? :)

    I know I’ve seen TCO somewhere (maybe here), and boy, I sure didn’t REMEMBER him being that bad.

    But I ain’t gonna miss him.

    Scott Jacobs (425810)

  81. Steve McIntyre enjoys moderating TCO.
    =====================================

    kim (248517)

  82. Well, if you’re going to do it alot, it’s good to enjoy what you do. :)

    Scott Jacobs (425810)

  83. I’ve read with interest all the comments on this issue and agree with all those who think that the actions of the Westboro Church are outrageous and disrespectful.

    That said, however, as a retired lawyer (but no expert in Con Law) I am troubled by the overriding of First Amendment rights here. Clearly, our First Amendment rights should outweigh any tort claims someone might want to make against us in almost every case. Otherwise free speech could be severely limited – I shouldn’t be able to sue you for hurting my feelings just because you call me a worthless moonbat/nutroot commie/fascist slob idiot.

    I took a look at what an expert, Eugene Volokh at UCLA Law School had to say, since he’s a well respected libertarian-leaning conservative scholar and post his comments and a couple of links for consideration. Volokh was quoted in yesterday’s article on this case in the Baltimore Sun as saying, “I think when speech is a matter of public concern it still has to be protected, even when by social standards it is extraordinarily rude and outrageous.”

    In an article on free speech that Volokh wrote for the Stanford Law Review in 2000 that discusses this issue, he says, “[I]s it constitutional for the government to suppress certain kinds of speech in order to protect dignity, prevent disrespectful behavior, prevent emotional distress, or to protect a supposed civil right not to be talked about? Under current constitutional doctrine, the answer seems to be no. Though the Supreme Court has sometimes left open the door to the possibility of restricting truthful speech simply on those grounds, the general trend of the cases cuts against this: Even offensive, outrageous, disrespectful, and dignity-assaulting speech is constitutionally protected.”

    He goes on to say, “And there is good reason for this approach. All of us can imagine some speech that is so offensive and at the same time so valueless that we would feel no loss if it were restricted, but the trouble is that each of us has a somewhat different vision of which speech should qualify. The more courts conclude that avoidance of disrespect or emotional distress is a ‘compelling interest’ that justifies restricting the speech we find worthless, the more likely they will be to accept the same arguments for restricting the speech we value.”

    I agree with him, even in this dismaying case. We have always interpreted the First Amendment in favor of allowing as much speech as possible, seeing this as essential to protecting our overall freedom. I think it’s no different here, however offensive. I would agree with Volokh, however, as he concludes in his article below, that we can limit put limits on the time, place and manner of such protests, such as putting them at some distance from the funeral.

    Links to Volokh’s comments on this general issue are:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/volokh200603230730.asp

    http://www.law.ucla.edu/volokh/privacy.htm#DignityEmotionalDistress

    JayHub (0a6237)

  84. I think the thing people are missing is that Phelps can still spew his hate abd bile…

    His speech is still unrestricted.

    But there can and should be consequences to what is said. Just because you have a the freedom of speech doesn’t mean there aren’t times when you should be held accountable for it.

    Scott Jacobs (425810)

  85. It’s true that there should be consequences to such thing as lying about another’s behavior (slander), threatening someone, etc… but to assess millions of dollars against an admittedly loony church for advancing the, arguably correct (I personally disagree) notion that God despises fags… and the definitely correct biblical notion that God punishes whole populations for increasing sin within it… (I’m simply saying this is what the Bible says and if you disagree, read the Old Testament again)… is a dangerous slippery slope.

    I am sure when I say to a person abortion is murder and God hates abortion they must be mightily pissed, particularly if they support abortion, have had an abortion they feel good about, or make money from abortions. I’m sure they must be angry, sad, offended.

    But I’m right in this case. And in any event, I’m right to say it.

    Now, if the state legislature where I am visiting has passed a law stating I must be X yards away from an abortion clinic when carrying a deeply (to them — more so to me) offensive sign of a bloody foetal corpse… and I do that in complete compliance with the law… by this precedent, both the patients who are, admittedly, not public figures and the doctors who in most cases equally are not can now sue me for millions and millions of dollars.

    So to say I have the “freedom of speech and religion” to lose millions of dollars to my moral adversaries with each afternoon of protest is to say I have no freedom at all.

    Phelps is a jerk par excellence… but the remedy to that in a free society is to point that out to him and write letters of support to the family… not to start suing churches for protesting where state law says they can protest.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  86. “But I’m right in this case.”

    -Christoph

    Maybe. Or maybe the Bible actually means it when it decries homosexuality over and over and over again, in the Old Testament and the New.

    Leviticus (68eff1)

  87. I’m talking about abortion, Leviticus. I know that is evil and did long before I became a Christian.

    I am less certain about homosexuality (it troubles me for example that my two fellow countrymen who were arrested in an infamous pedophile part of Thailand were both gay and that by many accounts homosexuals are overrepresented as child molesters) than about abortion.

    Abortion is killing kids: straight, gay, the 1% who will become asexual…

    If you clicked on that link and listened to the sermons — all of which I recommend — I found the pastor’s reasoning on homosexuality quite interesting to say the least. If homosexuality ultimately is a sin I personally don’t have a big problem with it even if God does.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  88. *correction… one arrested, one recently identified, but still on the loose

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  89. Leviticus, where in the New Testament is homosexuality condemned? Also, I note that the old testament states that shellfish are an abomination. Does eating a shrimp cocktail condemn one to an eternity of hellfire?

    Moops (444e9b)

  90. Moops, I urge you to peruse those links and especially listen to the sermons. If the pastor is right — a big if — then far from being condemned, Jesus may have blessed it.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  91. Does eating a shrimp cocktail condemn one to an eternity of hellfire?

    Apparently, yes

    /deadpan

    Scott Jacobs (425810)

  92. Scott, at 18: I think you could argue that the entire category of intentional infliction of emotional distress torts is bogus and should be abolished. But I also think it would take legislative action to do it.

    Given that the tort exists and has been adopted in many jurisdictions, this seems like a good example.

    Daleyrocks, at 67: They could have been ranting about any number of loony things and the outcome should have been the same.

    I agree, 100%. I don’t like what they were saying, but they have every right to say it. Showing up at the funeral of a soldier and saying it there, though, is obnoxious, and I think the family members have every right to sue them over it.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  93. Then again, they can’t do this stuff in Kansas (where Phelps is from)…

    It’s an actual law forbidding protests at funerals…

    Scott Jacobs (425810)

  94. “Leviticus, where in the New Testament is homosexuality condemned?”

    -Moops

    Try Romans through Revelation (or, if that’s too vague, any letter Paul wrote, ever).

    Leviticus (ed6d31)

  95. Kansas Law:

    More on the Kansas law enacted in April (from the AP): “The law says protesters cannot be within 150 feet of a funeral one hour before the service, during it or two hours after it. The law will not take effect until the Kansas Supreme Court or a federal court upholds it as constitutional.”

    From yesterday’s Baltimore Sun on this case:

    “Alarmed by Westboro protests, at least 22 states have proposed or enacted laws to limit the rights of protesters at funerals. Only months after Matthew Snyder’s death, Maryland passed a law prohibiting targeted picketing within 300 feet of a funeral, burial, memorial service or funeral procession.” [and]

    “Three adults and four children picketed the March 10, 2006, funeral at St. John Roman Catholic Church in Westminster. Westboro members insisted that their demonstration, about 1,000 feet from the Catholic church, took place legally.”

    JayHub (0a6237)

  96. There’s an interesting philisophical question here, I think: is it better that problems like this be dealt with by legislation prohibiting the action (and potentially impinging the first amendment), or that they be dealt with by the people who are injured suing in a tort action?

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  97. Aphrael,

    It is interesting. A case-by-case recovery in tort means each community will decide what’s acceptable subject to federal oversight, which I think would be similar to what’s happened in pornography law (“I know it when I see it”). There’s also merit to establishing specific speech-free zones – like funerals – so communities don’t overreach to limit speech and so people have reasonable notice what conduct is and isn’t acceptable.

    On the surface, an outright ban seems like a questionable limit on speech but I suspect in the long run it would be less limiting than a more nebulous case-by-case approach.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  98. Aphrael, I’m in favor of legislation. Private litigation always involves the issue of how much justice can you afford – it’s expensive. We don’t want people with big bucks suing us lesser folk to stop us from speaking out.

    A good case in point is SLAPP suits, have you heard of those?

    A SLAPP suit is a so-called “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.” They became fairly common some years ago. For example — local residents who are petitioning to change zoning laws to prevent a real estate development might be sued in a SLAPP suit for interference with the developer’s business interests. SLAPP suits have diminished, however, because many states have enacted “anti-SLAPP suit” statutes that protect citizens’ rights to free speech and to petition the government.

    So, it makes much more sense to me to enact laws that regulate the time, place and manner of protests, which is legal within strict limits, rather than open it up for individual suits.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  99. JayHub,

    Isn’t it likely that local communities – in Maryland, especially, where this case was tried – will consider passing laws like these? In a sense, cases like this are one method for private citizens to effect public change. Instead of either/or, it’s a process.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  100. Agree, DRJ, in fact Maryland did pass a law a few months after the protest in this case prohibiting targeted picketing within 300 feet of a funeral, burial, memorial service or funeral procession. And that’s as it should be. But I think as another commentator said, the threat of a multi-million dollar personal injury judgement against someone expressing their own convictions on an issue of public debate will have that terrible “chilling effect” on people’s right to speak out.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  101. Leviticus,

    A specific cite would be more helpful than listing two entire books and “every letter Paul wrote, ever.” Surely someone who adopts the handle “Leviticus” can give me chapter and verse from memory. Also, please give us your thoughts on the spiritual cleanliness of shrimp and mussels.

    On the more serious subject of Constitutional rights at free speech, I coincidentally came across a case today, while I was researching something else, wherein the 5th Circuit held that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy at a gravesite memorial service under the Fourth Amendment. Kee v. City of Rowlett, 247 F.3d 206 (5th Cir. 2001). Not directly on point for the tort claims, obviously, but may bear by analogy on the invasion of privacy claim.

    Moops (444e9b)

  102. JayHub,

    If you prohibit lawsuits, wouldn’t it make it less likely (or more difficult) for the law in this area to evolve?

