Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Democrats in the Arizona Legislature will introduce a bill Tuesday to create a "funeral protection zone" to keep protesters from disrupting the funerals of those killed in the mass shooting near Tucson. Arizona shooting: Democrats' bill would protect funerals:
The Rev. Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas responded to the shooting by posting a video on the YouTube website, saying, "Thank God for the violent shooter."
He vowed to have his band of followers picket at the funerals.
State Sen. Paula Aboud, D-Tucson, said Democrats are asking to waive legislative rules so the bill can be debated and passed in one day, in time for funerals that will begin this week.
The bill is patterned after an Ohio law that establishes a 300-foot protection zone around a funeral location from one hour before the event until one hour after it.
"They want to protest at the gravesite of a 9-year-old girl, and we want to stop him," Aboud said.
In addition, the Republican and Democratic parties in Pima County are urging people to help form a human barricade along the funeral routes to protect the victims' families from Phelps and his small band of vocal protesters.
Finally, something we can all agree upon. Please volunteer, do what you can.
REMINDER: A Facebook group has been formed to organize a human barricade to protect the families' funerals from disruption by this vile evil creature and his minions. Check it out, please do what you can. http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=189355621076497&ref=mf
UPDATE: Links to the funeral protection zone bills:
UPDATE: Even FAUX News reports Arizonans Rally to Prevent Westboro Church Disruption of Shooting Victims' Funerals - FoxNews.com:
Arizona residents are locking arms to stop the Westboro Baptist Church from disrupting the funerals for victims of Saturday's shooting in Tucson, with bikers and others organizing a massive counter-protest and state lawmakers fast-tracking a bill to hamstring the group.
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[W]hen the church announced it would picket the funeral Thursday for the 9-year-old girl fatally shot over the weekend at a Tucson grocery store by a gunman who allegedly killed five others and injured 14 others attending a town-hall session by Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Tucson-and Phoenix-area residents started organizing immediately.
They may not be able to stop them, but they plan on giving the grieving family as much of a buffer as possible between the protesters and the service.
* * *
Arizona state lawmakers are also scrambling -- to pass a bill that would order protesters to stay 300 feet away from the funeral. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the lead sponsor on the bill, said in an e-mail to colleagues that the plan is to suspend the rules Tuesday and fast-track the bill to protect the victims' families from the "hateful protest" from the Westboro Baptist Church.
She said she has the support of the Senate president and Gov. Jan Brewer, and the bill will go into effect "immediately" once it's signed.
"It's gonna happen," Sinema said. The senator said she was "real upset" after learning that the Westboro church planned on protesting but had a visceral reaction after reading their press release and sprung into action.
* * *
Sinema said she hopes the protesters and counter-protesters avoid any violence at the service. Meanwhile, several grassroots groups have popped up on Facebook calling on Tucson residents to intervene.
"We will create a wall of humanity to allow the families who've lost their love ones to hold their funerals in peace, held with dignity, and surrounded in love," one of the Facebook groups says in a statement.
Another calls for a "peaceful protest" of the church at the funeral Thursday for 9-year-old Christina Green.
What I find troubling is what this FAUX News report focused on that I left out above: Glen Littell is bringing a pack of bikers from the Phoenix Motorcycle Rider Group to Tucson on Thursday.
Littell said his riders are not looking for any violent confrontations. But he told FoxNews.com that Arizona bikers are going to do "whatever we have to do" to cordon off the family from the protests. A group called the Patriot Guard Riders often does this when the Westboro church pickets military funerals, but Littell said that group is not traveling to Tucson, so "we're stepping in."
"Our sole purpose will be to allow that family some dignity and respect … without having to worry about the a--holes," he said.
* * *
Littell has notified the Pima County Sheriff's Department and has reached out to several other biker groups notifying them of their planned presence at Green's funeral. He crossed his fingers that the Hells Angels would join them.
"Nothing says stand back and be silent like a Hells Angels presence," he said.
Littell added that if the church moves on to picket other funerals, his riders will follow.
"We're getting word there's gonna be a pretty large presence of bikers," he said. "Word's spreading. And spreading quickly."
Mr. Littell, I am sure you mean well and I assure you that I share your sentiments toward Rev. Phelps. But this strikes me as a recipe for the kind of confrontation that cable news networks like FAUX News like to exploit for ratings. It needs to be a non-violent peaceful protest. After all, Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday is about to be celebrated on Monday.
Gabby is a friend of mine, Mr. Littell. I know that she would ask you to please respect Dr. King's method of non-violent protest. If your bikers can make this commitment, you are welcome to join us.