When I got to work last night, a co-worker said they had heard that Fred Phelps and his hateful, misguided clan were “Completely blocked in” by semi-trucks at Joplin while attempting to spread their hate speech (they call it freedom and religion). Their website proudly stated “Thank God For 125 dead in Joplin”.
So, being absolutely delighted by this mental image of the Phelps trapped by an angry mob, I decided to see if I could find out how true this is. I did find out that something similar happened, but I haven’t gotten any local news reports on this. Here’s what I found so far. From the L.A. Times :
[….] Thousands of motorcyclists also streamed into town from Missouri and surrounding states, many announcing their intention to block protests planned by the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, which said it would picket Obama’s arrival.
The controversial church opened a raw wound here with its announcement that those killed when a 200 mph tornado struck Joplin a week ago, now estimated at 139, “died for the sins of Missourians who have repeatedly lifted up their violent hands against God’s anointed, despite plain warnings not to do so.”
“We love Joplin. Joplin’s hurting. Nobody needs to make it worse. They need to go home,” said Mike Striegel, a biker from Joplin.
“We will take care of our town, no matter what it takes,” added Herb Kirkpatrick Jr., a motorcyclist from the outskirts of Joplin.
Most of those lining miles of roadway between Joplin’s main mall and the campus of Missouri Southern State University, where Obama was scheduled to speak after touring the 6-mile-long storm-ravaged area, were couples, families and groups of young people, many waving flags and posters of support for the city.
“We’re trying to show respect and honor for the ones we lost in Joplin,” said Charlie Brown, a co-organizer of the street rally, who said more than 20,000 people indicated on the group’s three Facebook pages that they planned to attend.[….]
And apparently there was a little more than just lining the streets with flags that happened! Some reports are coming in that they (Westboro) was confronted and blocked by vehicles at “The Flying J” Truck Stop. From a Facebook page:
“Just want to say that They did show up in joplin today, Fred mouthed off to a couple bikers, got his ass kicked, then was blocked in at the Flying J”
There are LOTS of rumors and some conflicting reports out there everywhere. This one is an anonymous comment from an apparent witness/participant in this.
(sic)”The Police walked one individual (Male) right in front of all us Bikers to there West B. Protesting area. That was a Big Mistake.. The chase in sued,the police couldnt run that guy out of there fast enough. We made to the other side of the parking lot ware we were met with force. Pepper spray go figure. It was brief then order was regained. Who ever arranged for there protest area tobe set up right next to 1000 plus bikers with a yellow caution tape being the divider really didnt think it through.Lol… ( May Faith and Kindness Speed your Recovery Joplin ).. WE Have Your Back.. ……….Bikers………….”
Just when I was about to give up on rumors and anonymous comments, I found one tiny piece from a more official news agency, an ABC affiliate that seems to perfectly corroborate the anonymous comment above:
“Members of the Westboro Baptist Church scheduled a protest in Joplin, Mo., Sunday. One protestor arrived around 12:15 p.m. and was accosted by counter protestors. Police escorted the Westboro member to safety and used tear gas to control the crowd”
Another report from the same ABC affiliate:
“It all started in a parking lot across from Missouri Southern State University, where today’s memorial took place.
According to witnesses, a crowd of people swarmed a man after he showed what they called a hateful sign.
Police ran into the crowd threatening to use tear gas if it got out of control.
Police then detained the man and escorted him away from the scene.
“Everybody just swarmed him, yeah, they were swarming him, throwing water bottles at him and just basically getting him out of here,” said Kelly Gresham, a witness at the scene. “They were trying to keep a little control here, the officers were, but it was just not going to happen with him.”
Our KSPR News crew did see a man detained by police with a folded up sign in his lap, but did not see what was actually on the sign.
Witnesses insist it was a sign similar to ones used by members of the Westboro Baptist Church.
According to the church’s website, a protest was planned for today.
Officials with the Missouri Department of Public Safety only heard of this one incident and are unsure if the individual involved was in fact part of the church.”
One more for good measure:
(Joplin, MO) — Police in Joplin fired off pepper spray to break up a minor clash between a small group of protesters and another group of people seeking to shield tornado victims from the protest.
Members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas traveled to Joplin to protest ahead of a community memorial service. The group claims the tornado, which devastated parts of Joplin a week ago, was God’s wrath for America tolerating homosexuality.
Members of the Patriot Guard were in the same area as the Westboro group and witnesses tell KOLR10 there was a minor confrontation between one member of each group with shouting and some shoving. Police sprayed pepper spray to separate the groups.
ANYBODY reading that witnessed any of these incidents? If so, please comment!
23 responses to “Bikers, Truckers and Patriots Block Westboro at Joplin”
God bless those bikers! If Westboro were true Christians they would be offering thoughts and prayers not hate. May God have mercy on THEIR souls!
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I was the creator of the Peace Rally and you only have 1 accurate report on here! We can’t confirm the trucker thing either. This was the accurate account!