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  103. Moops,

    1 Cor 6:9 “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals”

    1 Tim 1:9-10 “realizing the fact that (civil) law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers”

    Rom 1:26-27 “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.”

    Those are all quotes that relate specifically to homosexuality. That’s not even skimming the surface of warnings against sexual immorality (which homosexuality is by default, except in Vermont).

    in re: shellfish,

    a) I’m not Jewish, and dietary law is restricted to Jews (being God’s people), and

    b) you were the one that wanted to divorce the Old Testament from the New in the first place, and

    c) in Colossians 2:16-17, Paul says “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days, which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”

    Sounds like dietary law isn’t too important… but Paul wrote both Romans and Corinthians, too. Sounds like homosexuality was important.

    Leviticus (ed6d31)

  104. Thanks for the cites. What verson are you quoting? I checked all the versions of 1 Tim 1:9 at this site and didn’t find any that mentioned homosexuality:

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Tim%20%201:9;&version=31;

    Are you perhaps reading from the New Abridged Revised Fred Phelps Version?

    I’d be more comfortable declaring that Christianity condemns homosexuality if those were quotes from Jesus himself, rather than Paul, who always struck me as a little nuts.

    If dietary law is restricted to God’s people, why not also the sexual morality law? Also, didn’t Christ’s coming make all believers one of Christ’s chosen people, and are you not thereby condemning yourself to the fires of Gehenna when you sample some oyster shooters?

    Finally, I note that your quote from Corinthians appears to say that there is no need to keep the Sabbath holy. That Paul must have been quite an authority to overrule one of the Ten Commandments!

    Moops (444e9b)

  105. Meant Colossians, not Corinthians.

    Moops (444e9b)

  106. Bottom line: this is America, where people have the right to express their opinions. Phelps has an opinion: that America is evil and its soldiers deserve to die. He has the right to express that opinion, and he has the right to express it where the people he’s trying to communicate with will hear him. He specifically wanted to inform the plaintiff that his son deserved to die, and was going to Hell, for the crime of defending America. The state can regulate the time and manner of his demonstration so that he doesn’t block the church or interfere with traffic, but it may not move him so far away that he is incapable of communicating his message, any more than it can do so to anti-abortion demonstrators. If this verdict is allowed to stand, the pro-lifers will be next, and then will come any expression of opinion which is distressing to the listeners.

    Milhouse (f10fb3)

  107. Hear, hear, Milhouse.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  108. So if the pink triangle brigade showed up outside of Phelp’s church, and house, and the houses of all of his flock, (but on public property of course) and had a loud boisterous demonstration calling all of them “haters” and “jihadis” and “unAmerican” and saying that they should go to Iraq and die, and did this every time the church met for any purpose, and “protested” at every member of the church’s house at least once a week, and kept this up for months. That would be fine with you Milhouse and Christoph, coz, you know, you can’t restrict the people’s right to voice their opinion. The point being where do you draw the line?

    EdWood (c2268a)

  109. “did this every time the church met for any purpose, and “protested” at every member of the church’s house at least once a week, and kept this up for months”

    Did Phelps do this?

    “you can’t restrict the people’s right to voice their opinion”

    Phelps was restricted and, apparently, he obeyed the terms of his restriction and kept back the required distance.

    “loud boisterous demonstration”

    Certainly loud and boisterous counter-demonstrations, fully on public property and in keeping with any restraining orders to limit repeated, intentionally harassing behavior would be a better response than an 11 million dollar free speech curtailing judgment.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  110. There is a right to be heard?

    There is no right to not hear?

    My, my.

    htom (412a17)

  111. There are some things best dealt with man to man. I thank God everyday for my son home safe, for each day he was deployed I stared down the road leading to the cemetary.
    I would not have sued. I would have physically beaten each and every intolerant, holier than thou a$$hole within an inch of their life and then burn down their church.
    I would have hired the best attorney to defend my temporary insanity defense.
    No freedom of speech issues, and no more church. Just justice,…not *ucking legal procedure or arcane dispassionate discussions on free speech.
    Justice, ashes and broken jaws.

    paul from fl (47918a)

  112. and please, don’t defend these morons rights and then thank me and my sons for our service. Even though our sense of smell maybe dulled we still smell bs when we’re near it.

    paul from fl (47918a)

  113. Paul, thank you and your sons for your service. You’d be a hard man to convict on a jury. I still support their rights to freedom of speech and religion.

    Because, as Margaret Thatcher once said, you are not the boss of me.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  114. “What verson are you quoting? I checked all the versions of 1 Tim 1:9 at this site and didn’t find any that mentioned homosexuality: Are you perhaps reading from the New Abridged Revised Fred Phelps Version?”

    -Moops

    C’mon, man. I drop a bunch of quotes in your lap, and the first thing you do in challenge their source… Fine. Forget about 1 Timothy (because you’re right; I couldn’t find the translation for that quote, and you want evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt, not evidence merely logically implied by statements like “they who defile themselves with mankind”).

    The other quotes are pretty straightforward.

    “I’d be more comfortable declaring that Christianity condemns homosexuality if those were quotes from Jesus himself, rather than Paul, who always struck me as a little nuts.”

    -Moops

    I hate to be cliche, but way to move the goalposts. A minute ago it was “Where does it condemn homosexuality in the New Testament?” Now it’s “I don’t like what Paul says, so I’ll ignore a huge chunk of canonical scripture.”

    For what it’s worth, I don’t personally have anything against homosexuals. It just pisses me off when people try to twist scripture to validate a lifestyle unequivocally condemned throughout the Bible.

    Leviticus (43095b)

  115. Leviticus, here is some evidence, based on a common Greek meaning of a certain word, that Jesus did not condemn homosexuals, but welcomed them.

    There is much other evidence and thinking on that site. I found it mind opening. It is undoubtedly one — but not the only — reason I am a Christian today.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  116. That’s not the place to begin, however. The place to begin is HERE.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  117. Got your back Leviticus,

    It’s 1 Timothy 1-10: … porneis, arsenokoitais, andraposistais, pseustais, epiorkois ….

    … prostitutes, (male) homosexuals, slavers, liars, perjurers ….

    And it’s all besides the point. Intentional infliction of severe emotional distress has been tried before to get by New York Times v. Sullivan and it has not succeeded. The First Amendment does allow civil damages for tortious speech but they are limited to actual pecuniary loss and there are no punitive damages.

    nk (7aed24)

  118. Christoph,

    Your comment #112. You may be right. It was the age of Tiberius. But healing the chattel slave of a homosexual, possibly pedophile, master may not mean what that site thinks it means.

    nk (7aed24)

  119. I don’t know. I just know as I stated in a previous comment:

    “arguably correct (I personally disagree) notion that God despises fags”

    Whatever God’s feelings are on the matter… I do not hate homosexuals.

    I certainly despise pedophiles, however, including homosexual pedophiles, of which there are a disturbing number, sadly.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  120. What I think is really going on, besides all the puffy chested lawyerly accolades for suing big bucks out of a hated entity.
    ” everyone I know hates these disgusting whackjobs.”
    I don’t hate them. You don’t know me.
    ” Although if a group of soldiers let the current protesters know what they thought of their chosen venue for protest by kicking the crap out of their homophobic asses, I, for one, still wouldn’t bat an eye. ”
    That’s nice. I wonder if a lawsuit would work after that … LOL
    ” Wanna protest gays?, go wave signs at a gay pride parade somewhere. ”
    Plenty of people have. I don’t recall hearing about lawsuits for that. Is it ok to engage in such behavior if people are celebrating rather than mourning ?
    DRJ makes the best attempt: ” So, on the one hand, we have the right to free speech that can be exercised in several venues. On the other hand, we have the family’s need to peaceably bury their son and that can only happen once.”
    So the solution is a courtroom advocated monetary penalty to a legal free speech exercise, in an already legally sanctioned protest area? What disturbs me is the lawyers and courtrooms and raging haters and the offended AND their POLITICAL ADHERENTS always have another excuse to expand their massive dollar penalty balloon beyond reason. Criminal law, civil law, adminstrative law, tort law – how many other “bodies of law” are there that anyone has to watch out for nowadays ? Isn’t it fairly clear to all of us that “hit ’em where it hurts” by any means possible is really the goal ? I’m not sure how anyone can possbily argue otherwise. Certainly “the mounring family” is going to show up in court and be “abused” by the defense for endless hours, all over again. This isn’t about their feelings at all, it’s about revenge, and a big fat wad of money(as big a wad as they can squeeze out), because “Everyone hates these Phelps @$#$%$%’ers”
    We see this as a general trend in the court cases, and the ongoing larger problems it is creating has been discussed, and often put down. I see plenty here who will, beyond anything else, cheer with delight if and when the monetary penalty “puts Phelps out of business”. I suppose they mean it, distancing themselves from gay haters, or getting super chest puffy proactive for The Service, or simply whining that people have feelings, and their feelings that they’re feeling, if they are sad ones, should be protected by law.
    ” If an anti-war homosexual group wanted to hold a rally at the funeral of the dead government employee ( KIA soldier ) to express their opposition to the government’s war and even their glee that a soldier died while engaged in that war that they oppose, would that be free speech?

    In fact THEY HAVE. A year or so back there was a big stink about protesters outside Reed, and then protesting while “parents mourned their losses” the “flag of their dead child still draped over the coffin”. It was all over the news. I never heard of any lawsuits.
    ” I’m convinced that the drafters would have had an assumption that punishment would be meted out for such people as the WBC before constitutinal matters would ever need to be contemplated. ”
    Good, can’t argue that, next time step up and beat the crap out of them. Do your Constitutional Duty. When you’re doing that, please next enter the Senate and whip the tar out of Harry Reid “We’ve lost the war” free speech dude, and smash in the face of Dick Durbin *paraphrase” Our soldiers act like nazi guards at Auschwitz”.
    You’ve got a lot of beating up to do, time to get on it. When you get beat down by the strong arm of the law, and reside in the fedpen, you can talk some more about the Constitution, and probably the Bible, and I would guess much more along the Phelps anti-anal gay bubba probe lines. 😉
    “Phelps is nothing BUT intentionally disruptive.
    The guy is a tool, pure and simple.”
    So the penalty is “justified” in your mind, no matter what.
    Like I said, it’s amazing what I see here, and except for the latter part of the thread, it does not bode well.
    Where were all you lawyers when the patriots came back from Vietnam and got protested and spit on ? Isn’t that worth a couple hundred bazillion combined ? Does someone have to be dead before your “hurt feelings” laws kick in for survivors? I sure hope the statute of limitations is over, because “baby killer” and “fascist” doesn’t strike me as nicer.
    Before Reagan was buried, we heard the same thing, often publicly, even by figures on the tube. How many lawsuits await ?

