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Veterans Form Human Shield to Protect Soldier Funerals From Protesters (Video)

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Veterans Form Human Shield to Protect Soldier Funerals From Protesters (Video)

Post by Breezey Breezey on Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:17 am

The U.S. Supreme Court this week ruled in favor of the rights of Westboro Baptist Church members to protest at soldiers' funerals, reaffirming the protections in the U.S. Constitution for free speech.

But, that doesn't mean the soldier's family must listen to the repugnant speech or view the extremist language on the picket signs. 900 bikers from around the country are making sure they don't have to.

The Patriot Guard Riders, many of them former veterans, protect funeral-goers from the hurtful speech by creating a 'wall' of American flags and soaring patriotic music to shield families from the protest.

Since the high court ruling, new members are rushing to join the Patriot Guard Riders, a charitable organization formed in Kansas in 2005, after bikers belonging to the American Legion first heard about the Westboro Baptist protests and decided to take action.

The group doesn't confront the protestors at all. Instead, they shield the family from the brunt of the abuse.



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Re: Veterans Form Human Shield to Protect Soldier Funerals From Protesters (Video)

Post by Breezey Breezey on Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:24 am

Patriot Guard Riders flooded with memberships after Westboro decision

Shortly after joining, Vassar awoke one morning at 5 a.m., climbed aboard his Harley Electra Classic (many - but not all - members ride motorcycles) and rode to Pittsburgh. After meeting a Patriot Guard representative, he stood in a flag line for a Marine.

Since then, Vassar has been to dozens of funerals, including 20 that were picketed by the Westboro Baptist Church.

Patriot Guard Riders only attend funerals when someone from the family invites them. While donations can be made on the organization's Web site, gas and hotel bills are paid out of the riders' pockets.

Patriot Guard Riders got its start in Kansas in August 2005, after an American Legion Riders group caught wind of the Westboro Baptist protests. Today, it has members around the country.

Their "mission is a double-edged sword," said Young, the assistant state captain for Eastern Pennsylvania and a member of the organization since spring 2006.

Primarily, the goal is to honor the family and the deceased veteran. Members roll into town carrying American flags. They form lines at the servicemembers' funerals, display the flags, and present the family members with a plaque.

The other part of the mission, shielding and protecting the family, is why many of the new members have joined.

And Young is concerned that some of the incoming members think they'll be able to pick fights with picketers. That's not the case. In fact, Young said, the group doesn't confront protestors at all.

Instead, they shield the family from the brunt of the abuse.

The group has tried several methods for blocking protestors from the funeral. Pennsylvania state law creates a 500-foot buffer zone around funerals that demonstrators must stay behind. Patriot Guard Riders have tried using garbage trucks, fire trucks and their motorcycles to block the signs and jeers, Bioni said.

Today, the group stands shoulder to shoulder and hold together a number of flags to make a large "flag wall" to block the signs and jeers from demonstrators, he said.

That part of the job is "absolutely the hardest thing," Young said.

While blocking the protestors, Young and the others, often about 50 of them, stand at attention. Many have traveled for hours to attend - in all sorts of weather.

As close as three or four feet from his rear, demonstrators have shouted slogans and sung songs that have stung him. In some cases, the demonstrators trample and spit on flags.

Young watches the families mourn. Most of the time, he can't hear what they're saying because of the demonstrators.

Memories of coming home from Vietnam try to break free, but he holds them back.

He tries not to think about what the protestors saying.

"You just have to learn to turn everything off," he said.

(Full story here)
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Re: Veterans Form Human Shield to Protect Soldier Funerals From Protesters (Video)

Post by roxanna on Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:07 am

regardless of what ones political views are, this the most low down and despicable thing anybody could do. there must be better ways of making their point than harassing grieving families and friends.
freedom of speech is good, but in this case they should not be allowed within sight or earshot of the mourners.

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Re: Veterans Form Human Shield to Protect Soldier Funerals From Protesters (Video)

