Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A dilemma of mediawhore "morality"

The freak show that is the Fred Phelps picketing entourage is planning to descend on Oregon to defile the memorial service for PFC Thomas Tucker who was killed in Iraq.

According to Basic Rights Oregon, the Phelps Freakshow will likely be kept far away from the proceedings:

This message comes from a dear friend of Basic Rights Oregon, Becky Groves, President, PFLAG Central Oregon:

As some of you know from the news reports, the Westboro Baptist Church ran by Fred Phelps (www.godhatesfags.com) and his family is planning to demonstrate at the Memorial Service for my cousin, Pvt. Thomas Tucker who was kidnapped, tortured, and killed in Iraq last week. If you know anything about this church, they have been picketing gays' funerals and AIDS victims' funerals for many years. Now their target is military funerals. It saddens me that my family must endure their hateful protests at a time that is excruciatingly painful for Tommy's parents and his sister. Fortunately, the Patriot Guard (www.patriotguard.org) has been following the Phelps clan around to military funerals and blocking their view from the family. They will also be in attendance at Saturday's 1:00 PM Memorial Service at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds Expo Center. I am deeply grateful for what they have been doing.

I was unaware of the Patriot Guard Riders until I read this. Their mission statement says it all:

The Patriot Guard Riders is a diverse amalgamation of riders from across the nation. We have one thing in common besides motorcycles. We have an unwavering respect for those who risk their very lives for America’s freedom and security. If you share this respect, please join us.

We don’t care what you ride, what your political views are, or whether you’re a "hawk" or a "dove". It is not a requirement that you be a veteran. It doesn't matter where you’re from or what your income is. You don’t even have to ride. The only prerequisite is Respect.

Our main mission is to attend the funeral services of fallen American heroes as invited guests of the family. Each mission we undertake has two basic objectives.

1. Show our sincere respect for our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities.

2. Shield the mourning family and friends from interruptions created by any protestor or group of protestors.

We accomplish the latter through strictly legal and non-violent means.

What a fantastic group of individuals. They have opportunites for folks to donate to them at their website. A worthy cause indeed.

This is one of those situations where I really struggle with how the media should handle this event. Showing up to disrupt a funeral like this is newsworthy and people need to know about this vomitous asshole and his clan. But on the flip side, that's what these people crave: media attention. They want to be seen and heard. I hate to see them get what they want out of their nefarious action.

Update:(5:22PM) Looks like the Phelps Freakshow will attempt to disrupt a second funeral for a soldier in Clackamas, too.

If hell exists, there's a special place set aside for assholes like Fred Phelps.