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  121. My eyes glazed over. Anyone care to translate?

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  122. SPQR,

    If you’re talking about SiliconDoc #117, I understood him perfectly. “There’s always gonna be somebody who says something somebody else doesn’t like. Live with it.”

    nk (7aed24)

  123. Or let’s try “Sticks and stones can hurt my bones but words can never hurt me”?

    nk (7aed24)

  124. PS- Ann Coulter said she’d never seen widows enjoying their husbands deaths so much about the Jersey Girls on national TV. Is that a justified lawsuit waiting to happen ? (did it ?)
    When Phelps finally croaks and some here shriek “I’m glad that insane kookball is gone” or the like, how close is that to a lawsuit ?
    Anyone here sworn they were going to piss on the grave of some hated political enemy ? I’d say that’s a “pre-qualifier”.
    Yes, it’s very interesting, all of this.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  125. Well nk i’m waiting for the giant rebuttal from the lawyerly pack:
    ” And it’s all besides the point. Intentional infliction of severe emotional distress has been tried before to get by New York Times v. Sullivan and it has not succeeded. The First Amendment does allow civil damages for tortious speech but they are limited to actual pecuniary loss and there are no punitive damages.

    Comment by nk — 11/1/2007 @ 4:32 pm ”

    It bothers me that SPQR needs a translsation, but then he has kept his attacks short, and his single point was the banned guy doesn’t “understand the thinking of the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress”.

    It appears you have made comment on that tort. I await all the rebuttals.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  126. NK,

    I’m having a problem understanding why Matthew Snyder’s funeral and the Snyder family, as they mourn him, should be considered public figures under the Sullivan case. Or maybe I’m misunderstanding your point.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  127. Actually SiliconDoc, I quit reading after this:

    ‘[quoting me]” everyone I know hates these disgusting whackjobs.”
    I don’t hate them. You don’t know me.’

    Mainly because you took the line out of context. You claimed that “the right” had to distance itself from Phelps et al. You wanted to claim some form of dilemma or hypocrisy in criticising Phelps for protesting military funerals about homosexuality. My comment was that I did not know anyone conservative or otherwise who was not already long distanced from Phelps. I found your assertion ridiculous.

    Your response makes no sense and frankly I didn’t bother trying to figure out if you had buried a point in the rest.

    As for the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress, without seeing the jury instructions of this particular case, I’m not prepared to say that I find any particular constitutional problem with the verdict. Attempts to cast this as a free speech issue do not get much sympathy from me. I find the behavior to be conduct, not speech.

    Frankly, while I am very much an advocate of freedom of speech, ( and clearly not liberal despite TCO’s confusion ), I think far too often people try to justify conduct as speech. This is an example. I don’t think disrupting funerals is speech.

    I do not know the specific law of the jurisdiction in question, but usually the elements of the tort are described as: (1) the defendant must act intentionally or recklessly; (2) the defendant’s conduct must be extreme and outrageous; and (3) the conduct must be the cause (4) of severe emotional distress.

    If you, TCO or others want to tell me how the jury could not have found those elements met here, then start to make your argument. I’ve not seen a serious attempt from you yet.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  128. Fine, you don’t read what I write so I’ll ignore what you write as well. Everyone you know hates them. Good for you.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  129. Sullivan’s holding was very broad. It was not limited to the facts of that case.

    Matthew Snyder was a U.S. soldier and Phelps’s “protest”, as I understand it, is against the *pro-gay* policies of the United States which God is punishing by killing our young men in foreign wars. The Snyder family may feel, as I do, that their son gave his life nobly in defense of America but an opposing viewpoint being voiced to them, however unwelcome, is protected by the First Amendment.

    Let’s try this: I have said here and on other sites that Islam is a militant religion which wants to impose a world-wide Caliphate and that there is no such thing as a “moderate Muslim” anymore than there is a “moderate Nazi”. Can I be sued by about a billion Muslim plaintiffs for the intentional infliction of severe emotional distress? Can I be sued by Nazis? I have certainly hurt both their feelings.

    nk (7aed24)

  130. nk, ignoring the elements of the tort does not aid your argument.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  131. SPQR, Maryland law appears to include the usual elements, but I would say the issue here is not whether the tort was committed, but whether the First Amendment acts as a defense to the commission of that tort in this context.

    The Supreme Court has said on this point that, “In respondent’s view … so long as the utterance was intended to inflict emotional distress, was outrageous, and did in fact inflict serious emotional distress, it is of no constitutional import whether the statement was a fact or an opinion, or whether it was true or false. It is the intent to cause injury that is the gravamen of the tort, and the State’s interest in preventing emotional harm simply outweighs whatever interest a speaker may have in speech of this type.”

    The Court, however, did not buy this argument, saying, “Generally speaking the law does not regard the intent to inflict emotional distress as one which should receive much solicitude, and it is quite understandable that most if not all jurisdictions have chosen to make it civilly culpable where the conduct in question is sufficiently “outrageous.” But in the world of debate about public affairs, many things done with motives that are less than admirable are protected by the First Amendment. … Thus while such a bad motive may be deemed controlling for purposes of tort liability in other areas of the law, we think the First Amendment prohibits such a result in the area of public debate about public figures.” [Hustler Magazine v. Falwell]

    So, the issue in this case, which does not involve a public figure, turns on whether there is a difference between standing outside the church holding up a sign saying “Your son was a fag,” and holding up a sign that says “God is punishing the United States in Iraq because of our immorality.” Does the fact that the speech involved was a matter of public debate outweigh the infliction of distress to an individual.

    I think it should make a difference, but we won’t know the answer until the Supreme Court decides (if this case gets there).

    JayHub (0a6237)

  132. SPQR,

    The elements of the tort are threshold. The First Amendment is an affirmative defense. After the plaintiff proves all his elements, then I say “but the First Amendment says I can do it”.

    nk (7aed24)

  133. Here is Banderas condemning to Hell multiple times, Shirley Phelps, on air.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3PyoUPcobA
    So instead of by a funeral, it’s AOK to do it national TV, while you condemn the condemners for their condemning.
    Hypocrisy will continue to ruin the USA.
    I don’t believe a sane person can condone 11 million dollars for driving by some “fruitcakes” on a cordoned off by police barriers and cops area with signs and mouths, even if their exiting funeral procession passes the roadsiders, which I am by no means convinced they did.
    11 million bucks for driving AWAY FROM the fruitcakes.
    One surely wonders how many people in the USA have gone utterly looney.
    Oposition protesters are in an uncontrollable rage, and they want some vengeance, that is entirely clear.
    One can also surmise that there is at least a tangental kernel of truth in the hated ones speech, as most all likely witnessed Ahmadinejad at Columbia declare ” We don’t have those kind of people in Iran”. It is difficult to “concoct” the idea that “don’t ask don’t tell” hasn’t harmed the military’s position in the Middle East vs the enemy. It’s also difficult to surmise the hated Phelps hasn’t figured that puzzle out, even if he attributes the carnage to God’s judgement instead of the human enemy.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  134. You also obviously missed the point of my post Doc, which was to say that IN THE PAST protesters like the Phelps church might have been handled with violence that it seems like a better and more practical thing to put some limits on “free speech”. I dont think it would be OK for anyone at all to protest at a funeral, particularly if their “protest” had anything to do with the person being buried. If they did, and got their ass kicked they had it coming.

    You are absolutuely right that its a personal thing and I guess that is where you were taking your post… that everyone has their own limit of what is “acceptable” behavior, but every society has standards and right now one of them is that you let the living bury the dead in peace.

    I am wondering if what bugs a lot of people about this is that the settlement was BIG, like the settlement against the KKK a few years back, which implies that the speech or at least context of these protests is hate speech (I would say that there is a good argument that it is). In other words that homosexuals constitute a “minority” group that is discriminated against and nuking the Phelps church’s cash flow was societys was of reinforcing that idea.

    EdWood (a7e68d)

  135. Well ED, then we can certainly ban Ann Coulter, Ayan Hirsi Ali, Mark Steyn, David Horowitz, Nonie Darwish, Christina Hoff Sommers, Phyllis Chesler, Frank Gaffney and Daniel Pipes, from all of our universities speech forums, since they often elicit an enraged emotional and violent response.
    Sure the University is “private” supported by public funds, but the same principle is ready to be put to use, and in fact has been already. We can’t let you speak, it’s a security risk. We have to shut you down, even though you are already ehre as a piad speaker – people are getting enraged and violence is ready to break out.
    I plainly see the same idea emanates from the right in this case. ” You can’t let them protest or we will get violent and kick their …”
    That’s a great argument, really. Keep shutting everyone up even after the cops have cordoned them off and sent them into their prior restricted area. The left is already a master at it, it’s time you righties caught up. Slam that dangerous iron fist down before you explode into violence and get charged with battery.
    That’s the free speech attitude.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  136. No, NK, that’s not really how the interaction of tort law and the First Amendment works.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  137. SiliconDoc, NK, Millhouse… I am definitely agreeing with your position, while sharing your view that Phelps is an insane a-hole.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  138. JayHub, as DRJ mentions above, I don’t see how the NY v. Sullivan analysis applies here – the military families are not public figures.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  139. SPQR #133,

    Please explain.

    nk (7aed24)

  140. Here is another reason we should all justly and rightly hate Phelps:

    http://www.lcrga.com/archive/200010251159.shtml

    Apparently there are(were) deep ties to Al Gore, and 93 and 97 Clinton/Gore inauguration. That’s quite interesting the Al Gore quote on that page.
    My we’ve come a long way. lol

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  141. NK, the purest example is NY v. Sullivan with respect to defamation law. The Supreme Court did not say that the first amendment was an affirmative defense to the tort of defamation, it held that in the case of a public figure that the tort had a higher standard of a mental state of recklessness or intentional conduct with respect to the truth of the matter rather than the lower standard for non public figures.

    In the case of a public figure ( Falwell ) claiming intentional infliction of emotional distress for the Hustler parody, then the court added a similar higher standard of “knowledge that the statement was false or with reckless disregard as to whether or not it was true”.

