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You done good Seattle.
It was Portland, not Seattle, but nevertheless I'm sure they appreciate the sentiment.
2. When are these "counter protesters" going to learn that all the WBC craves is heat? The best thing you can do is to ignore them. Even articles like this feed their goal of gaining attention for their fringe views.
Westboro's MO is to make sure their media stunts are so intrusive that they can't be ignored.
But also, you're right, it's pretty damned dickish to celebrate or contribute to shutting down the speech and peaceful free assembly of people who happen to hold beliefs you really, really don't like.
These sorts of event are useful, I guess, for learning which ideals are most important to anyone burping up opinions about the thing. Not sure that really gets us anywhere, though.
Nobody stopped them, they could have continued demonstrating their hate-spewing until the cows came home. I suspect they decided to turn tail and run because they realized the other protesters had succeeded in refocusing media attention away from themselves. In effect, the counter protest did precisely what you suggest in your second point is the root of WBC's motivation: take away their heat and they're nothing.
It is not a violation of anyone's 1st Amendment rights unless it inconveniences someone trying to shop.
We want to hear more from these people? You don't want their beautiful free speech shouted down?
And I know that this is reaching holocaust level crimes against humanity to some commenters, but this applies even if your holiday shopping trip was mildly inconvenienced.
No matter how offensive the message.
Should they be shouted down? Hell yes. But if you think threatening someone's life for saying something you don't agree with is OK, then I don't know what to say.
Yes, they want attention, but they're not going to get it when there is epic counter-protests like these. Sure, the media will cite a WBC protest as the reason for it, but the majority of the publicity goes to the counter-protest and their message of tolerance not hate.