linked this article. Please read it, since the rest of this post won't make any sense if you don't. Read it? Good.
First, a disclaimer: I hate the Westboro Baptist Church.
that said, here we go.
First, I found the abuses of police power to be appalling. Rounding up what few protesters did make it to be questioned about a crime they may have committed, and holding them just long enough for the funeral to commence. Or the fact that their wreckers were 'behind' and couldn't tow the illegally parked trucks until after the funeral was over, and by then the owners had moved them.
Secondly, the town engaged in bullying behavior. They beat the crap out of one of the protesters, then sat around being 'unable to remember' what happened when the police showed up. They intimidated the guy, then the police questioned him in front of the culprits. Of course he wasn't going to point out who did it. Then they think it's OK to abuse the law and illegally park their trucks in the way, and use the police to round up any protesters that did show up. It wasn't bravery they showed or respect they deserve. They were malicious bullies who should be shown contempt for their actions.
The Westboro Baptist Church is a hateful group of people, and I dislike them very much, but they have every right to protest on public property. This kind of bullshit effectively stripped them of their 1st amendment rights, and yet the people of Brandon, Mississippi are being hailed as heroes. Why? What they did was reprehensible. There is appropriate and inappropriate ways to deal with these kinds of things, and they were more than inappropriate. If you want to handle the situation well, counter protest. Protest the Westboro Baptist Church by their churches, places of business, schools, etc. It's entirely legal and appropriate to protest anything you want on public land. Go out and do that! It's more effective and better than being a bunch of dumb hick bullies who abuse the system to get their way.
"I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it."-Ewelyn Beatrice Hall