Post by Ja'aj on Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:43 am

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March 7, 2011, 8:00 pm



Sticks and Stones


B.y [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
.
In his new book,
“Philosopher Kings? The Adjudication of Conflicting Human Rights and
Social Values,”
law professor George C. Christie notes that with
respect to the conflict between privacy rights and free expression
rights, the United States and Europe seem to be going in different
directions. European jurists will try, as one court put it, to strike
“a fair balance . . . between the competing interests of the individual
and of the community as a whole”; American courts are likely to come
down strongly in favor of the individual’s right to free expression
even when an expressive activity arguably pollutes the community’s
conversational space or is intentionally hurtful to other individuals.
At the end of his book, Christie wonders how the Supreme Court will
decide Snyder
v. Phelps
, a cause of action brought by the father of a dead
soldier at whose funeral members of the militantly anti-gay Westboro
Baptist Church
waved signs saying (among other things) “Thank God
for Dead Soldiers” and “You’re going to Hell.” Lance Corporal Matthew
Snyder’s father alleged an injury under the tort category of the
intentional infliction of emotional distress. Christie declares that he
would be “disappointed if the Court were to allow recovery for [this]
admittedly grossly tasteless and insensitive demonstration.”
The
Court did not disappoint him
, for, as everyone now knows, it held
for Westboro and against Snyder by a vote of 8-1. Justice Samuel Alito
was the lone dissenter. He was also the lone dissenter in a case
decided a year ago (United
States v. Stevens
) when the Court stuck down a statute
criminalizing the sale of videos depicting kittens being crushed to
death by the high-heeled “spike” shoes of a dominatrix. The majority
opinion in both cases was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, and the
result in Snyder was predictable, given Roberts’s rejection in Stevens
of “any balancing of relative social costs and benefits” when it comes
to free expression rights: they trump.

A balancing of costs and benefits in the style of European courts would
have involved asking questions like: Was the pain caused incidental to
the production of speech — was the primary purpose to communicate an
idea that just happened to be hurtful to some potential hearers — or was
it the very point of the speech to bring the pain about? Was the
Snyder family just caught up in a general scatter-shot diatribe against
an America too friendly to gays or was the family the target of the
diatribe, despite the fact that the young soldier had not himself been
gay? If a lower court’s award of monetary damages had been sustained,
would the Westboro Church’s message have been silenced or would it still
have been able to proclaim its message in a thousand venues, just
not in the venue of a private funeral where people already in pain are
forced to endure more ?
Roberts acknowledges the pain, but he sees it as an inevitable
byproduct of the fact that “speech is powerful.” It can, he says,
“stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and —
as it did here — inflict great pain.” The concession gives away more
than the chief justice realizes. If speech can cause joy, tears and
pain, what distinguishes it from action? The singling out of expression
as a category worthy of special — even categorical — protection makes
sense only if the work speech does is different from the work done by
physical acts, if for example the effects of speech are limited to
changing minds or increasing the store of information or enlarging the
number of viewpoints in the marketplace of ideas, and do not include
bodily harms.
This is of course the traditional view as encapsulated in the
familiar proverb “sticks and stones will break your bones, but names
will never hurt you.” The problem with this ditty is that it is false;
names, libels, lies, defamatory statements and harangues do hurt, and
moreover the hurt they inflict — extending sometime to measurable
physical distress — is often what those who utter them are most invested
in. That is, or should be, the question in this case: is the
expression of opinion primary and the pain just collateral damage; or is
the damage what is desired and expression merely its vehicle?
Alito knows the answer. He begins his dissent by declaring, “Our
profound national commitment to free and open debate is not a license
for . . . vicious verbal assault” and he ends by insisting that “in
order to have a society in which public issues can be openly and
vigorously debated it is not necessary to allow the brutalization of
innocent victims.” Alito is speaking to the chief doctrinal argument
made by Roberts that, distasteful as they may be, the signs held up by
the Westboro Baptists speak to “broad issues of interest to society
rather than matters of ‘purely private concern.’” Even if the signs
were viewed as containing messages related to Mathew Snyder or the
Snyders specifically, that would not, says Roberts, “change the fact
that the overall thrust and dominant theme of Westboro’s demonstration
spoke to broader public issues.”
The logic is that you can be as abusive and scurrilous as you like as
long as the terms of your abuse can be “related” to a matter of public
concern; and given that the number of public concerns is infinitely
large, it is almost impossible not to find such a relation if you are
looking for it. Maybe the word “homosexual,” when uttered, relates to a
matter of public concern, but does that mean that its utterance
indemnifies the entire speech context in which it occurs? Alito doesn’t
think so and he makes the relevant distinction: “I fail to see why
actionable speech should be immunized simply because it is interspersed
with speech that is protected.” In short, you shouldn’t be able to
produce speech with the intention of causing harm to a specific person
and get it away with it because you slipped in a word or phrase that has
or could have a more general application.
Two of Roberts’s secondary arguments are even more vulnerable to
challenge. He imagines a “group of parishioners standing at the very
spot where Westboro stood, holding signs that said ‘God bless America’
and ‘God loves you’; they would not, he avers, “have been subjected to
liability.” Therefore, “It was what Westboro said that exposed it to
tort damages.” Wrong. Parishioners holding up benign signs would not
have been doing the same thing; they would not have been engaged in an
intentional infliction of emotional injury and that is why they would
not have been liable. It is what Westboro did, not what it said, that
exposes it.
A couple of paragraphs later Roberts responds to the contention that
because Snyder was attending his son’s funeral, he was a “captive
audience” (a term of art) and helpless in the face of Westboro’s
intrusive behavior. Citing a previous case, Roberts informs us that
“’the burden normally falls upon the viewer to avoid further
bombardment of [his] sensibilities simply by averting his eyes.’”
“Normally” (one hopes) you won’t be at your young son’s funeral, and if
you are is it really your obligation to react coolly to malevolent
strangers who are doing their best (or, rather their worst) to add
injury to injury? Give me a break! The Court certainly didn’t give
Snyder one..________________________________________________________________

