UPDATE: This video of the event is perfect!
Word went out in the blogosphere on Wednesday that the disgusting Westboro ‘Baptist Church’ lunatics were planning to protest at the funeral Saturday of Joshua Tomlinson in Minden, LA. Such a disgrace cannot go unanswered ever; while it was pretty clear that others were responding, it was decided by some members of NTTP to participate in the effort the shield the grieving family from this cult’s hateful message.
The NTTP Response
A large banner- suitable for masking the Westboro protesters and their signs- was quickly created and br0ught to the meeting, where many NTTP members signed it. Two member of the group- Mike Openshaw and Sylvia Acuff- made the 240 mile drive to honor the fallen soldier with the banner below (each tile in the picture is one-foot square). They then planned to leave it with the family as a memento of the support and condolences of average citizens:
Mike’s Post-Action Report
This experience makes me realize how much I miss small town America; Minden, LA has every reason to be proud on how they protected and honored their own. If the phone call coming in had a Kansas area code, or the car had a Kansas license plate, there was not a hotel room to be had in all of Minden. However, the local residents were uniformly gracious, grateful and accommodating to those of us there to honor their fallen hero. The Patriot Guard and other biker clubs that showed up were fantastic and it was with extreme honor that we worked with these groups- primarily made up of veterans, as well as a number of active service personnel- to be ready to provide cover if the Westboro slugs showed up. (There was a squad of young Marines there- ones deploying to Afghanistan in a few months; it was clear I might need to intervene with them to save the Westboro people from serious harm). Probably 30 more people signed our banner.
Here the massive number of rider take a moment for prayer:
And here is the funeral procession itself; the riders stretched the entire 2 mile distance to the cemetery:
In the end : the Westboro scum apparently drove into town and tried- unsuccessfully- to get hotel rooms. But, with enough warfighting experience and testosterone in town to get Iranian mullahs to soil their pants, they didn’t have guts enough to even attempt to protest. After that became clear, we found an excellent corner to display our banner to the passing funeral procession and clearly family member read it as they passed. We left the banner at the Pastor’s office in the church with a note from us asking them to pass it on to the family.
Minden and how they take care of their own is something in which that modest-sized town- and the entire nation- can be proud of. A gratifying and humbling example to us all.