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Uncommonly Sensible

Keeping the "anal" in analytical... (While trying to remain civilized)

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Location: United States

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Get on your bad motor scooter and ride!

Wisconsin motorcyclists are organizing their own chapter of the Patriot Guard Riders, a national group of Harley-riding veterans and supporters who aim to shield families at soldiers' funerals from the protests of a fringe religious group. State members, from left, include Jan Markheim, Brendan McKeown, P.R. Meyer, Pat Hodgkins, state captain Greg MacDonald, Tim Thacker, Jeff DeVries, Joyce Jansen, Dennis Jansen, Barb Boelter and Dan Steffen.

From the Wisconsin State Journal:
Motorcyclists shield mourners from protesters
When Greg "Mac" MacDonald of Manchester heard about protests at the funerals of fallen Wisconsin soldiers, he got a sick feeling in his gut and a plan in his head.
A fringe church group, incensed over what it says are America's moral failings, was protesting at the burials of soldiers - veterans who had fought for their country just as MacDonald's grandfathers and uncles had.
"It made my stomach turn, really," said MacDonald, 41, who is not a veteran himself. "It was just unfathomable how you could be so cruel to the families."
So the Harley-riding activist organized dozens of volunteers to start the Wisconsin chapter of the Patriot Guard Riders, a national group of motorcycle- riding veterans who've made it their mission to shield grieving families from protesters.
The national group organizes dozens of bikers, many of them veterans of Vietnam, the first Gulf War and other conflicts, to stand between protesters and the mourners, MacDonald said. Group members wave flags and occasionally rev their engines if mourners want them to drown out the shouts of the protesters.
Since starting up toward the end of November, MacDonald said he figures his Wisconsin group has assembled close to 100 members. There's been no Wisconsin soldier killed since early December, so there have been no requests for the Patriot Guard here, MacDonald said. But he's already organized a guard presence at a service for a soldier in a suburb of Chicago. The group might attend its first service in Wisconsin in the next month, at a memorial for an out-of-state soldier whose mother is in Wisconsin, he said.

Read the whole article here.

It really doesn't matter what political ideology you embrace; making people feel worse when they are grieving the loss of a loved one, and trying to say goodbye, is JUST PLAIN WRONG! It takes a particularly sick, twisted and unfeeling group of individuals to exploit someone's time of sorrow in an attempt to make a political statement...and especially one of hate.

AP: FORT CAMPBELL - Wearing leather chaps and vests covered in military patches, a band of motorcyclists rolls from one soldier's funeral to another in hopes their respectful cheers and revving engines will drown out the insults of protesters.
Calling themselves the Patriot Guard Riders, they consist of motorcycle club members who can no longer tolerate a Kansas-based fundamentalist church picketing military funerals with signs reading, "Thank God for IEDs." The bikers shield the families from the protesters, and overshadow the jeers with their own patriotic chants and a sea of red, white and blue flags.
"The most important thing we can do is let families know that the nation cares," said Don Woodrick, the group's Kentucky captain. "When a total stranger gets on a motorcycle in the middle of winter and drives 300 miles to hold a flag, that makes a powerful statement."
Across the nation, Patriot Guard Riders number more than 5,000 and at least 14 states are considering laws aimed specifically at the funeral protest group led by the Rev. Fred Phelps, who believes American deaths in Iraq are divine punishment for a country that harbors homosexuals.

Read the whole article here.

As a Harley riding veteran, this is definitely an organization I support:

Patriot Guard Riders Mission Statement

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.

I'm going to sign up with them now...


Blogger boberin said...

What a fine idea! Protesters at a funeral should be shot on site. There's lots of venues far more appropriate, a funeral doesn't even make the list!

February 22, 2006 8:10 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

If you read the Patriot Guard Riders' mission statement, it says they use "strictly legal and non-violent means." Sort of running interference, blocking access, that sort of thing.

Freedom of expression doesn't include the right to inflict pain, in this case of the emotional variety.

February 22, 2006 8:17 AM  
Blogger boberin said...

I understood, mine was more of a personal stance rather than the "official" one.

February 22, 2006 8:30 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

I am generally opposed to violence, on principle...but have been known to make the occasional exception.
(I know; I'm a bad person)

Anyway, I've already registered with the main organization, but my email to the "State Captain" bounced.

So, I just emailed the National Directors...

February 22, 2006 9:20 AM  
Blogger Bob_inSpain said...

the protestors are "religious"? do they claim to be Christian? WWJD? Jesus would probably not be a funeral crasher... although we know he was a temple market crasher on one occasion.

the funeral of a fallen soldier is NOT the place for protests. reminds me of mean things people did to returning soldiers in the Vietnam era (so i have heard).

i support the right of cindy sheehan to *peacefully* camp out near the president's house(s) and put up signs, having some "friends" join her, even talking w/ news people, if it is such a slow news day that they want to talk w/ her... i think she is misguided in her opinion, but that isn't a crime... THIS sort of protest at funerals is just wrong and mean.

it is a shame that we NEED private citizens to run interference like this... sorta shows local police being out of touch w/ community needs, doesn't it? i thought that shoo-ing people along when they are poking around places they should not was one of the few things police were really good at....

