Red State Avatars: Dispatches From the Culture Wars

The good guys won a couple battles in the Culture War today. First, little Cody Alicea - he's the kid whose principal told him to take his American flag off his bike because it was causing racial tension - was escorted to school by hundreds of flag waving bikers:

Really, that's pretty inspirational stuff. Middle school's hard enough without having your principal take the side of race-baiting thugs in the lunchroom. I hope (but doubt) he learned something today.

Second, the Westboro "church" (they're the "God Hates F*gs" people) found trouble at its latest funeral. Someone slashed the tires on their mini-van and when they went looking for a mechanic to help them, no one in town would lift a finger. Aw.

First, let’s start with the serious stuff first. Earlier this month, Army Sgt. Jason James McCluskey died for his country in Afghanistan. Freedom Remembered tells us that “[h]e died at age 26 at Zarghun Shahr, Mohammed Agha district, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal.” May God bless and keep you, Sgt. McCluskey.

So his funeral was apparently last Saturyday, and the Westboro Baptist @$$holes went to protest this soldier’s funeral. They apparently think that if you serve with a gay person you get their gay cooties and therefore go to hell. But when they went back to their minivan, they discovered that someone had slashed two of their tires

Everyone's talking about the slashed tires with Patterico barging into his co-blogger's post to sniff and say "I do not approve of criminal acts in response to speech acts, no matter how heinous the speech act in question." I'll get back to this in a second.

What's more remarkable is what the Westboro folks were faced with when they tried to "protest" another Marine's funeral in Maryland.

This morning in La Plata, Md., the hate group's parade of absurdity received quite a response: More than a thousand counter-demonstrators showed up early, established themselves on the rights-of-way around the church, and prevented the "God Hates Fags" crowd from getting anywhere near the funeral of Marine Lance Cpl. Terry Honeycutt.

A few minutes ago, I called Holly Smith, one of the organizers of the counter-demonstration. I was surprised to hear no shouting or noise in the background. "American flags as far as the eye can see," she told me. And the Westboro crowd? "They are up at a gas station probably a mile up the road, because they couldn't get any closer," she said. "We're in the shoulder for probably ten deep for at least 300 yards."

Now, that belongs in a movie. And, while those folks and the Cody Alicea's bikers may or may not be Tea Partiers, they are definitely acting in the same spirit: standing up to the forces that are tearing the country down, whether through politically correct rules that always seem to protect the sensibilities of the unpatriotic and unassimilated or media-savvy activists trolling for "civil rights violations." Is there any doubt that, were Cody to burn his flag that the principal would not have stood in the way? Is there any doubt that many on the Left love that the Westboro people are probably paving the way for a free speech right to protest at Marine funerals?

And I really have to question Patterico's high falutin' claim that he "doesn't approve" of criminal acts in response to speech. First off, how much of a crime is slashing a couple tires, especially when you compare it to the crimes that the Westboro people commit? 10, 20 years ago they would have been fighting off multiple complaints for disturbing the peace, inciting violence, and trespassing. But now? Everyone, even prosecutors like Patterico, stands around shrugging their shoulders saying there's nothing they can do. (Hey, they got permits! Permits, I tell you!) Well, I don't remember the day when it was decided that justice and the American Constitution demand that Fred Phelps be able to show up uninvited at military funerals and yell "God Hates F*gs!" I think a lot of people don't remember that happening. But, happen it did. And I think a lot of people don't like that (1) it happened and (2) the government and law enforcement are making a big show of not being able to do anything about it.

Not only that, I think a lot of people look at the Phelps clan and see a modern version of Madeline Murray O'Hare. You know: someone who makes a lot of noise about the Constitution and freedom, but is really just another leftist/fellow traveler (you know Phelps is a Democrat and a disbarred civil rights lawyer, don't you?) trying to tear down America a little piece at a time. The bizarre nasties on the Left end up on the news, always wearing the cloak of "idealist" or "free speech warrior," while real warriors like Sgt. McCulskey are ignored, and seventh graders need a motorcade escort just to ride a bike with a flag on it. If all Fred Phelps has to deal with are a couple slashed tires, he'll be getting off easy.

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