[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.]
First, let’s start with the serious stuff first. Earlier this month, Army Sgt. Jason James McCluskey died for his country in Afghanistan. Freedom Remembered tells us that “[h]e died at age 26 at Zarghun Shahr, Mohammed Agha district, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal.” May God bless and keep you, Sgt. McCluskey.
So his funeral was apparently last Saturyday, and the Westboro Baptist @$$holes went to protest this soldier’s funeral. They apparently think that if you serve with a gay person you get their gay cooties and therefore go to hell. But when they went back to their minivan, they discovered that someone had slashed two of their tires:
Yes, yes, I know, it is wrong to feel schadenfruede about this whole thing. But if you want to feel more of it anyway, then this should bring a smile to your face:
To make matters worse, as their minivan slowly hobbled away on two flat tires, with a McAlester police car following behind, the protesters were unable to find anyone in town who would repair their vehicle, according to police.
The minivan finally pulled over several blocks away in a shopping center parking lot, where AAA was called. A flatbed service truck arrived and loaded up the minivan. Assistant Police Chief Darrell Miller said the minivan was taken to Walmart for repairs.
Of course it is always wrong to do violence or property damage to anyone over a mere disagreement, however big a bunch of @$$holes they are, but really it couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch, right? *SEG*
That being said, this raucous but apparently otherwise peaceful counter-protest is not only the correct response, but it is a tribute to their fallen son that they were willing to go out there and protect the family this way:
Even before the protesters discovered their damaged tires, they faced off with a massive crowd of jeering and taunting counterprotesters at Third Street and Washington Avenue, two blocks from the First Baptist Church, where the soldier’s funeral was held.
Miller estimated that crowd to number nearly 1,000 people, and they not only drowned out the Westboro protesters with jeers, but with raucous chants of “USA, USA.”
A few motorcyclists interspersed among the crowd also revved up their engines to muffle the protests.
That’s the correct response, not slashing tires, however much I can’t help but enjoy the latter.
And let me spit ball another idea. When one of those Westboro Baptist protesters dies, maybe we should show up at their funeral and give them a taste of their own medicine. I mean make it very specifically targeted toward one of the protesters. Maybe we could teach them about respecting a person’s right to bury their loved ones in peace and quiet.
Update: On a tangentially related point, Eric Turkewitz, Esq. catches a funeral home network reaching out to him for some kind of unspecified marketing opportunity. This would be a rare case of the ambulance chasing the lawyer.
Update (II): On the main story, we get Doug Powers at Malkin’s site, saying:
I’d have had somebody fix their tires and after they were back on the highway told them that person was gay.
Maybe they tell them ahead of time for extra comedy purposes. “Sure we will fix that flat. But you know our tire specialist, Bob, he’s into men. Are you okay with that or do you think you will endanger your mortal soul with his gay cooties? And no, we don’t have anyone else available to help.”
Update (III by Aaron Worthing): David Freddroso writes on a better response:
This morning in La Plata, Md., the hate group’s parade of absurdity received quite a response: More than a thousand counter-demonstrators showed up early, established themselves on the rights-of-way around the church, and prevented the “God Hates Fags” crowd from getting anywhere near the funeral of Marine Lance Cpl. Terry Honeycutt.
A few minutes ago, I called Holly Smith, one of the organizers of the counter-demonstration. I was surprised to hear no shouting or noise in the background. “American flags as far as the eye can see,” she told me. And the Westboro crowd? “They are up at a gas station probably a mile up the road, because they couldn’t get any closer,” she said. “We’re in the shoulder for probably ten deep for at least 300 yards.”
Much better than destruction of property, and a template for helping the grieving families of deceased servicemen in the future.
Agreed. Like Patterico below I do oppose the criminal act, so I am really glad to see people coming up with peaceful alternatives.
Update (IV): Ain’t unity a beautiful thing? We learn that Charles Johnson pretty much agrees: slashing tires is wrong, but he seems to be enjoying this, too. And My Pet Jawa, who does all that anti-terrorism stuff that Johnson used to do, gives us a musical interlude from Nirvana. Its a really early tape recording, with a different drummer, and someone else doing guitar for Cobain, but Cobain’s light comes shining through on this song nonetheless.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]
UPDATE/DISCLAIMER BY PATTERICO: I do not approve of criminal acts in response to speech acts, no matter how heinous the speech act in question.