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Stanley Fish, you got that right ! God bless you!
The list of nasty names ... some inventive; some not-so-much ... that I'm inclined
to call "Westboro"
( [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]morons ! ) have no-doubt all been thought of -
and thought ! - by most-all of us.

Mr. Fish said it ! He said it better than I could have, certainly -
and I think he may very well have 'said it' for EVERYONE -
around the world !

About 12 years ago -for the first time ever -. I was shocked! and angered
by The U.S Supreme Court.
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Since then I have - mostly - regained trust, again, in their decisions.
Mostly.
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This time - although I see their point - (I really do ; ) I would not give up my right
to be a jerk easily... and I am as staunch a believer in "Free Speech"
as
just-about anyone you will find anywhere.

This time ( and again! ) the SCOTUS are WRONG.

They have not been this WRONG since Prohibition.!!

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Re: Veterans Form Human Shield to Protect Soldier Funerals From Protesters (Video)

Post by Ja'aj on Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:03 am

Rox, [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

ABSOLUTELY! [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] !
Roberts got it very wrong [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] !




(((Bree))) [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Thanks for posting this... I have been sooo MAD! and
I didn't want to inflict it on everyone here - if they had
somehow managed to miss it... (?)
Although, an EPIC WRONG DECISION ! like this one would
be hard to overlook...
The Opinion I (posted above) from the NYTimes made me feel better !
Mostly, I think, because Mr. Fish put into clear words what I feel
and could only produce *Sputter-Snark-Hiss* words for.


They are a wonderful! bunch, aren't they? (Yes they are.)

They came here - to Tucson - when than moron ! bunch of ....
threatened to show up for our little nine-year-old girl's funeral
after the shootings. (?? So much for "Military funerals" ! [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.])

"Stupid" has clearly reached astonishing porportions...
I would -really! - like to see the actual PROOF!
(Show me the DNA !) that those... [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] people (?)
are actally human.

Your article really! cheered me up. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

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Re: Veterans Form Human Shield to Protect Soldier Funerals From Protesters (Video)

Post by Ja'aj on Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:12 pm

Bree,
Oops [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] I'm sorry, Mo and this Site are not always compatable;
it loads wrong; in the wrong order - or, a lot of the time , not-at-all.
This time it put Rox's name on the topic.
(I feel some better...) I was afraid the SCOTUS's "goof" (?)
made the news in Australia [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

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Re: Veterans Form Human Shield to Protect Soldier Funerals From Protesters (Video)

Post by Tater Salad on Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:05 pm

Those idiots actually showed up here a few months back, to protest at my Alma mater, Archbishop Ryan High School, because they learned that Archbishop Ryan, who served as a chaplain at ground zero on 9/11, was found out to be gay, after he died. Problem was, they didn't do their research very well, since it was the WRONG Archbishop Ryan; the school they protested at opened before the other priest even took his vows.

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Re: Veterans Form Human Shield to Protect Soldier Funerals From Protesters (Video)

Post by Ja'aj on Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:38 pm

Hi, Tater! [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] "Stupid" and obnoxious and offensive! applies , I guess.
Also MORONS.... [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
I'm sorry for any/every! one who ever has to endure these... people.

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Re: Veterans Form Human Shield to Protect Soldier Funerals From Protesters (Video)

Post by Ja'aj on Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:48 pm

I don't much-care what they call themselves...
I think they've got to be "Klan".
They are every bit!
as [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] as the KKK, and they seem to have the same
(lack of) "values".
What the funeral of a NINE-YEAR-OLD CHILD
(shot and killed by a madman !)
has to do with their 'values'/'goals' (?) is beyond me. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

Alito is apparently the only SCJ with any perception at all here.

I bet:
These jackasses are going to be the cause of a bunch! of not-great
laws... [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

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Re: Veterans Form Human Shield to Protect Soldier Funerals From Protesters (Video)

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