    There is no general “affirmative defense” in these torts, just higher standards of proof to the mental state when the plaintiff is a public figure.

    I can’t see an application of that to this case, the military families are not public figures, and Phelps and his loons should not be able to claim a first amendment right to compel those families during their funeral of their sons to become part of Phelps’ speech.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  142. But SPQR, the state passed a law saying how far away had to be the Phelps’ protest and my understanding is that in this case, it was. I’m curious. Do you think that makes a difference because I do?

    Rushing someone’s funeral is one thing. Protesting at a distance set out in law seems to me something different.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  143. The statutory setback requirement governs and protects the public’s interest in regulating protests. IMO it does not prevent individuals who claim special harm as a result of a protest from making a tort claim. However, compliance with a statutory setback requirement might be prima facie evidence that the protest was conducted reasonably, a presumption that could be rebutted.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  144. Exactly, DRJ, and if the state passed this law in response to this religious group’s previous protests, and they protested in a manner substantially similar to their previous protests, and in the location set forth under law… then no matter how despicable their protest is, it seems to me hard to say this isn’t prima facie as you put it evidence the protest was conducted reasonably as a matter of state law.

    I couldn’t give a damn about Phelps. But this precedent can be so abused as others have pointed out and will be used to quash free speech where others feelings our hurt in ways some feel is outrageous. When, in reality, the protester is carrying signs and chanting, something they should be allowed to do within the United States.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  145. Our laws protect free speech but they also protect individuals from intentional or reckless outrageous conduct that causes severe emotional distress. And even though my last comment is just my opinion so I don’t know if it’s correct, you seem to have missed the rebuttable presumption caveat.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  146. Well I’d just like to point out that the hatred expressed for Phelps, can also be applied to pretty much the entire Middle East. “God hates fags” translates rather well into Allah hates fags, and as I understand it, or so I have been told, upon discovery one can pretty much count on death being the result.
    So, while you’re all raging at Phelps, remember when the left says you hate all the Muslims too… ahh… well… you can always say it’s all those nasty governments that misapply the religion and the Koran…
    Lotsa hate needed to spread it around where it matches this Phelps character.
    I’d also wonder how many Mosques and their Imams right here in the USA are spewing out the same thing as Phelps as far as gaydom goes, and I’d wager it’s every bit as strong and likely stronger. Just something to think about.
    I also thought Phelps properly destroyed (sry Christoph – this is probably blasphemny here) the newshead inquisitor at the hotair link in the video. http://hotair.com/archives/2007/10/31/video-fred-phelps-and-rick-sanchez-yell-at-each-other-over-snyder-suit/
    Change the topic for you guys, and that type of repsonse to “reporters” and “anchor heads” could go a long, long way in this day and age.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  147. Honestly, Doc, I don’t think many people here care about the Phelps or their church, let alone homosexuality. We understand that the protest of the day changes and some protests are more palatable than others. That’s why it’s so important to have rules that apply equally to ideas you like as well as ideas you don’t like.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  148. He didn’t destroy him, he ranted nonsense and didn’t answer a damn question. It was a stupid interview from the get go and that’s all you could have gotten out of Phelps.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  149. Doc, I see your argument to a slippery slope, sure, but speakers at univesities and on television aren’t standing near a funeral expressing thier opinion as the body of someone they don’t know is being lowered into the ground. Polemicists aren’t making thier views personal in that very personal way. These protesters are. Even if they aren’t directly addressing the soldier’s family, they brought their issue to that soldier’s funeral. That’s what makes the difference to me, I don’t know about anyone else.

    If the government tries to ban from giving a talk titled “Liberals: machiavellian zealots or moronic terroist dupes” at the Conservative Red Meat Society’s annual dinner, all because it was held in a rented public building, I will be right there with you in the “free speech” zone, raving about creeping facism.

    EdWood (38ad49)

  150. Ed, do you think the left wing war haters have protested at Ground Zero ? How about we sue all of those people. Anyone not calling that a gavesite has a real problem in my book.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  151. It bugs me, too, EdWood, and it would bug me just as much if someone protested like this if the Phelps were burying someone they loved.

    Doc – I think there’s a big difference between protests at a gravesite and protests at a funeral.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  152. How I see it is the Phelps are free to be a-holes and earn the hatred of the vast majority of Americans and others who value decency. The Snyder family including the deceased serving son has earned everyone here’s respect. And that’s as it should be.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  153. DRJ- Yes. Exactly.

    EdWood (38ad49)

  154. Protests at Ground Zero are not equivalent to disrupting a family’s funeral. The Westboro circus at a funeral was intentionally aimed at a specific group of people who were present at that time and place in the midst of a funeral. A protest at the WTC site would not meet the elements of the tort. Its not a valid analogy at all, it does not succeed in identifying some “slippery slope” argument and indeed it confuses the distinct conduct of the Westboro case that makes it outrageous conduct and not speech.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  155. SPQR,

    I think you are right this is conduct more than speech. It also fits better with the elements of the torts involved in this case. Good analysis.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  156. SPQR #138,

    I think we disagree on what an affirmative defense is and I think I’m right. The burden of proof that what the elements of the tort say is actionable is on the plaintiff and the burden of proof that even if it is tortious it’s protected is on the defendant. The Supreme Court cannot redefine torts … yet.

    For the record, I am in favor of every state making it an affirmative defense to every crime that the victim was a member of Phelps’s church.

    nk (7aed24)

  157. The Phelps church members were on public property, not private property ? They were in the area designated by the present law enforcement officals. Sure looks like it to me on the video.
    How large of a physical “bubble” do all of you recommend be given any event such as funerals ?
    Seems to me some have mentioned 300 ft. as passed law in some state(s).
    So, we can see by the video they may have, likely DID exceed 300 feet distance in this protest, from the funeral.
    Then we have something else noone has brought up yet. What about the other group that comes to block their protest ?
    Let me get that info for everyone:
    http://www.patriotguard.org/
    Now, it seems to me this is the welcomed protest group” – or really, the “counterprotest group” – that can indeed “be within so many feet” of the funeral or other occassions.
    So we actually have a condition where one is welcome and the other not, and sued because of it.
    LOL
    Ok lawyers, ‘splian that one to me.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  158. The counter-protest group could have been sued but the Snyders chose not to. I assume it’s because the Snyders did not believe the second group’s actions were offensive or outrageous. Like every potential plaintiff, the Snyders were free to sue the parties they wanted to sue, to not sue others, or to not sue anyone at all.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  159. Their mission:
    ” Our main mission is to attend the funeral services of fallen American heroes as invited guests of the family. Each mission we undertake has two basic objectives.

    1. Show our sincere respect for our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities.

    2. Shield the mourning family and their friends from interruptions created by any protestor or group of protestors.

    We accomplish the latter through strictly legal and non-violent means.”
    _____________________________________________

    YES? On the up and up ? “as invited guests of the family”

    How ’bout dat Lucy, their very own funeral procession biker blockers. lol Let’s “block those protesters” – perfectly legal.
    Yeah, it’s really deep, these modern free speech rights.
    ___________________________________________

    http://hotair.com/archives/2007/10/31/video-fred-phelps-and-rick-sanchez-yell-at-each-other-over-snyder-suit

    39th comment down:
    ” At the funeral of northern Illinois Patriot Guard ride leader Greg Bowman, some half dozen of Phelp’s people dared to show up. There were over 300 PG riders there. The half-dozen assholes were kept one block away. A fire truck was placed between the little patch of sidewalk where they were permitted to stand, and the church. And the church’s carillon drowned out their pathetic cries of hatred. The police were present and were watching to insure that they remained far away from the church.

    I looked for them when the service was over, but the useless pricks were nowhere to be found.

    I hope that when Mr. Synder gets done, Phelps and his asshole daughter and sons are left shoeless and in their underwear.

    New sign: God Hates Phelps.

    georgej on November 1, 2007 at 4:37 AM”
    _____________________________________________

    Yes, the tiny patch of sidewalk and the firetruck placed in front of the 6, and the gonzo biker blocker looking for them afterwards. This is free speech now in the USA.
    lol

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  160. SPQR writes: “JayHub, as DRJ mentions above, I don’t see how the NY v. Sullivan analysis applies here – the military families are not public figures.”
    ****************
    Yes, SPQR, I agree, but the point is that in the Hustler case, the Court said that generally when public debate is involved there’s a balance that must be struck between the infliction of emotional distress and the need to foster public debate.

    So, that’s the general principle. The Court then found in the specific case involved that when the speech was about a public figure, the balance was on the side of the right of free speech.

    But the point of the involvement of the public figure is that it makes what was said about him public debate and so protected (by a higher standard). It’s the public debate part that’s important.

    The situation here is different as you say. The question is how do you apply the general principle to the Westboro Church case – where is the balance between speech and the rights of the private individual? And remember the speech involves issues of public debate, and have nothing to do with the individual himself.

    My position is that the right to participate in the debate (free speech) should override the distress to the individual in this situation too because the protecting that right is central to our freedoms as Americans. It’s still the public debate part that’s important.

    As the Court said, “At the heart of the First Amendment is the recognition of the fundamental importance of the free flow of ideas and opinions on matters of public interest and concern. The freedom to speak one’s mind is not only an aspect of individual liberty – and thus a good unto itself – but also is essential to the common quest for truth and the vitality of society as a whole.”

    JayHub (0a6237)

  161. NK, if the Supreme Court states that something is among the elements that must be proven by the plaintiff, then by definition it is not an affirmative defense.

    An affirmative defense is something that is not an element of the plaintiff prima facie case, and something that that defendant has the burden of proof upon. Neither of which fit the heightened standards of intent that the Supreme Court grafted onto the torts I mentioned.

    SiliconDoc, the explanation is simple. Pay attention to the elements of the tort at issue, the second group is not engaged in “outrageous conduct”.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  162. Silicon Doc, DRJ is right as to the Patriot Group. Neither group was violating the law, but the family chose to sue the Church because their actions inflicted harm to them. The others did not.

    Also, laws that place limits on where demonstrations can be held (300 ft or whatever) must be “content neutral” to be constitutional. The government can pass some limits on where you speak your mind, but not what you say.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  163. JayHub, I disagree fundamentally, there is no public debate involved. There are two reasons. First, this is because advocates of a free speech defense here are confusing Westboro’s message with their conduct. Here their conduct is to disrupt a funeral of non-public figures to get attention, a funeral with no relation to their message. So there is no public debate involved in their outrageous conduct.

