Police to Protect Vandalized Home of Fallen Soldier

Associated Press
KOKOMO, Ind. — Police posted an around-the-clock security watch at the home of an Indiana soldier killed last week in Iraq after it was vandalized and his family received disturbing phone calls.

The home of Sgt. Rickey Jones was egged Saturday, three days after Jones’ family learned the 21-year-old and three other soldiers had been killed by a roadside bomb north of Baghdad. His family also received phone calls in which the caller said: “I’m glad your son is dead.�

The actions drew the attention of their congressman, Rep. Steve Buyer, a Republican who also chairs the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

“It is outrageous, appalling and indecent for an American citizen to commit crimes and perversions against a family grieving at the loss of their son,� Buyer said.

On Thursday, he spoke on the House floor asking his fellow lawmakers to stand and observe a moment of silence “to condemn these despicable acts.�

“A great virtue of the American character is our compassion. It is how we care for each other in good times and in difficult times,� he said. “It is our compassion and human decency that represents the very best of our nation.�

Jones’ relatives and police are bracing for the possibility that a Topeka, Kan.-based group will protest at his funeral Monday.

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church have protested at military funerals across the nation, including shouting insults at soldiers’ surviving relatives and holding signs that read “God Made IEDs� — a reference to roadside bombs. The group claims American soldiers are dying in Iraq due to divine intervention because the United States harbors homosexuals.

The Westboro protesters, however, could face new restrictions at Jones’ funeral if Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signs a bill this week that would make disorderly conduct at a funeral a felony and keep protesters at least 500 feet from a gravesite. That bill, which won final approval Tuesday from the Indiana House, would take effect immediately after being signed by Daniels. The governor’s press secretary, Jane Jankowski, said Daniels would sign the bill as soon as it arrives on his desk.

“We’re trying to get this family some closure, and not have to deal with these stupid signs,� state Rep. John Smith, R-Kokomo, said Tuesday.

State Sen. Brent Steele, who authored the legislation, said the bill doesn’t go as far as some states’ attempts to hold back protests by the Westboro group.

“I went as far as I thought I could and still have a constitutional bill,� said Steele, R-Bedford.

Mark Potok, a spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said it’s still an open question whether some of the new laws restricting picketing are entirely constitutional. He said his civil rights organization has listed the Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group for years. The minister who leads the group advocates making homosexuality a capital offense.

39 Comments on “Police to Protect Vandalized Home of Fallen Soldier

  1. is there any way i could see a pitcure of rickey jones i may have known him at one time and i think all this talk just makes it worse not any better

  2. CJ, ffs who are thse sick demented brainless arseholes? They need a good smack in gob! I have no time for people like this. Mark my words they’ll come a day when these thoughtless scum realise the importance of having a trained soldier ready to die to keep them from harm! What pathetic excuses of humans these people are!

    Condolances to the families of these brave young men who unselfishly died to help protect these scum!

  3. I am a 51yr. old retired law enforcement officer. I have seen the worst of the worst of mankind. Any who have worn the badge can testify to the same, and the actions of the individuals that are responsible for the crimes against this family are no different than the countless predators, murderers, drug dealing killers of our children. They are nothing more than domestic terrorists, and furthermore, in my opinion, what they are doing is nothing less than treason. After all, they are attacking American citizens. They are making a statement that America is the enemy and that our soldiers, the men and women that protect this great nation are the enemy, not the hero.

    I believe that Rev. Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church co-conspirators should be tried as terrorists.
    Is that a little drastic? Aggressive? Unrealistic? Well why don’t we ask the family and friends of Sgt. Ricky Jones? And while your at it, you might want to get the opinion of the men and women serving in our military. Ask them if Fred Phelps and his gaggle of goons shouldn’t be tried and punished for acts equal to that of treason?
    As JAG said, “these people are not Americans, but heathens!” They hide behind God and religion and they have no more business calling themselves American than the very ones that killed Sgt. Ricky Jones. They are as guilty for his murder as if they had set the bomb themselves. Hmmm? I wonder?

    As I read through the many comments posted here I realize that it is true, that we, the “Right Wing Conservatives” are the silent majority. How much longer can we be silent?
    What more will the liberals (domestic terrorists) have to do before we take back our nation. To borrow a well known quote, “our forefathers brought forth a great nation” and I’m convinced that slugs like this Rev. Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church co-conspirators have the same fate planned for this country as those that are responsible for the bombing.

