Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Honoring the Fallen - Banning the Scum

Wisely, the members of the Connecticut General Assembly voted late last night to restrict protests at military funerals. This bill had passed earlier in the session, but with the warning that the lunatics from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka planned to disrupt a military funeral in the state this coming Friday, an amendment was crafted to have the provisions take effect immediately.

Whether or not you are in support of what the United States is doing in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as Americans, we all must recognize the service of our men and women in the armed forces, who put their lives on the line, take up the post against our enemies, and many times make the ultimate sacrifice so we may enjoy the privileges of freedom and liberty.

The measure that passed prohibits protests and demonstrations an hour before and an hour after the event, and bans protesters from going near the cemetery property or house of worship, and keeps protesters at least 150 feet back from the entrance to the cemetery as a funeral procession passes.

The Westboro Baptist Church issued a nauseating press release titled "Thank God for IEDs" in which they announce their intention to protest at the Friday services and interment of Army First Lieutenant Keith Heidtman, in Norwich, CT. First Lieutenant Heidtman died a hero on May 28th, Memorial Day, while serving in Iraq.

These twisted bastards believe that American soldiers are dying in the Middle East because America tolerates homosexuals. They have protested at military funerals all over the nation, spreading their unique misery and grief to the loved ones of fallen soldiers including once previously in Connecticut. They carry signs that say "God Hates Fags", a recurrent theme on their detestable web page.

For these disgusting ass-faced animals, there are no words strong enough to convey the level of contempt they should be held in. They have the temerity to drape themselves in red white and blue, yet they haven't the most fleeting notion about what it means to be an American, unable to wrap their small brains around the notions of duty, honor and country; principles that guided the lives of the brave soldiers whose grave sites they would dare sully with their ignoble presence.

God loves America, and he loves America's soldiers. It's these pieces of filth, whose entire lives are hardly worth a rag used to spit-shine one of these fallen soldiers' boots, whom God hates. And I am with God on that.

As an American, I thank Senator Len Fasano (R-North Haven) for spearheading this effort, as well as all members of the Connecticut General Assembly, Republican and Democrat alike for unanimously voting to prevent the disruption of military funerals by protesters. And I thank the Governor for assuring a quick signature to the law.


Robert said...

God doesn't hate anyone man. God is love. He loves us all, tall, short, big and small. Anyone who thinks otherwise hasn't done their homework. Even if the unltra right wingers are right and homosexuality is a sin are we not all sinners?

As much as I agree that the message is ignorant and the timing inappropriate; ignorance is fought with education, not adjudication and inappropriateness is often necessary to effect change (and last time I checked isn't illegal... at least yet).

This law is most likely Unconstitutional and the soldier who died, died in defense of freedom (if you believe the current administration). I'm sure he would have at the very least felt that he was serving the cause of freedom.

How ironic that his death is being used as an excuse to curtail it.

As someone who served my country in combat I have to say that I would not want this to be my legacy. And while I am sure that it would hurt and disturb my friends and family if something like this occurred at my passing it wouldn't change what they know to be true about me. That while I may disagree with the message I had served in defense of their right to convey it. And that I believed that cause to be worth my life.

Headless Horseman said...

Thank you for your service.

Okay, God may not really hate these people. But I still do.

I don't think this law infringes on their "rights." Those people are free to exercise their opinion and demonstrate with whatever lunatic notions they have. But they shouldn't be permitted to interrupt a funderal for a fallen soldier. No seviceman or woman's family needs that and those protesters shouldn't have a right to disturb such an event.

Len Greene Jr. said...

Even if this law is deemed unconstitutional, which it probably is, our elected officials have represented their constituents effectively by sending a strong message. Our society and our culture still holds humanity and common decency sacred in spite of the recent erosion in moral and traditional values.

Robert said...

I know what you mean. I'm not happy about what these folks are doing. No more so than I imagine the towns that have Ku Klux Klan parades down Main Street are happy about that.

But the freedom to meet peacably and protest is one of our most important rights. And if we don't guarantee it for the ignorant nuts with thier crazy causes who will guarantee it when responsible citizens have more legitimate grievances?

Protest is context sensative. This is why Communist nations who have these specific areas where protests can take place seem like such a joke to most Americans.

It is pretty obvious that if you are protesting nuclear power it sould be at the power plant. If you are protesting a law then an area of political importance. City hall got you down? Too many local property taxes? What are you going to do? Protest at your local supermarket? Or maybe set up a rally in your neighborhood? No, you are going to protest at City Hall.

I started noticing the way the law was effecting protests when I had some friends protesting a circus. The local police built them a little box waaaaaaaay off to the side of the entrance. They were not allowed to leave the box and if they protested anywhere else they were arrested.

The distance between the protestors and the patrons of the circus completely deflated the message and removed the impact of their protest.

So while protesting gay rights at a soldiers funeral by saying that God is punishing our nation for harboring homosexuals by killing our soldiers is both ignorant and narrowminded (and a good way to get your but kicked by some very angry people) from a logical point of view where else can your message garner as much impact? Where else would you get as much attention as these chowderheads have been getting (there's one in the news today, arrested for letting her kid stomp the flag [desecration of the flag laws have been ruled unconstitutional how many times now] at some soldiers funeral)?