    Second, the Supreme Court uses the question of the status of the plaintiff to trigger these First Amendment standards in these cases. The military families are not public figures, and so do not have the burden of the higher standards of proof that the Supreme Court has created by the terms of the holdings. There is no public policy reason to extend those holdings to these non-public figures and make them suffer the burden of these free speech issues in their private lives.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  164. We aren’t reading, remember SPQR.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  165. JayHub #157,

    Your analysis worries me because it focuses on whether the speech involved is “public debate.” To me, that opens the door to making judgments based on the quality of the speech. Who is to say which speech is public and protected, and which is not public and not protected? I’m much more comfortable with a tort law exception for outrageous conduct/speech than with a public debate analysis.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  166. SiliconDoc, obviously my error was taking you seriously for a moment. An error I’ll be sure not to repeat.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  167. 159 – The other group did not apear as protesters, but as invited guests, that’s how they get around it. See their little comment I copied – “as invited guests “.
    I merely characterized them as the counterprotesters, because that in fact is what they are there for and more. A “shield”, as they put it, blockers as I put it, just as counterprotesters do nowadays with all sorts of signs and appendages (big flappy wings encircling the Phelps and their signs I just read at one link for instance). In this case I’m sure they use the rumble and smoke from their motorcycles as the tool of choice.
    Of course, “they are invited guests” – so by no means are they actually a protest group or there as such. lol
    Nice. That’s honest….

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  168. mr 163 – No, you didn’t take me seriosly the 1st time you addressed one of my comments. So let’s just say leave it the way it has been. As soon as you straighten that out I’ll take you seriously. Until then you don’t exist.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  169. SPQR and DRJ, you’ve both made good points. I think we’re at the point where we simply disagree what the public policy should be and something like De Gustibus Non Est Disputandem, applies. In any case I have to sign off now. I’ve enjoyed the discussion and will check back tomorrow.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  170. JayHub, most appreciated good sir.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  171. It was a good discussion, JayHub, and thanks.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  172. SPQR – I’m with you on the analysis. I think the others are catching up. One thing I’m unclear about at this funeral though is whether the Westboro signs made specific reference to the soldier being buried. If they did, that might ease the plaintiff’s burden of proof in proving emotional distress and invasion of privacy, especially with the argument vis a vis the other cases mentioned that the soldier is not a public figure.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  173. I’ve thought about this further and let me throw this out for consideration tomorrow: We know the basics – that plaintiffs, the Snyders, sued under tort law for invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The defendants, the Church and the Phelps, responded by asserting a right to free speech.

    1. It’s tempting to label the defendants’ actions as conduct but I think there is also an argument that it was, at least in part, speech. However, I don’t think we need to label this conduct to find a legal basis for the jury’s decision.

    2. As we’ve already noticed in the comments, the tort claim of defamation and the case of New York Times v Sullivan seems analogous. Both cases involve plaintiffs pursuing tort law claims and defendants asserting free speech rights. In Sullivan, the Supreme Court held that for a public figure plaintiff to recover, s/he must prove that defendant intentionally (knowingly) or recklessly published a defamatory statement.

    3. In the Westboro Baptist Church case, to prove the elements of intentional infliction of emotional distress, plaintiffs were required (in part) to prove that defendants acted intentionally or recklessly. Thus, I question whether it matters if plaintiffs are public figures since they’ve already met the higher standard of the Sullivan test by proving defendants acted intentionally or recklessly. (I assume Sullivan would apply here, if only by analogy.)

    4. As for the tort of invasion of privacy, I don’t know what Maryland law requires but it probably requires a showing of “intentional unreasonable intrusion upon another’s privacy.” Thus, it can be argued that a jury finding of the elements of invasion of privacy would also meet the public figure standard of Sullivan for recovery in tort.

    Therefore, while I don’t think the Snyders are public figures, it may not matter since the elements of their tort law claims require proof of defendants’ intentional or reckless conduct. To me, the only remaining issue is whether defamation is the functional equivalent of torts like intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy. For this purpose, I don’t see why not.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  174. More exposing of the real motives:
    ” Snyder testified that he never saw the content of the signs as he entered and left St. John’s on the day of his son’s funeral. He read the signs for the first time during television news reports later that day. ”

    Ahh, so much pain,, can you see more than 3 footbal fields away ? So much pain…

    ” Westboro members insisted that their demonstration, about 1,000 feet from the Catholic church, took place legally. ”

    Ok, not 300 feet, 1,000 feet, 3+ football fields away. I suspect binoculars were needed to feel the pain.
    The crying Daddy never saw the signs the day of, he saw them on the news…
    Yes, so much pain the day of the funeral… that it didn’t hit until the next day – and really hit during the trial.
    It appears the Phelps & church have about 1 million in assets.
    ” The compensatory damage award alone, $2.9 million, was nearly triple the net worth of Westboro and the three members on trial, their attorney said.”
    Why that’s enough money to make one weep, if you’re about to get it.
    Now for more hogwash:
    ” Often overcome by emotion, Albert Snyder sat in shirtsleeves and flanked by his attorneys. When the videos made of the protest at his son’s funeral were played for jurors during closing arguments, he wept.

    During his testimony last week, Snyder told jurors that he was clinically depressed and that the sight of the protest at the funeral made him physically ill.”

    Yes, the sight so far away you couldn’t even read the signs, had no idea what they said till you saw the news. Good thing your boy had more backbone and honor.

    ” For years Westboro members have crisscrossed the country, turning somber funerals of soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan into attention-grabbing platforms to criticize homosexuals as immoral and damned.”

    Yes, and now we finally have the right combination of a crybaby and liar in court. The blind man who could see and got sick…

    ” Snyder’s sexual preference was not an issue at the trial; his father said his son was not gay. ”

    Of course not, the issue was 1,000 feet away – there was a million dollars waiting. Fame , fortune, probably a book.

    ” Snyder testified that he never saw the content of the signs as he entered and left St. John’s on the day of his son’s funeral. He read the signs for the first time during television news reports later that day.”

    Of course not, 1,000 feet is a long way to see. How big does a football player look just one field (300 feet) away …

    WHAT REALLY HAPPENED
    ” A Google search on the Internet weeks later led him to the church’s Web site and the posting about Matthew Snyder.”

    OH, THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED. I SEE, IT’S WHAT WAS ON THE INTERNET, AND THE REST IS A BIG FAT LINE OF CRAP.
    Oh well… screw the facts, we all hate Phelps and his insane possse.
    “Summers said he was ready and waiting for the appeal. “We will chase them until they have nothing left.””
    Ahh, good plan, bankrupt them and make sure they never have more than a minimum wage living for the rest of their lives. You’re heroes.
    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-westboro1031,0,7191706.story?page=3
    Yeah, ok, it’s all about their feelnigs on the day of the funeral…
    Sorry, I’m really sorry, I don’t buy it.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  175. I think that’s great the NEWS brought so much sorrow to Daddy. Isn’t that just spectacular. I also love the fact that the protests that were 1,000 feet away, so far that Daddy couldn’t even imagine trying to read the signs, or hear the words, WERE PLAYED WITH CLOSEUP VIDEO FOR HIM AND HIS FAMILY AND JURORS IN COURT, SEARING THE STINGING HATEFUL WORDS INTO HIS THEN WEEPING EYES.
    lol
    Thank you news and courtroom, you have truly brought sorrow deep into this mans soul. I hope the million bucks satiates his overworked tear ducts.
    Amazing. Only in America.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  176. Very nice SiliconDoc. Compassionate. May I be the first to call you – Douchenozzle.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  177. Yes Daley, you obviously may. But you will not have any sort of common sense rebuttal.
    The truth has been exposed. Some people read all the boring pages of the news – that quote the testimony.
    Just wanted to make sure some of the true believers are aware of what is really going on. You can certainly still keep your opinion, and can surely call names, but you won’t have a rebuttal. Just be aware that I am aware of that.
    Go watch a news clip, hit the interent 3 weeks later, and start raging. Oh, I almost forgot. Be sure to FIRST – invite the biker gang (your own personal honored blocker guests) to protect you ( shhhh – don’t let too many people find out or talk about that !)
    Yeah. LOL
    Oh, the pain… on funeral day… of the pain!!! from the Phelps…
    LOL – Good golly.
    The touchy feely lying conservative doctrine – played as weeping tears, but pure rage is behind it.
    How DARE ! you….
    How compassionate you’ve been… LOL I love that – calling names while whining about compassion. Golly ok, I’ll play
    HYPOCRIT.
    Oh man..it’s AMAZING.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  178. Here’s compassion for you daleyrocks. Plan ahead with your biker gang to show up. Make sure the Phelps are 1,000 feet away. Send the bikers after them, with tailpipe noise and bike fumes – and plenty of threatening looks- then PRETEND – even though you couldn’t even see them without a binocular – that you got SICK because of it. Then, try as hard as you can to RIP every last dollar from them and their church.
    Yeah, buddy, you have compassion downpat my friend. You are pure love, you and your buds.
    Now, what’s really behind all your love? ‘ll tell you what is… raging hatred that a downed US Soldier is – according to you “belittled” by “war protesters”.
    That’s the size of it my friend. Have fun. I will not accept other explanations.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  179. This is free speech now in the USA.

    Free speech has never guaranteed your forum of choice nor an ability to deliver your message to an intended target, Doc. Does “Congress shall make no law…” ring a bell?

    Pablo (99243e)

  180. Sorry, SiliconDoc, your facts (to me) make it a more convincing case that Phelps & crew intended emotional harm, and achieved it.

    htom (412a17)

  181. I’m gonna have to go with Daley on this one…

    Doc, your posts are impossible to read. I have long sinced stopped trying.

    Scott Jacobs (425810)

  182. One thing that concerns me about this verdict is that I think it puts all churches who actually preach and take stands at risk. I expect that the Gay Mafia and Planned Parenthood are taking notes.

    Jerri Lynn Ward (bf2d8c)

  183. Doc – You said I wasn’t going to get any rebuttal and then you proceed to spew out two incoherent rants. I guess you couldn’t restrain yourself, what with your feelings all atwitter.