    If it were possible, I would be proud to be one among the officers to stand watch over Sgt. Jones family.
    One concerned American!

  4. Y’all keep saying that you can’t believe that someone would say and do such ugly things. I believe it. I have spent the past few days reading comment sections from the leftist blogs and the comments sent to the bloggers who recently met with President Bush. There is a lot of hate out there, and the internet gives these people an easy way to spew their vile speech with no repercussions. You should read what they call us, the supports of the military. I am scared. Truly. I worry for the future of our country. I am 62 years old, and this is the first time in my life that I have felt the desire to purchase a handgun.

  5. As a soldier of the Australian special air service regiment,

    I believe that a solider is imbued with dignity and honour that cannot be taken away from them regardless of what has happened to them,

    having recently just returned from the living hell that is the war in Iraq and having fought alongside US marines and US army personnel equally I shed a tear for a fallen comrade and hope that one day instances such as this with be remembered as horrible stain opon society.

    Coming from a soliders perspective,

    We don’t want glory and we don’t want medals, all we want is a thanyou for defending the country of our birth.


  6. I want to send my thought and prayers to Rickey’s family. My ex-husband served right next to Rickey and was great friends with him. If my ex didn’t get hurt on his 1st tour to Iraq he would have been right there with Rickey. Before Rickey went to Iraq for his 1st tour I got to know him. He was a great guy and ment alot to me and my ex.
    Again my thoughts and prayers are with his family. Rest In Peace Rickey…… You will always be missed…..

  7. Terrorism comes in all forms. These so-called religious people are domestic terrorists who thrive on inflicting pain and suffering on people already ensconced in pain and suffering. In my opinion, these people are not Americans, but heathens! Sgt. Rickey Jones did not die in vain. True Americans and caring human beings are thankful for his and others for their ultimate sacrifices………………

  8. I’m a gay veteran with AIDS who got bombed out of his home on Sept. 11th (see my Weblog noted above), so no one here should have a problem with my patriotism, at least. My question to all of you is: Where were you when the Phelps people were tormenting all of us at the hundreds upon hundreds of funerals of people with AIDS during the darkest years of the epidemic in our nation? Where were you when they went to Wyoming to cheer the death of Matthew Shepard? Where were you when they came to San Francisco to praise God for the death of Randy Shilts, the pioneering HIV reporter who saved thousands of lives?

    Where the hell were you then?

    And who the hell needs you now?

    Joseph Smith

  9. The Westboro Baptist Church, and the glue-sniffers that follow the ramblings of those people, are NOT indicative of our society as a whole. These people belong in cages, where they can’t hurt themselves, or bother the rest of us.

    Rest in peace, Sgt Rickey Jones.


  10. I am so sorry to read how this “group of people” can be so low and sick, and they are the ones trying to teach god, peace and love for the world. This “group of people” will reap what they have sowed. Pain. They should be reaching out and comforting this family in such a time as this. May God have mercy on their souls.

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  13. I remember first hearing about these f*ckwads on military.com forums about a month ago. I’m truly surprised on one followed them and pulled the always juvenile but highly intimidating ‘stalker’ thing on them.

    Egging and calling peoples houses like that…I think I could handle a small trip to jail for chasing down people like that. Sh*t like this makes my blood boil.

  14. In a way these people are showing how great this country is because they can do this,� she said of the group exercising its First Amendment rights.

    Wrong! No way. It shows how weak we’ve become and how much mud we’ve allowed to be thrown in our face.
    This wacko group of misfits have gone far,far beyond the fringe of acceptable free speech and expresion.
    They don’t do this because we are a “great” country.
    The creeps do it because so far the are allowed to get away with it. They aren’t even people in our sense of the word. Merely life forms. Like insects. If I could, I’d crush em all underfoot. It’s no more then they have coming!
    formerly Palm Desert,CA.

  15. Those who wish to do something tangible at no risk and little cost can send cards and/or letters to the Jones family. Contact Lauren at MyWay716@aol.com for a mailing address. All letters/cards will be screened to eliminate the inevitable pond scum hate mail.

    As a further comment … the so-called Westboro Baptist Church should be disowned by all of us, regardless of religious belief or denomination. They represent NOTHING that I believe in … they are EVIL.

  16. God Bless Sgt. Rickey Jones and be with his family in their time of need. I pray Sgt. Jones friends family and loved ones will be protected from the hate spewing Westboro cult members. Amen.

