Wednesday, April 16, 2014

UMass 3,000 Hate Church 5

UMass was indeed united today

Gotta have cute kids

UMass students, high school students and bevy of locals turned out by the thousands to offset the five (5) members of the Westboro Baptist Church who actually did show up this afternoon to spread their hateful anti-gay message.  Not that anyone was listening.

 Huge crowd at Fine Arts Center 11:30 a.m.

UMPD was out in force and did a good job of keeping the groups separate.  The UMass United crowd first formed at Fine Arts Center at 11:30 a.m. and marched to the Student Union, while the WBC arrived at 12:15 p.m. at the intersection of University Drive and Massachusetts Avenue near the Southwest Towers.
The WBC 5

How many signs can one hater hold?

A good crowd formed on the opposite side of the road numbering in the hundreds with plenty of media present, but UMPD kept them from crossing the road.  And a little before 1:00 p.m. the five church members packed in their signs and called it a day. 

 Adjacent crowd with plenty of media

Adjacent crowd shot from the rear

UMPD and Office of News & Media Relations keeps watchful eye

At least two signs per person 

Live tweeting their own protest

Calling it a day at 12:55 p.m.

Guess I got their attention


Dr. Ed said...


UMass runs roughshod over students on a daily basis, but when some truly obnoxious non-students show up, UMass (and the UMPD) make sure that their rights are protected. This wouldn't have anything to do with the WBC's history of filing lawsuits, would it?

Anonymous said...

How much did UMass campus gay organizations pay the Westboro folks to show up?

Dr. Ed said...

How much did UMass campus gay organizations pay the Westboro folks to show up?.

No, the Westboro Baptist Church is more of a law firm than anything else, they make their money by being obnoxious and then suing folk who don't quite follow the fine print of Constitutional law.

UMass Amherst has a well-deserved reputation for using the Constitution for toilet paper -- running roughshod over free speech rights. Likewise, the UMPD has a well-deserved reputation for failing to protect persons expressing unpopular viewpoints.

The UMPD is quite clear on this -- I was on the receiving end of it and my response was to quote Shakespeare's line about cowards and brave men.

The situation actually wound up being far worse -- one afternoon I was looking at a medical emergency (hornet sting to tongue with obstruction to airway) and a bunch of bystanders (including a UM administrator) being clueless the way bystanders often tend to be in an emergency. Every bit of training & experience I had screamed "roll an ambulance" which at UMass involves an initial response from the UMPD. And the UMPD Deputy Chief had explicitly told me that the UMPD would arrest me the next time they had contact with me -- and as I don't make idle threats, I presumed he didn't either.

The victim could still talk -- not well but if you can get air out that means you are getting air in -- so I sent him and a coworker across campus (in a vehicle) to UHS where I presumed/hoped that two middle-aged guys in hardhats would quickly attract attention and when they realized what was going on, they'd immediately roll an ambulance, which is what happened.

Victim was transported to CDH and held overnight -- CDH considered it that serous -- I knew what I was looking at and this was the toughest call I've ever had to make. Welcome to UMass....

Folks know that UMass is an intolerant place - what happened to Don Fedder is nationally known -- and my guess is that the WBC hoped they'd be shouted down, their signs trashed and such, and that the UMPD would do nothing. And then the WBC would sue...