Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Drown 'em out, don't throw 'em in jail

While Austria is jailing David Irving for his unconscionable views a group of bikers known as the Patriot Guard is trying a different approach with anti-gay activist, and complete lunatic, Fred Phelps.

The Patriot Guard, a group of bikers more than 5,000 strong, travels in groups around the country to cheer respectfully at the funerals of American soldiers killed in Iraq. Why on Earth, you might reasonably wonder, are they cheering, respectfully or otherwise, at a funeral? To drown out the jeers and the taunts of Phelps and his followers:
Phelps believes American deaths in Iraq are divine punishment for a country that he says harbors homosexuals. His protestors carry signs thanking God for so-called IEDs - explosives that are a major killer of soldiers in Iraq.

Wow. Without question it is men like Fred Phelps that make us wish, for just a moment, that we could, like Austria, toss certain people directly into jail, no trial, no passing go, no nothing. But unless you're an enemy combatant that's not how this country works and, so, we should acknowledge the efforts of the members of the Patriot Guard to drown out Phelps and co. while state legislatures in Kentucky and elsewhere seek to find a democratic solution to the problem.

The whole situation initially struck me as confusing and bizarre. And in some respects it is. But it's a lot more rational and appropriate than just throwing someone in jail and having done with it.


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