    Hypocrite

    daleyrocks (906622)

  184. I think that SiliconDoc has an excellant point – this is how far the definition of “freedom of speech” has been debased and stretched, that disrupting a private funeral is “speech”.

    Unlike SiliconDoc, I fail to find that rejecting this ridiculous conduct on the part of Westboro Church’s loons to actually be “speech”.

    If we allow this debasement, then any disorderly conduct that is designed to attract attention becomes the subject of a “first amendment defense”. Thereby using the first amendment to undermine every law and regulation our society has.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  185. Yes, the fake right wing lying crybaby greedy control freak Snyder can weep million dollar tears of destruction for his own plot, and his right wing biker gang who intimidated the yellow taped and roadblocked and cop blocked tiny dot on the horizon protesters carrying “naughty” signs and chanting “naughty words” he never saw nor heard the day of his son’s funeral, because “they are going to destroy civil society”, and they got media attention- oh so reminiscent of Paris Hilton, and made mr fake liar con artist a fake hero, like his fake hero son who died in a vehicular accident.
    Wow. Yes, the total destruction of civil society is at hand by protesters with signs a near invisible thousand feet away from mr hate filled destruction mourner. Destroy them right wing crybaby, destroy them!
    lol- Yes, the idiot right falls for it. Their emotions are controlling their entire pubescent and uncivil face. Crush the disrespectful further, crush them! lol
    Yes, feelings are much more important than the lying crybaby plot whipped up for you to suck on. Suck it down, enjoy it, like the little pants down toilet atop pig in the public bathroom who screamed on tape to Larry Craig ” You’re disrespecting me! ”
    Gosh what a shame, how long it takes to get the real story out, when the press and blogging activists shed their tear ducts for endless pity, and now the right snatches it up like the left, with a cover of lies so large it should be embarrassing.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  186. Seriously, Doc, cut it out. Your posts make me want to gouge out my eyes with a pencil.

    Scott Jacobs (425810)

  187. lol – too bad.
    ” BUT I’LL DEFEND TO THE DEATH YOUR RIGHT TO SAY IT !” – said the screeching pro military chest puffing right winger, before they laid eyes upon Fed Phelps…. and wilted.
    Awww.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  188. Doc-
    Why does any protest have to be aimed at someone who has paid such a great price for the freedom of speech? What possible politcal gain could there be in gloating over the death of a young, volunteer, Marine?
    Will “The Great Satan” suddenly acquiece and pull out of Iraq because Phelps et al showed their ass in a graveyard?
    If anything, this “Protest” is nothing but mean-spirited and cowardly (when you consider how vulnerable most of us are when faced with the death of a child).
    Now, besides resuming a mindless rant, you tell me what real value this bs ‘protest’ had other than breaking the heart of someone whose heart is already shattered?

    paul from fl (47918a)

  189. FYI, there’s an interesting article on the issues we’ve been discussing about this case in today’s Baltimore Sun. The link is:

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-te.md.westboro02nov02,0,5893853.story?page=2&track=rss

    JayHub (0a6237)

  190. Oops! Mea Culpa. That was a link to the second page. A link to the beginning of the article is here:

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-te.md.westboro02nov02,0,5893853.story?page=1&track=rss

    JayHub (0a6237)

  191. That was a very interesting article, JayHub. Thanks for linking it.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  192. I agree, DRJ, and the article was much more complex than the headline.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  193. SiliconDoc – I think that the silicone might be leaking into your grey matter. Those posts are becoming increasingly incoherent.

    JD (49efd3)

  194. JayHub,

    True. IMO the decision could go either way. I really hope both sides have good lawyers on appeal so the issues get a full and fair hearing. I’m glad this is in the Fourth Circuit, too. I think it has some good, smart judges.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  195. “The limits on speech here should not be on the content of the message but rather the place and manner in which the message” is communicated

    Is dead on. Phelps and his hateful little band of troglydites can say what ever they want, but the locationa nd timing must be held to some standard…

    For Snyder’s claim of invasion of privacy to have succeeded, jurors had to conclude that the Westboro church’s actions at the funeral — and later, in an Internet posting about Matthew Snyder on its Web site — were “highly offensive to a reasonable person,” according to the jury instructions.

    There is why Phelps shoots himself in the foot. the website posting only hurt his case, and I really think it helped win the case for the family.

    I predict that part of the ruling will be overturned, and perhaps the surviving portions will have their awardings reduced, but that it will at least in part survive appeal…

    Scott Jacobs (425810)

  196. Well paul, shut them up. You can’t hear it because your heart is broken. These special people have rights above and beyond anyone else, and you make sure you enforce those. They’re special, and deserve special dispensation in the law.
    Other people believe similar to what the Phelps say. Plenty of people on the left essentially support the idea America is always wrong. Now, you may take special exception to this group in particular, or it may just be the same complaint we have both expressed before.
    If the government isn’t going to discipline their own traitors, what gives anyone the right to persecute this particular set? What is more public than the congressional record, or a rep. speaking openly on the floor ?
    I suppose we should all agree to immediately ban all the talk like this that usually emanates loudly from the left ?
    Look, you have an emotional excuse. Well, I say – in trying to answer your emotional plea – if you’re going to do it here, you had better get busy everywhere else. A lot of failures to reverse.
    This guy at his son’s funeral wasn’t hurt by this group anymore than you are. He made it a point to pretend he was, and played it up for America, and plotted it out beforehand, with his biker blocker crew the press suppressed, as did everyone here, for a special heartstring heavy lie.
    Look, Phelps was on public property, where the state designated, surrounded by cops and barriers and yellow tape, so far away the funeral goers were totally protected.
    Hey, sorry, ya know, I mentioned a few who do the same thing on the floor of congress. Let me add Stark for another.
    You want a very special exception, and I say you shouldn’t get it, because you can’t get it anywhere else.
    This however, may be the perfect lying storm, and “tort law” may be the perfect end run.
    Any other number of any group of protesters may show up under near identical legal circumstances, but surely the threat you hope to have remain is financial bankruptcy as a chance punishment, and a deterrant.
    Maybe the courts can scrape together another Kelo vs New London activist lie and limitation on precendent, and I think you had better hope it goes that way, if this case sticks.
    On the other hand the real danger noone is talking about still, is the INTERNET words, that were part of this case. I’m not entirely sure, but it seems to me what was on the internet was used as “proof” of a specific plan to “emotionally hurt”, then “tied” to the phyical protest.
    If you ask me, the astute legal bloggers here should pay attention a lot more to that portion of this case, but I find it really has not been even touched upon. I think I know why – I’d say it’s because of the raging emotions, and need to “prove” how wrong in CHARACTER the public protest was.
    ” Have you no decency , sir!” seems to be the idea.
    I’m sorry, I find the rest of it exactly as I have stated. I can’t say I will change my mind unless I find another quite startling revelation in my searching about and collecting facts.
    I think the internet statements the Phelps allegedly made should be put into legal context here.
    I’m disappointed in what I have learned about all this. I have quite the sense of having been haphazardly decieved myself, but that’s why I went looking.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  197. It is a shame that people confuse the Westboro/Phelps circus actions for speech. Their conduct was intended to get attention, but not in and of itself communicate a message.

    Clearly if the circus had picketed a Federal building with their message of the evils of the government’s policies on homosexuals, that would be clearly speech. Likewise, if they picketed the appearances of a political candidate whose positions they wished to condemn or highlight.

    But on the other end of the scale, if they formed up a convoy of clown cars, and as a convoy, slowly and deliberately ran red lights in a major intersection to get attention for their message, which has nothing to do with traffic laws, then they would not be immune to citation for the traffic violation under the “First Amendment”.

    Likewise, here protesting at a private funeral for a non-public figure has nothing to do with their message – it is not speech, just outrageous conduct to get attention. It is closer to running red lights for attention. And that conduct should not be protected.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  198. I’m sure the message they communicated is the main reason the raging haters are hellbent on their destruction.
    Our overlords have declared they don’t have a message, and just want attention.
    LOL
    ” I’m sorry group, we have deemed your political stance on the war, homosexuality, the military and governmental USA support of the same, a non-politcal issue. Don’t you DARE say I will fry in hell for Sodomy, that’s old school religion! That’s on the way out!
    Further, we charge you with attention getting. We hate the press for covering you, but we just can’t say that right now. Strike that last sentence from the record, recorder.”
    “Ahem ! You have been deemded to be of no political content.”
    SMACK! the gavel falls.
    rofl
    “Furthermore, we are putting everyone on notice, besides the tiny corner of the sidewalk behind the police and a firetruck and bariers we’ve decided you must not move from, your free speech zone, 1000 feet away from said offended individuals, will be extended across the USA, much like the laws for child molesters residency being a couple thousand feet from anything we feel they may violate – public schools, churches, public parks, public bicycle paths, day care cemters you name it. So pedo-like peeps, time to close up shop. By the way, we’re taking all your money, too.” lol
    I am a freedom loving conservative, and I support this message.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  199. Silicone – Rambling incoherency suits you.

    JD (49efd3)

  200. No focourse it’s never the content, that’s why the article quotes the content of a case won in favor of restriction ” INSTRUCTION ON HOW TO MURDER SOMEONE”.
    Then, citing the same fellow, he declares, “It’s not about content, it’s about manner.”
    Ok.
    Tomorow check back for content – never contested of course, not even here in this thread, concerning the content of Nambla – “Instructions on how to entice little boys into sex”, where noone here has ever argued that content needs to be restricted.
    Furthermore, as has been stated by the hero of ignoring, they, the Phelps, do not have any content of speech.
    lol – Yeah buddy. Coherent commenters. lol
    However, burning a flag is speech, by law. Gosh, get busy, another one to overturn!

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  201. SiliconDoc, if you are going to do such an incompetent job of ignoring me, do try to understand the point. I did not say that Phelps did not have any “content of speech”, I said that their conduct, that is disturbing the funeral, was not a part of their message.

    You have been unable to refute that by showing how the disruption of the funeral of someone who was not gay, not a public figure, not in charge of carrying out the policy protested, nor in charge of creating it, was part of their message of protesting gays in the military. At least those few portions of your rambling text that I could form into complete english sentances did not seem to bother to try to address that in any coherent manner that I could perceive.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  202. Complete sentences are not a part of babbling.

