LJWorld.com weblogs Sharpening My Pen
Phelps, WBC and Arizona
I really think Westboro Baptist should bear in mind that in many ways Arizona right now is a pretty lawless state (one friend likened it to Mississippi in the '60's). Tucson, where the massacre happened, is a spot of blue in a sea of red. Gun laws in Arizona, including concealed carry, are extremely liberal (in the actual, not political sense.) It put a semi-automatic in the hands of Jared Loughton. I highly doubt he is the only crazy there with access to a gun. Kansas is a very conservative state as well. When WBC protested at the funeral of a Marine in Wichita (edit: was informed in comments this was in McAlister, OK, not Wichita) they had their tires slashed. But Kansas is also a bit inured to them because they home base from Topeka and they've been around all over the state. We're used to them. Arizona is not. WBC angered a lot of people with their protests at military funerals. They agreed to drop their protest at the funeral of the nine year old (in exchange for air time on two radio stations) but fully plan to carry it out at the funerals of the judge and the Congressional aide. They frequently bring their own children to these protests. The very fact that there is a funeral for a nine year old should be a wake up call. This could be a set up for a second tragedy. Frankly, this scares me. No matter what excuses people make there is a climate of hate in this country. WBC contributes to that climate and in fact may have been one of it's first contributors. There is an old saying, "Live by the sword, die by the sword." I am no defender of the WBC but when the collateral damage is children, people who have no real control over who places them where and in what line of danger, I feel compelled to say something.