February 22, 2006 9:24 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

People have been trying to use religion as justification for crimes against their fellow humans for millennia...but at least several States are considering enacting laws to make this sort of repugnant behavior illegal.

I wouldn't be opposed to making it a Federal offense, in fact, with serious jail time mandated...

February 22, 2006 9:38 AM  
Blogger Ms. RightWing, Ink said...

Reverand Felts and his family have been creating a clamor for numerous years. To bad it has taken the funerals of soldiers to bring him to the forefront.

His kids are all lawyers so it is almost impossible to sue them. They are no more a church than Jesse Jackson is a reverand

February 22, 2006 9:47 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

I say "lock and load"

February 22, 2006 10:10 AM  
Blogger JR said...

The party that feels your pain is pretty heartless… Protesting the war at funerals is a fundamental tenant of the Democrat Party, just ask Howard Dean… Our community has had several funerals, where attendance was in the hundreds… The high schools allowed students to attend their funerals to cope with the grief… That’s just what we need is bunch bikers getting in the way of outside protesters who want to commit suicide…

February 22, 2006 10:32 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

BTW Camojack...Edmund Burke is the one who said"when good men do nothing".You probably already know by now.

February 22, 2006 10:59 AM  
Blogger Grant Jones said...

Wow, Montrose. That's a blast from the past. Keep riding.

February 22, 2006 2:40 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Ms. RightWing, Ink:
Yes...the "good" Reverend Felts is a real scumbag. I'm sure God appreciates what he's doing. NOT!!!

Did Edmund Burke say "lock and load", too?

Probably, huh? :-)

Those people need to be stopped.

Grant Jones:
Yup, Montrose...

February 22, 2006 5:53 PM  
Blogger Barb said...

I'm curious about where Phelps and his "church members" are getting the money to travel all over the United States to protest. They are quite well dressed and the signs look pretty professional ,too. You wouldn't think a littlle church in someone's basement in Kansas would produce enough in donations to cover such big expenses. I would like to see someone ,maybe some of the Military families ,get an investagation going about just who these jerks are and who is backing them.
The Governor of Wi was supposed to sign a law against such demonstrations ,this week.

February 22, 2006 6:44 PM  
Blogger Beerme said...

Kinda reminds me of the Code Pink demonstrations at the Veteran's Hospital. Lot's of class, but mostly low- and no-...

February 22, 2006 7:04 PM  
Blogger MargeinMI said...

Last time I checked in at Protest Warriors they had taken the corner outside Walter Reed Hospital. Another great organization.

February 22, 2006 9:20 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

They've probably got some dissident group with deep pockets backing them.

I'd say no class; even low class should be enough to have more decency than those protesting at funerals.

The Protest Warriors, yes...another group I can appreciate. I haven't joined that one, though...

February 22, 2006 9:35 PM  
Blogger 'da Bunny said...

"Funeral protesters!" Yet another group of sub-human scum with excrement for brains. If they want to protest homosexuality, why not protest gay bars, bath houses or even the entire city of San Francisco, and leave the families of our fallen soldiers alone? This "protesting" stinks to high heaven, and it's great to see these "riders" devoting themselves to such a worthy endeavor! God Bless 'em all!

February 22, 2006 9:43 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

'da Bunny:
"Funeral protesters...sub-human scum with excrement for brains"?

Sums 'em up quite well, indeed...

February 22, 2006 10:26 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

I'd say da Bunny summed it up quite well. lol

February 23, 2006 8:22 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

Yeah, me too... :-)

February 23, 2006 8:57 AM  
Blogger 'da Bunny said...

camojack and Maggie,

Both of you KNOW how much "trouble" I have in expressing myself and saying what I really think! [nudge, nudge...wink, wink]

February 24, 2006 9:49 AM  
Blogger JR said...

  "WBC to picket memorial of Army First Lt. Garrison Avery - at 11 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 25, at First Evangelical Free leper colony, 3300 S. 84th St., Lincoln, Nebraska. Killed by IED - like the IED America bombed WBC with in a terroristic move to stop our anti-gay Gospel preaching by violent intimidation."
I think the violent intimidation may be referring to The Patriot Guard Riders...
  They believe that God uses IED's to kill homosexuals... I like the one about forty virgins better... 
  Plenty of time to find a grassy noel...
This is their current list of protest sites...(right click in New Window)

February 24, 2006 9:55 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

'da Bunny:
Ummm...right. :-)

Those folks are the ones I joined the Patriot Guard Riders to run interference against.

They're a twisted lot, and have no understanding of the belief system they erroneously claim to represent...

February 24, 2006 10:41 AM  

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