    JD (49efd3)

  203. A soldier volunteers for public service. In this case public service that supports gays in the Military, using the public tax dollar that public servant was paid, to perform the duty of the protecting the public. lol
    One other problem, too. They were on public property, in their publicly designated space, controlled by public officals at the time. (law enforcement officers)
    There weren’t on Church Property, or “funeral property”.
    Ok, a soldier isn’t a public servant anymore, and the public does not “control the military”.
    Yeah, ok, you got it.
    A Lt.Cpl. doesn’t make any decisions either, over other public servants concerning actions on the battlefield ?
    I don’t know, can’t agree with you. Volunteer to SERVE. I guess that means…uhh…serving….ummm…well…ahhh…Communist China ?

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  204. Being a soldier does not make a person a public figure, the connection between the funeral of a soldier who died in service and the governmental policy of how gays can serve in the military is too tenuous to claim that disrupting the funeral is speech.

    With logic like that, everyone is a public figure and all conduct is speech.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  205. Silicone – Good attempt at composing something that at least attempts full sentences. Kudos.

    But, if you are defending the Phelps asswipes (hard to tell with all that gibberish), then you are dead wrong.

    JD (49efd3)

  206. One more thing for all the obfuscators and complainers. I’ve been to the funeral of a military person before. He served years ago, had been out of the military for quite some time, and died rather young from medical complications.
    THe MILITARY showed up and issued the guns salute at his funeral.
    So, what say you now ?
    I guess the press has effectively covered that up as well, or can we assume the Honors were turned down in this case, as part of the “overall attack plan” ?
    Huh fellas, mr know it all goody typers and grammatical perfectionists?

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  207. There does not appear to be anything that the Dems will not use as a stage for political theatre anymore.

    Oh yeah, I went there. Fred Phelps. Not only is he a reprehensible asshole, but he is a fundraiser for the Democrats. Just ask algore. Maybe algore could give Fred some of his contributions back, to help good ole’ Fred in his time of need.

    Or, maybe the local or State Democratic party could chip in some money to help him out, since he has been a candidate on their ticket.

    JD (49efd3)

  208. What do I say? I say try to make a coherent point.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  209. LOL – No answer again. I answered you, and you didn’t like it. lol
    What if a picture of the military honors “leaks out” ?
    rofl – hang on there bubba ! Hopefully no blue dress shots issued.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  210. Silly Doc – Coherency is a virtue.

    SPQR – I think you are simply asking for too much.

    JD (49efd3)

  211. SiliconDoc, like it? I don’t know. I don’t understand it, and I suspect neither does any other english speaker.

    JD, I like to challenge people.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  212. SPQR – But challenging people on the “short bus” seems to be more like taunting than challenging.

    😉

    JD (49efd3)

  213. JD, I didn’t say I was a nice guy.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  214. That’s ok fellers, I got straight A’s without trying, and I don’t have to try here much either.
    lol
    ” The core elements of the funeral honors ceremony, which will be conducted are:
    – Flag folding
    – Flag presentation
    – Playing of Taps

    The veteran’s parent Service representative will present the flag.”

    Well, did they or didn’t they? I guess, I have to find out, again, since blind obedience to the cause rules all.
    BTW JD, the noobs here didn’t know about the Al Gore connection, I had to post that – scroll up – I’ll take the honors for it. 😉

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  215. SPQR – I agree with your premise that stupidity should be painful. Were that the case, Silicone would never be able to even get out of bed.

    Silicone – Feel free to support Fred Phelps. That just shows your character. That you are a Ron Paul supporter as well is quite telling.

    BTW – Nobody can follow your ramblings long enough to get a point from them. If you did point out the ties between Phelps and Gore, it was lost in the gibberish. You get no honors, and no credit. Try again.

    JD (49efd3)

  216. Yeah well neither really there smart aleck. I support Duncan Hunter for ’08.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  217. You are the only one defending Phelps around here.

    JD (49efd3)

  218. Yes, JD , let me help you:

    137. Here is another reason we should all justly and rightly hate Phelps:

    http://www.lcrga.com/archive/200010251159.shtml

    Apparently there are(were) deep ties to Al Gore, and 93 and 97 Clinton/Gore inauguration. That’s quite interesting the Al Gore quote on that page.
    My we’ve come a long way. lol

    Comment by SiliconDoc — 11/1/2007 @ 7:28 pm

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  219. I think it’s very interesting that I have checked 40 sites reporting on this issue, and not one reports wether or not Snyder was issued military honors at his funeral. I suppose the reason is, that would make people think about public and private, and if their tax dollars were put to work at the funeral.
    I did find out there were NO notices of privacy issued about the funeral, and that the fallen soldiers dad did not know all of the 500 people who attended the funeral. (one can surmise that he just met the patriot riders who showed up on their motorcycles to “block the protest”)
    Also, there was unrefuted testimony that the protesters were 1000 feet away, around a corner and down a hill and COULD NOT BE SEEN by Matthews dad.
    LOL
    I think the patriot riders called Albert Snyder, and “warned him” since they monitor the Phelps website, then appeared in force on their rumbling bikes to “take on the protesters”, and as they claim on their website besides shielding, block the view of the Phelps— which in this case — there wasn’t one. ROFL…
    Daddy had all sorts of whines and cries in the reported testimony – the sign he saw on the newsclip or whoever was accosting him with it – he said ” He sees that when he lays down to go to sleep”.
    He blamed his diagnosis of diabetes on the Phelps, and claims he has real problems with it because of the protest. Also, he has suffered really bad depression because of them. LOL
    A terrible infliction of near endless emotional pain, even at night as he lays down to sleep, causing him a disease that worsens, and a mental diagnosis…
    roflmao
    Wow. I superleft liberal crybaby could not have performed better, with more gigantic lies or super pity pot syndrome.
    It is definitely a SHAMEFUL display.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  220. I’d like to find out if Snyder shirked honors for his dead son, in order to “keep the publicly reported appearance of the funeral as a “private affair”. Of course inviting unknown bikers in from who knows how many states to “rumble at the unseen protesters” kind of makes the whole thing – well – a huge media spectacle.
    I’ve seen one clip of the rumbling bikers shooting around a curve in stagger with their biker cuts on.
    I guess the news can’t tell us how many partiot blockers were there, that might make some think they were mean and intimidating to the protesters… so we’ll just have to keep that all super hush hush.
    LIARS with INTENT !

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  221. Next Headline never seen:
    PATRIOT BLOCKERS RUMBLE IN FUNERALS MAKING A MEDIA SPECTACLE AND THE LOUDEST FUNERAL PROCESSION ONE HAS EVER SEEN. SORROWFUL PARENTAL SURVIVORS SAY THE ROAR OF THE ENGINES … UHH.. WERE PEACEFUL.

    LOL

    SOME CITIZENS COMPLAINED ABOUT THE CHOPPERS “BLOCKING” INTERSECTIONS FROM CROSSTRAFFIC WITH APPARENT LOCAL TRAFFIC OFFICIALS TURNING THE OTHER WAY.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  222. Just how does military honors at a funeral convert the family into public figures for First Amendment purposes? It does not.

    The presence of an honor guard at the funeral does not convert the funeral into a valid forum for the Westboro message, it does not make the deceased a target for their speech and does not require the family to tolerate an outrageous invasion of a circus.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  223. SPQR – Reason and logic will not work. I was going to ask how protesting the funeral of a dead soldier to claim that God hates fags is relevant, or even a speech act, but that would require Silicone to activate its grey matter.

    JD (49efd3)

  224. Hey Doc-
    Read the first sentence of #108…

    …wanna trade real names/and locations?
    That Ok with you Mr. Frey?

    paul from fl (47918a)

  225. Silicone – How could I have been so wrong. If only I had noticed that you had used ALL CAPS, I would have seen how right you are. ALL CAPS makes all the difference in the world.

    JD (49efd3)

  226. I’m in charge and you guys better settle down or I’ll figure out how to ban people and ban the lot of you. … Okay, maybe I can’t do that, but I do have a really harsh stare that works wonders with my kids and I’ll use it here if you don’t watch out.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  227. lol – Now the internet tough man threat. paul- you’d lose.
    Ahh yes, a whole group of name callers… never stopped by the fair and impartial Patterico.
    I like the way this looks, it’s headed for overturning.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  228. I just watched Stossel interviewing these f*** from Westboro, and I could just picture Satan clearing out a special and cozy little spot for them down in his dominion. They have no remorse, no civility, no grey matter, and are nothing but cowards trying to hide behind their repulsive reading of the Bible to justify their actions.

    SillyDoc – I hope you are proud of defending these people.

    JD (49efd3)

  229. JD, I’ve been defending the Constitution, while you have been sharing insults and your raging hatreds.
    It’s flat out clear to me. Whatever you say about it doesn’t matter, really. Keep whining, maybe you can claim emotional distress because someone doesn’t spew some hatred with you on the internet and direct it toward your desired target.
    Oh, maybe you’re mentally depressed over that now. Practice and you can be just like A Snyder.
    You know, I guess all those big internet hate muscles never have gotten any one of you killas(including all the others raging on all the internet) lifting even a limp arm noodle at any of these Phelps.
    Hundreds and hundreds of funerals over the past years they have protested at, and all the big mad pajama crew hasn’t carried out a single threat. That includes the patriot bikers claim.
    Oh well, you can sit filled with indignation and rage, and spew at anyone who doesn’t share it.
    I see right through it.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  230. Defending the Constitution? Those that wrote the First Amendment would not recognize anything in your “defense”, SiliconDoc. For quite a bit more than a century and a half if not more, no one would recognize the Westboro circus for “free speech”, just a breach of the peace.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  231. JD, that’s an opinion, but just to rebutt a portion of that, word is nearly every one of them is a lawyer. I suspect Stossel comported himself properly, but Banderas didn’t. She acted like you – screaming she was going to Hell several times, and called her Satan.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3PyoUPcobA
    I see, a lot of people are certainly no better. Of course, claiming you can’t understand, whining they’re an idiot, condemning them to hell, pretending they didn’t say anything… and on and on and on…
    Just cheap internet piddling – moron tricks. A clown show – as some have characterized their hated religion practitoners.
    I think that Phelps religion isn’t all that old – it’s only about 50-60 years, maybe a bit more, and you’re looking at commonly shared beliefs for a lot of US citizens. A lot of what they say now is forbidden, in the PC speech code era. I think that’s hilarious, too, just like you reserving a place in hell for them, which is just what they preach — lol

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  232. Also, a lot of current US Citizens share a milder religious viewpoint notched down from the Phelps- they won’t say it, but they believe it. ‘Cept JD- he’ll say it on the internet, in this thread.
    lol

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  233. Silicone – How did actions become speech acts? I am screaming and yelling? Good Allah. Do you pay attention to yourself? There is nothing 1st Amendmenty about this issue. The government is not making a law supressing their right to state their beliefs. They got clobbered by a jury because they are assholes, and intentionally ruined a funeral of a fallen soldier. You think this is alright, which tells most of us all we need to know about you.