”The Police walked one individual (Male) right in front of all us Bikers to there West B. Protesting area. That was a Big Mistake.. The chase in sued,the police couldnt run that guy out of there fast enough. We made to the other side of the parking lot ware we were met with force. Pepper spray go figure. It was brief then order was regained. Who ever arranged for there protest area tobe set up right next to 1000 plus bikers with a yellow caution tape being the divider really didnt think it through.Lol… ( May Faith and Kindness Speed your Recovery Joplin ).. WE Have Your Back..
Thank you so much for finding this and commenting! I appreciate your first-hand account.
As you know, there were lots of rumors, and I didn’t even attempt to report or link to most of them because most were not eyewitness report.
Consider the record set straight, at least here.
So these bikers aren’t allowing this church to protest because of there views? whatever happened to america? Its called Freedom of Speech if you like it or not.
These people have a right to protest, if you dont allow them to protest, this no longer america, but rather a nation of a war mongering loving elites.
You are, as the SCOTUS has reaffirmed, legally correct. And we are a nation of laws. At the same time, Mr. Phelps has a morally untenable and disgusting doctrine. So… being a FREE COUNTRY, anyone has the option to break the law and suffer the consequences! MANY people do this daily, taking part in all sorts of highly charged activism and protests. Some people even end up getting an old fashion punch in the pie hole. I can’t imagine any reason why the Phelps clan is any different than any hate group that has been assaulted, can you?
What these people from the hate church need is a good ass kickin. Maybe if they have the crap beat out of them once, twice or even every time they show up for a protest, they will stay in their hateful church. I would like to see someone pay them a visit one day and show what the wrath of god really is…or just the wrath of Americans who cannot stand their sorry asses.
My feelings about these Westboro people resemble yours, but I am not a violent guy, and don’t condone violence.
I do understand why someone would hurt one of them.
REDNECK WISDOM: If you keep goin’ to the barber shop, sooner or later you’re gonna get your hair cut.
Sometimes I wish we could just get rid of these people with scorn and laughter. Refuse to take them seriously and just laugh at how pathetic they are.
But they’re so vile it just wouldn’t do the job. And they’ve hurt so many people.
Good to see you back Kansas and CONGRATS on the stats!
BRUNO..are you for real right now? YES there’s freedom of speech in America..but there is also a TIME AND A PLACE! And now is NOT the time and JOPLIN is NOT the place! We have been through plenty. We do NOT have to deal with, nor will we deal with such hatred towards us. No matter about freedom of speech or what have you…isn’t there also a law about “right to bear arms?” So if they have the freedom to run their mouths..we have the freedom to “shut them up!” Just saying!
Hi. I’m actually a David Archuleta fan who spends most of my time on his fansites. However, I also live near Joplin, and my best friend & her parents were in the tornado. This week, my time was spent not on David, but on trying to find out if my friend was OK. She & her parents were right in the path. Their homes & cars are gone, & they’re very shaken, but alright.
Joplin is in shock. They’re mourning the loss of over 135 residents. They’ve lost absolutely everything in an instant, & are emotionally & physically drained. They are tired of outsiders who create traffic just to gawk, and not to help. If you’re not there to help put the town back together, they don’t have time or space for you. According to my friend, most ppl didn’t even want the President there, as it’d just create more traffic & buzz. So I can’t imagine that they’d want 300 bikers showing up, either, even if their intentions were good.
WBC is another story. I saw the video of the bikers chasing the one protestor. He may have the right to free speech, but it’s the kind of speech that PROVOKES violence. You don’t walk into a town full of emotionally raw ppl, and tell them it’s their own fault that they lost their child, or house or car. You don’t do that if you want to live to see the next day. I’m not kidding…he was extremely lucky that most of the bikers weren’t from Joplin themselves. I feel bad for the police who had to protect him; I’m betting that some of them lost possessions or loved ones themselves. I could go on all day. All I can say is, how sickening and disturbing.
For some people, P.I. (planned ignoring) is the only solution.
I remember seeing a bumpersticker in Topeka in the early ’90’s that said Happiness is FRED IN MY THREADS .
That ladies and gentlemen sums up my support for Westboro Baptist Church .
Should have used spellcheck TREADS not THREADS.
Damn that spell checker anyway.
It lets me screw up everything I write!
These people from Westboro Baptist do not represent me! I know it is not my place to judge others, but the way they act is anything BUT Christian! Why this tragedy happened? Only God knows… But it seems there must always be that faction lurking about that seeks to rub salt in fresh wounds! You know the faction who believe themselves holier than everyone else.. I feel quite sure that the halls of hell are lined with this sort. Thanks God for those bikers!
One platitude I love to use:
AS CHRISTIANS, loving tolerance should be our code.
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They remind me of children that would rather get negative attention than be ignored. Like Tracy said, planned ignoring would devastate them. Think about it. Who could come up with something that would make liberals, military people, gays, bikers, Christians, and everybody who supports them all dislike you at the same time? No mean feat.
Phelps klan are some sick people. If there is an angry God, these folks will be ‘gnashing teeth’ for eternity.
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