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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Westboro Baptist members will die sooner or later

On November 3rd, 1979, the Communist Workers Party staged a rally not far away from here in Greensboro, North Carolina. Party members were trying to organize local workers to oppose the Ku Klux Klan. During the rally the protestors chanted "Death to the Klan!", especially as a group of Klansmen and neo-Nazis drove past. A few minutes later the Nazi-Klan people parked their cars, opened up the trunks, brought out several shotguns and other firearms, and opened fire on the rally. Five members of the Communist Workers were killed, and several more injured. Nobody was convicted of what happened that day.

Everything about the whole event was ugly. I don't understand why some people in Greensboro keep bringing it up. There was nothing "socially significant" about what happened that day at all: it was two groups of people who hated each other, and one way or another they were both aching too much for a confrontation to let one slide by. It was like two schoolyard bullies going at it against each other, but with grownups and guns. I've never had any sympathy toward either party involved: as much as the Nazi-Klansmen caused bloodshed in the tragedy, the Communist Workers only had themselves to blame for antagonizing them in the first place.

(Here's a video of the confrontation on YouTube, showing not only the Nazi-Klansmen shooting at the Communists but the Communists shouting insults at the Klansmen and hitting their cars as they drive by.)

Two nights ago I witnessed firsthand something that I've heard of for a long time, and even wrote about when I was in college, but never expected to see with my own eyes: a "protest" by the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas (the "God Hates Fags" bunch). You've probably heard of them: they're the "church" that have been going around the country picketing at funerals of fallen soldiers, waving around the most vile signs and spitting out vicious slander at anyone who doesn't fit within their narrow definition of what it is to be right with God. Here's my full report on what happened, including plenty of photos of the Westboro members in action.

Fred Phelps, his daughter Shirley Phelps Roper (who accompanied her family two nights ago and is the spokeswoman of the group), and the rest of Westboro Baptist Church are trying to elicit a response with their antics. I wonder if they really understand what it is they are doing, and if the ramifications of their actions are within their realm of comprehension.

These people are doing nothing but asking for trouble. And when it comes, it'll be in spades.

Folks, I honestly believe – enough to make a statement about it even – that the Westboro Baptist Church is headed toward a nasty situation like what happened in Greensboro in 1979. One day, sooner or later, the Westboro gang is going to picket the wrong event and honk off the wrong people. All it really takes is one person. Someone is going to see the Westboro Baptist members with their signs and their songs and their sickening disregard for sympathy toward others. And that someone is going to decide that Westboro Baptist Church has gone too far. And then, that person is going to take matters into his own hands.

You heard it here first: if they keep this up, the members of Westboro Baptist Church can only look forward to some of them being dispatched with extreme prejudice. I'm actually surprised it hasn't happened already.

Well, what else can I say except this: I've never wanted to see anyone get hurt, for any reason. But if it happens to the people of Westboro Baptist Church, I can’t imagine anyone else who would have brought it upon themselves more.