Patriot Guard Ridership Up!

Discussion in 'General OFF TOPIC' started by Rubyred, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. Rubyred

    Rubyred Senior Member

    Someting good has come out of the Suporeme Court ruling about Westboro "Church." This Article was in the local "Day" newspaper.:)

    Defenders of military families at funerals see membership spike
    Eight thousand people have joined the Patriot Guard Riders nationwide in the week since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a fringe church that stages anti-gay protests at military funerals.

    When the Westboro Baptist Church makes news nationally, the Patriot Guard Riders see a spike in their membership. This time, however, it's more dramatic, given the attention and interest in the March 2 Supreme Court ruling, which held that the First Amendment protects the church's demonstrations at funerals for U.S. soldiers killed in action.

    The Patriot Guard Riders shield the mourning family and friends.

    "I don't want anybody's speech violated, but I also don't want our military denigrated," said Douglas Van Houten of Middletown. "I'm a big enough guy that I can stand between two people, block a view and do whatever is asked of me to show respect for the military. Where would we be without them?"

    A retired Air Force master sergeant, Van Houten had thought about joining the Patriot Guard Riders for years. The Supreme Court decision spurred him to sign up Saturday.

    Twenty-one of the new Patriot Guard Riders joined from Connecticut. Nationally, membership now stands at about 221,000, including 1,200 in the state. Typically a few hundred people join per week.

    "People reacted with anger and disgust, and they want to do something about it. Our organization is uniquely suited to do just that," said Bob Stone, the Connecticut state captain, explaining that the Patriot Guard Riders do not interact with protesters. "We simply shield the service with our bodies and our flags. If they get really noisy, we park the motorcycles there and rev our engines. I don't like doing that. We're not there to put on a show, but whatever it takes."

    'Beautiful' reaction

    A spokeswoman for Westboro Baptist Church, of Topeka, Kan., called the membership increase "beautiful" since it means there will be more people at the funerals to hear the church's "message."

    "Yay! How good is that?" Shirley Phelps-Roper said Tuesday. "It is so much easier to tell people the message if they get off their dead butts and get out there to the streets."

    The Patriot Guard Riders formed in 2005 in opposition to the Westboro Baptist Church. Their mission is two-fold - to show respect for the fallen members of any military branch, their families and communities, as well as to protect the mourning family from any protesters, not to counter-protest.

    Thursday, the Patriot Guard Riders will go to the funeral for Army Spec. David R. Fahey Jr., 23, of Norwalk, who was killed Feb. 28 in Afghanistan when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device. He was promoted posthumously to his current rank of specialist.

    The Fahey family asked the Patriot Guard Riders to attend. A contingent from Connecticut will meet in Danbury Thursday morning, then meet their counterparts for the funeral services in Yorktown Heights, N.Y.

    Fahey was born in Norwalk and raised in Yorktown Heights. Thomas Fahey said in a statement that his nephew was "a man of uncompromising integrity who served both God and country."

    James "Sneakysnake" Davis, a vice president on the Patriot Guard Board of Directors, said Tuesday, "We have soldiers fighting for our rights today. One is freedom of speech. The very thing they're fighting for, Westboro is using against them when they give their life for this country."

    Phelps-Roper said she was unsure if the Thursday service was on the church's "schedule of pickets." Westboro Baptist Church, founded by Fred Phelps, proclaims that military deaths are God's retribution for America's tolerance of homosexuality.

    The Supreme Court case stemmed from the church's protest at the Maryland funeral of a Marine who died in Iraq, Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder. His father, Albert Snyder, sued. The church plans to step up its activities in the wake of the court decision, Phelps-Roper said.

    Its members protested in East Lyme in 2006 at the services for Army Capt. Jason Hamill. The Waterford High School Drama Club, the Patriot Guard Riders and members of several motorcycle groups acted as a buffer.

    "Westboro isn't going to change what they're doing, and we're not going to change what we're doing," Davis said. "For us, it's all about honoring that fallen hero for their sacrifice on behalf of all of us, and respecting the family for what they're going through. That's the bottom line."
  2. R_W_B

    R_W_B Senior Member

    Yep I'm one of those new sign ups. I'm sure the normal Baptist's are so embarrassed by those wacked out members of that one church. But it's the land of the free (even for Wackos). I am not sure exactly what their detailed agenda is, whether they are against all wars or just the current wars or just against killing for any reason.....

    But to me a funeral is just not the place to demonstrate. Anyhow yes I am in the PGR now and plan to make every mission I can.
  3. Mad Dog Jim

    Mad Dog Jim Banned

    I'd be curious to hear more about PGR. Do they only get together for missions? Or is there more to it than that? How they organize? How often they meet up, ride for fun, socialize etc...
  4. R_W_B

    R_W_B Senior Member

    I've only been in for one week, but from what I have learned,

    They do not have Non Mission meetings, only pre mission meetings.

    They do meet at a staging area prior to mission rides to site.

    They have a disciplined and structured set of rules that are listed on the Website and key items are covered at staging meetings.

    When you sign up, you are put on an email database that notifies you of any upcoming missions within a reasonable radius of your location, as soon as they get the request from the family.

    You also receive email from your nearest local officer member introducing you to some aspects and answering any questions you have.

    Just go to this link, Home
  5. azdigger

    azdigger Member

    Anyone that wants info on the PGR might look here
  6. little_earl

    little_earl Active Member

    Get on thier website. It will explain everthing. I get emails from them all the time and stand for the fallen when I can make it.
  7. ultra...good

    ultra...good Banned

    Just joined the Patriot Guard minutes ago.
    The thought of people protesting outside of a funeral is just........................I cannot finish that without sinking to their level.
    Then to also claim to be doing this on behalf of a church..................
  8. Dr.Evil

    Dr.Evil Junior Member

    I have not seen any social gatherings or rides outside of missions other than regional and state gatherings that occur a couple times a year. Missions also include soldiers returning from the field, single soldier and entire battalion send offs. Funerals can have up to three seperate missions including the escort from the airport to the funeral home, as well as the visitation.

    T here is a social aspect when some close friends gather before missions who do not have a chance to socialize on regular occasions. However, when the missions start it is all business, and it is very well organized as you would expect.
  9. sharpscuba

    sharpscuba Banned

    Those people are like the terrorists..they have not found the true kingdom of our Father. This is an honor not for the fact that there is killing but for the freedom of slavery from those that wish to rule all mankind.These soldiers gave their lives for the right for us all to be free . It is an honor to stand at their side as they enter the Kingdom of Heaven! They have fallen so that we may stand and be heard. Respect and Honor, anything less is treason in my book.

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  10. Cyclops

    Cyclops Active Member

    Well stated sharpscuba!