April 27th, 2006 05:24 EST
A Letter to Governor Schwarenegger
Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,
Thank you for your message honoring Petty Officer 3rd Class Marcques J. Nettles who died in Iraq. You ordered that the California Capitol flags be flown at half staff in honor of his service to our country. We have posted your message on our Patriot Guard Riders web site so that many will be aware of your message.
Patriot Guard Riders will be attending the services of Petty Officer 3rd Class Nettles as invited guests of his family. We will peacefully shield his grieving wife and friends from the vile attacks on the character and honor of Petty Officer 3rd Class Nettles from the protesters of Westboro Baptist Church and any other who would disgrace this solemn moment as he is laid to rest. We will shield them with a wall of flags.
We ask for your help in passing a law to keep this kind of disturbance from happening at a funeral. We ask that you also honor all our service men and women by endorsing and influencing a law to protect the grieving from this outrageous behavior. We know you are a caring person and defender of our country. Please stand with us... "because, it's the right thing to do".
Donald and Linda Snyder
Patriot Guard Riders State Captain and Road Captain
Blue Star Moms' anti-protester Assembly bill shot down
By Scott Marshall
CONTRA COSTA TIMES
A state legislative committee has voted down a bill to bar protesters from targeting fallen service members at their funerals.
Nevertheless, the East Bay chapter of the Blue Star Moms plans to keep trying to get some similar law enacted.
After hearing testimony Tuesday, the state Assembly's Public Safety Committee voted down the bill 4-3.
The measure, state AB 2707, would have prohibited pickets from specifically targeting people who are being buried or memorialized. It called for keeping protesters 300 feet away from any funeral or memorial service during the ceremony and for an hour before and after. It also would apply to protesters with any message, not just an anti-war one.
Although the measure is aimed at any group that would demonstrate to criticize -- or glorify, for that matter -- a fallen soldier, it was spurred by the Topeka, Kan.-based church infamous for its profane protests against gay people and events.
Members of the Westboro Baptist Church, led by the Rev. Fred Phelps, celebrate soldiers' deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, contending their deaths are punishment of the United States by God, for tolerating various sinful behaviors.
The bill would not violate the First Amendment right of free speech, supporters say.
"It only targets those who are targeting" the deceased at funerals, said Peggy Conklin, a co-founder of the chapter, who has three sons on active duty in the U.S. Army. "It's a sad day in California," said Nancy Totman, the chapter's military and legislative advocate, who said the group will continue to press the issue.