In response to all this Fred Phelps business, people have been emailing me about their experiences with the WBC back in the day. I really liked this one:
You probably already know that the Phelpses try to provoke violent or otherwise illegal responses from counter protesters/citizens/whomever and then sue the communities or institutions that didn’t do a good enough job protecting them in exercising their First Amendment rights. In Lexington, the town manager’s office organized an official community counter protest (the parents and other concerned people linked hands, stood between the protesters and the school, and then turned their backs on them for the duration of the protest). They brought in volunteer outside experts to help organize and teach them how to do a peaceful counter-protest.
As the Lexington protest and counter-protest got underway, a couple of police officers who were patrolling the area met an older man who was walking towards the high school. They started to explain about the Phelpses and he interrupted: “I know. That’s where I’m going. I’m a Korean War vet. These people have disrespected my comrades at their funerals, and now they’re after my kids. I’ve had enough.” And he held up a big box of eggs he planned to throw. The officers explained the nonviolent plan and the reason for it. When they told him how many counter protesters there were, a big smile spread across his face, saluted them, and turned around.
Thought I’d share.