How did Frankin put it? Those who would trade Freedom for Security deserve neither. Or something like that. This isn't even a trade of freedom for security. It's a trade of freedom in exchange for propriety; and it hardly seems worth the exchange.

If they are actually interrupting the service then I could understand a breach of peace charge. But these are fine lines that must be balanced with respect for the freedoms this nation stands for. Putting up with nuts we don't agree with is, like a soldiers life, a price we pay for freedom.

Headless Horseman said...

robert, I agree with you pretty much to a point. But the problem in my mind is that a military funeral isn't really a public event.

Let's say someone is pro same-sex marriage. Their protesting at city hall because they won't issue a marriage license is a given right, and protesting at the state capitol because they won't enact a same-sex marriage law is likewise. But does this person have a right to protest at your wedding?

This measure still lets these people do their twisted protest, they just have to be 150 feet back.

I think its reasonable.

The other thing I consider about this is intent. They are protesting with the intention of plucking a slain soldier's family's wounds, and aggravating their grief. I certainly don't contest the right of protesters to protest, but when they intend to cause emotional distress to non-public figures at a non-public event, I say the rules are different, and should be.

Robert said...

I actually thought about that and I was going to say that a private cemetary is private property and therefore it would be fairly easy for the company that owns the cemetary or their representative to call the police and have the protestors removed. They own the property and it is their right to decide who can be on it.

The same would be true for the wedding hall or church owners in your analogy.

But then I remembered from a friend I lost in the service (he and I were both within a month of leaving the service and he was driving with someone who was drunk and they ran off the road and he died from internal injuries) that most folks who die in the military are often given military funerals on public property where many other soldiers and government servants are buried.

What could be more rich protest ground than that?

And if it were people who were protesting the war itself, a much more palatable activity to my mind than what our friends are doing, then could you really say that these restrictions wouldn't impact the message?

I don't have a problem with them being kept off the property if it is privately owned but telling them they cannot have the protest during the funeral is like telling animal rights activists that they have to protest the circus when it is closed for business.

And since there are funerals going on all the time in cemetary's wouldn't it (assuming that there were just 4 funerals a day evenly spaced out) make the protest impossible to take place, basically precluding any protest, within an 8 hour day?

Keeping them a good distance from the event is reasonable. The courts have never allowed protestors to impact an event so that it is interrupted or cannnot take place. But the rest is what will assuredly get this law overturned.

And while I agree, Len that the politicians may be servicing thier constituents by passing a law that their passion demands wouldn't our lawmakers time and our money better be spent with a law that actually resolves the issue in a manner that isn't so blatently unconstitutional so that it will be rendered inert... and therefore a waste of time in fairly short order?

I'm enjoying this discourse. Lot's of smart people here.

ConnecticutYankeeInFlorida said...

The TRASH from Westboro Baptist Church is just that. Westboro Baptist is not a true baptist church and the members of it are all related to each other. I wish GOD would strike them down, because they aren't GOD LIKE, just GARBAGE!

The Real Bob Anthony said...

Well there is a group out there called The Patriot Guard Riders--who kind of counter what Phelps and his nutjobs do.

Oh, by the way, Al Gore has a fan in The Not-so-right reverend!

Headless Horseman said...

thanks for the link bob. I remember these guys from the Hartford Veterans Day parade. interesting crowd... love their work though.

mccommas said...

What is unclear to me is whether the protesting is banned outright (clearly unconstitutional) or if they are just held back a certain distance from the event.

The distance requirement would square with the First Amendment. That’s what the Democrats did with Operation Rescue. Pro Life Americans protested outside Abortion Clinics. The Supremes held as constitutionals laws that kept them a certain distance away, but they are still allowed to demonstrate and voice their opinion to mothers going in to kill their babies.

Robert said...


I haven't read the actual law but from HH's article it seems the protestors are barred from protesting for an hour before the funeral and an hour after (and I assume during the funeral). It also requires them to keep 150 feet from the cemetary entrance when the funeral procession passes but that confuses me as it is pretty rare that a funeral procession enters the cemetary more than an hour before the even which would make protesting at all during this time illegal, and therefore the 150 foot rule, redundant.

To put it in terms of your analogy.

Pro Life protestors would be barred from protesting an hour before, during, and an hour after someone recieves an abortion. Additionally they would be required to remain 150 feet from the entrance to the abortion clinic when patients are entering the parking lot.

And since it is rare that someone arrives more than an hour before their appointment for an abortion protesting to anyone going to the clinic would most likely be illegal at any time.

And if there were enough abortions in a day, stacked one behind another, protest would theoretically be illegal the entire operating hours of the abortion clinic.

Like I said. Protest is context sensative. You would never see a law like this related to abortion protest because both sides of the issue are so politically active and powerful.

You can only get away with enacting a law like this when it effects the nuts who don't have the resources to fight it. But in the long run we all pay for the loss of freedom.