    JD (49efd3)

  234. “lol – Now the internet tough man threat. paul- you’d lose.
    Ahh yes, a whole group of name callers… never stopped by the fair and impartial Patterico.
    I like the way this looks, it’s headed for overturning.”
    lol- yeah right. I can hear the quiver in your lightly dismissive tone you twerp.

    paul from fl (47918a)

  235. Oh gawd, I think what a lot of the Constitutional Scholars think about it. You’re treading on thin ground, and you should know it as well. Go read what you missed.
    ” They got clobbered because they are xxxxxxxxx..”
    That’s your stance on free speech.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  236. Sheesh, Silicondoc, you are getting less coherent by the day.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  237. This is a fucking civil suit, you mental midget. Show me how this is a free speech issue. I will give you a hint, it is not. They are a public nuisance. They intentionally, and knowingly disrupt the funerals of fallen soldiers to bring attention to themselves and their message of hate. If there ever was a time to show respect to someone, it is during their funeral. However, they choose to use this deeply profound moment for the families as their moment to remind the world that they are assholes. Again, nothing to do with free speech. I despise the civil law system as is, but in this instance, that jury could not have awarded enough money.

    JD (49efd3)

  238. You do not get to make up my stance on what is free speech, silicone. That is a standard tactic of the feeble, and the Left (not mutually exclusive).

    JD (49efd3)

  239. paul, you said your son ain’t dead, so when you wailed out your death threat and insanity defense, I was certain you were totally different than the other hundreds of parents at funerals these past years…
    lol
    Oh boy.
    Well, we shall see. Noone cares here that they could not be seen, that they definitely didn’t cause any emotional harm (same level of rage here just for their message- no different at all), it was rather the Dad’s desire to watch the news, have his bikers over for fun, surf the internet, and torture himself for show in the courtroom, with so many lies it’s laughable.
    But then, that’s the type of lies the crazy raging partisan kookballs love nowadays. The insane juries follow along like zombies.
    It’s time to shutup people you don’t want to hear, and to do that, you wanna cry like liberals you got your feelings hurt.
    It’s so bad, you’re so hurt, you issue internet death threats. ( I’ve seen ’em elsewhere, too. )
    Well, good luck. So many years of protests, and the big bad death threat pajama army – hasn’t raised a finger.
    So, shut ’em up by taking every dime they have, and walk away.
    Yes, you’d have to be at least as evil as you think they are to support such a thing, but many of you do support it.
    I know exactly what that says about you.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  240. ok-
    Got it.
    See ya’ soon.

    paul from fl (47918a)

  241. SiliconDoc,

    From this moment on, everything you say should be brief and to the point. And watch your language, too.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  242. DRJ – I will quit taunting the kid. Obviously he escaped from the short bus.

    JD (49efd3)

  243. I’m interested to see how long the Doc keeps talking to himself. I think he’s going for a record because he thinks people are paying attention.

    Ego and pride will get a guy like that every time. He’s just another bozo on the bus. Maybe he escaped from the Matriot’s I Hate America tour.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  244. I see DRJ, other use outright profanity and you excuse it altogether, but now your feelings are hurt, because you know what I think about you for what you have supported, and why.
    Good. (as you said in the lead)
    Short enough ?

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  245. Doc-
    will be in LA next week…wanna get together and talk?

    paul from fl (47918a)

  246. I don’t really understand what’s going on here, but paul from fl and SiliconDoc are both having their comments temporarily going into moderation.

    It’s looking like a comment fight turning into real-life threats. That is not taking place here.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  247. I’m having to put more and more and more people into moderation. What is y’all’s problem???

    Patterico (bad89b)

  248. This is the kind of thing that makes people kill comments altogether.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  249. Well Patterico, the entire group pulled their team up crap. Hey, that’s how your posters are when you’re gone.
    If they can control themselves (they obviously don’t have to), there wouldn’t be a problem. Go ahead and check the whole thread – every single one of them started the NAME CALLING.
    I see the first one was DOUCHENOZZLE –
    I was nice about it, but no more.
    DRJ – wouldn’t discipline any of them.
    Then got her? own little snit fit.
    I’m leaving this IDIOT station who – because your posters are group jerkoffs .
    See ya patty and crew loser.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  250. SiliconDoc appears to have opted out of the blog.

    Patterico (792487)

  251. I think he’s had problems like this at other blogs before.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  252. DRJ – #238, that you carry yourself with such classy restraint and smart composure is also what makes you a compelling poster and commenter. Well played.

    Dana (27e032)

  253. Oh Good Lord.

    Y’know, I’m glad I mostly stayed out of this thread till now.

    Paul (66339f)

  254. Sorry, I am usually better than that. I need to keep this opinion stuff in perspective. Lurk on.Comments off…for now

    paul from fl (47918a)

  255. OK, I have unmoderated you, paul from fl, and I published SiliconDoc and your comments to show why I unmoderated you and not him.

    You are free to comment.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  256. “OK, I have unmoderated you, paul from fl, and I published SiliconDoc and your comments to show why I unmoderated you and not him.”

    Why exactly is that? Because Paul from Florida was going to take the confrontation physical, but didn’t criticize you and DRJ?

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  257. I should point out that I wasn’t following this last night. I don’t always have time to moderate the comments, and especially not in real time. So I didn’t give anyone any sort of warning, as I did with alphie and Christoph (I didn’t need to with TCO, who was already taunting me and challenging my willingness to discipline him).

    paul from fl’s reaction, which I have published, shows that he immediately understood he had crossed the line, and a willingness to conform his behavior in the future to what is acceptable. I think if I had given a warning, he would have accepted it. (Instead, I shut them both off right away because the situation seemed overly volatile).

    alphie, Christoph, and TCO made it clearer that they didn’t intend to heed any warnings: alphie and Christoph by not conforming their bevavior in the face of clear warnings, or in TCO’s case by claiming he had ruined the thread and confidently declaring that I wouldn’t do anything about it.

    Once eacof their respective weeks is up, I will in all likelihood lift the ban and publish all the comments they have left in the meantime.

    There is no guarantee, however. I still see comments from them coming up in moderation. If those comments indicate that they have no intention of conforming their behavior in the future, the ban may be extended, or could even become permanent.

    Patterico (2995a8)

  258. I did moderate my behavior. I left out the “PUKE” and “pig” parts. The stupid part, however, spoke for itself.

    Kind of like you calling the LA Times liars. Adding f’n to the beginning of it would be superfluous.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  259. alphie, in particular, left one comment that, if it had been published, I would have responded to in a similar fashion as when I gave him this time-out: namely, explicitly make your case, or risk being banned for good. It was a typical comment of his: a one-line question resting on a blatantly false premise, encouraging all of us to note that the premise was false.

    I won’t tolerate that again. Next time it won’t be a one-week timeout, either.

    Patterico (cc6616)

  260. Comment by Patterico — 11/3/2007 @ 3:30 pm

    Fair answer.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  261. Wow…..

    255 posts, and our host laying down the ban hammer.

    I’m scared to read what was posted after the last time I visited this topic.

    Foxfier (94990a)

  262. Pat/254:

    I’m trying to stay silent and honor the one week ban (although it seems like I see my posts and no one else does).

    Just for precision (hums They Would be Giants: “not to put to fine a point on it”), I was not saying that you would not DARE to punish me, but that you would not CARE to punish me. Not to get all Jackson rhyming school of rhetoric on you (shamelessly stolen from CB), but it’s CARE not DARE. Of course, I’m quite capable of being pugnacious as well. And it’s really 6/half dozen, so no worries. Just want to know that I’m doing my time for battery not assault (prosecuter reference for you).

    I still disagree with your actions against alphie. I AGREE that he is using one-liners and not backing them up. But he is temperate. And many of the people on your (our?) side are morons with throwaway posts as well. It’s a chilling effect to eliminate alphie. Leave him be. I know it enrages things. But my cursing is worse. This blog has the power of the headposts and an active community of like thinkers. Allow alphie to exist.

    TCO (1c4d1b)

  263. He actually makes an interesting point every now and then, if you grit your teeth and think about his allusions for a second.

    TCO (3b23ad)

  264. I could see your comment, TCO. Of course, you can’t see mine so that makes this comment kind of irrelevant.

    At any rate, I am going to take a break from Patterico’s Pontifications for two reasons:

    1. I have been temporarily banned. This seems to be a pretty good reason.
    2. I have important work to do. And as PCD pointed out — moronic though most of his other comments were — I’m not doing it.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  265. Alphie can exist all he wants.

    Pat just doesn’t have to allow him to post. There’s a difference.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  266. hey…I’m supposed to be in exile. It sounded like Scott, my camp follower, read what I wrote!

    Scott: of cours, Pat doesn’t HAVE to allow any comments. Or any comments from people he doesn’t want to hear from. For whatever reason he chooses. This is a private site. so that’s obvious. Now, let’s get the triteness behind us (my little Calc 101 snuggle bum).

    THE POINT IS: if Pat does exclude people like Alphie, he will end up with a one sides blog. This is because he allows nitwits of the right to post, but not of the left. It’s bad enough that the community can have a chilling, Shirly Jackson Lotteryesque effect. (Except for me…I’ll take on all y’all, if Pat will just let me curse and abuse the tender flowers…I’ll napalm all the little hoi polloi.) But if he moderates with a heavy hand, it WILL have an impact. Does he want this place to be one more collection of dittoheads?

    TCO (3b23ad)

  267. Yeah, I’m watching these three people continue to post their nonsense in moderation, and I’d like to retract any promise that I’m going to publish any of their comments when the week is up. I’m feeling better and better about the time-out, and more and more inclined to make it permanent for all three.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  268. I DARE you to permanently ban me. :)

    TCO (3b23ad)


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