The Westboro Baptist Church announced plans to picket the funerals of the children and adults killed in Friday’s school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, and almost as quickly counter-protesters have begun making plans to protect the grieving families.
Soon after members of the “church” tweeted about their intentions to picket funerals of those killed in Sandy Hook Elementary School, the internet began buzzing with those wanting to help stop the protest. On the link-sharing site Reddit, a post asking for ways to help quickly became one of the most popular submissions of the day.
Within the post, several commenters began organizing counter-protests and devised ways to block out the Westboro Baptist Church picket. One poster mentioned that if Vice President Joe Biden were to deliver a eulogy, protesters would be forced to stay away or violate federal law — though it’s not clear what truth there is to this strategy.
Others have noted that the church members often bluff about their intentions to picket. In the past members have threatened to picket the funerals of celebrities and other notable people, but never showed up.
The current threat to picket after the Connecticut school shooting came from several Westboro Baptist Church members.
“Westboro will picket Sandy Hook Elementary School to sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment,” Shirley Phelps-Roper, a member of the church, tweeted.
The Westboro Baptist Church’s announcement that it would protest the Connecticut school shooting funerals echoes statements members made this summer after the Aurora, Colorado, shooting at The Dark Knight Rises premiere. In that case, church members tweeted their intentions to picket at a memorial service for victims, leading counter-protesters to prepare themselves. The church members never showed up, however.