    I’ve taken part in several protest in the past myself, but I’ve always known there are some things you just don’t do. Protesting a funeral would be one of them. The Westboro cult members have made two trips to (my home town) Saint Joseph, Missouri. The first time was last August when they came to protest the funeral of Spc. Edward Meyers, the only soldier from the Saint Joseph area to lose their life while serving in Iraq. They returned in December to protest a ban on funeral protest that our city council passed. I’ve posted several messages about them at my site. The last one “Will I Ever Let Go?” was posted on February 7, 2006. As far as I’m concerned, the Westboro cult members are nothing but a terrorist organization and should be treated as such.

    God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

  17. This is the work of provocateurs.
    It’s right in there with the “spitting myth”.

    Sure does tie up column inches though, at
    a time when the DoD will not give accurate
    information about what is happening on the
    ground in Iraq.

    As someone who has been a lifelong protester
    of our various ill-conceived incursions around
    the world, quite radical as a teen in the 60s, I
    have NEVER met an antiwar activist who wasn’t
    pro-soldier… It’s the whole point… no more dead
    soldiers. I HAVE met quite a few on the RIGHT
    side of the political equation that blamed our
    soldiers for “losing” the Vietnam war though.

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  19. This sickens me deeply to know how disrespectful some people can be. This family’s son sacrificed his life for this country and this is the respect they recieve? Those people should be truly ashamed of themselves, but I highly doubt they are capable of any human emotion.

  20. I cannot belive that someone could be so disrespectful to a family whos son was protecting their country. I’m quite distrubed to say the least.

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  22. It angers me to no end. Knowing that soilders like Sgt. Rickey Jones fought and gave their all. So that these a&^$*&& could protest and disrespect his family in this way. I ask all of those who give a damn for this country to take a moment and contact their elected officials. We need to rally against the violent, offensive, disrespectful protestors. No matter if they are christian or not. Sgt. Rickey Jones and his family deserve much more than this.

  23. http://www.cumberlink.com/articles/2006/03/03/news/news21.txt

    Area veterans scorn Kansas hate group

    By John Hilton, March 03, 2006

    Sandy Wyland offered a parting shot as a group of Topeka-based protesters headed for their car.

    “You’re not in Kansas anymore!� she yelled after the four out-of-towners. “You’re in New Kingstown, Pennsylvania! And don’t come back!� With that, it was over just as quickly as it began.

    In between the steady rain and the various Marines, Vietnam veterans and motorcycle groups, the Westboro Baptist Church never had much of a chance to spread its message of hate during a staged visit prior to Thursday’s memorial service for Marine Capt. Bryan Willard. The Enola native was killed Feb. 17 when his helicopter crashed into the Red Sea near Djibouti, Africa.

    The three women and one man sang “God Bless America,� while holding signs such as “God is your enemy.� It was enough to confuse Steve Gallagher of New Kingstown.

    “I just don’t get it,� said Gallagher as the group sang in front of his house. “They shouldn’t even be here. They should let the poor guy rest in peace.�

    The Rev. Fred Phelps, Westboro church pastor, believes American military deaths in Iraq and elsewhere are divine punishment for a country that he says harbors homosexuals. Westboro members have showed up to protest at other military funerals across the country.

    For years, Phelps and members of his independent church, made up mainly of family members, protested funerals of AIDS victims, but they have now shifted to soldiers.

    The only hint of confrontation came after the out-of-state protesters began chanting “Semper Fi! Semper Fag!�

    Marines were lined up along the church sidewalk with their backs to the protesters, who camped across Route 11.

    Suddenly, the Marines turned around and drowned out the protesters with a spirited rendition of “The Marines’ Hymn.�

    ‘No way’

    Vietnam veteran Larry Carter said he “probably� would have attended Willard’s funeral anyway, but he knew he had to come once he heard about the Westboro protesters.

    “You are not going to protest at a funeral of a dead Marine. No way,� said Carter of Carlisle. “Their God is not my God.�

    His wife, Carol, took a philosophical view.

    “In a way these people are showing how great this country is because they can do this,� she said of the group exercising its First Amendment rights.

    Even so, it was tough for many to swallow. Tough for Beverly McGee, who lives across from the church on Route 11.

    “It’s not right to do this at a funeral,â€? she said after passing out hand-held flags to several neighbors. “This is a little neighborhood. They’ve got the whole (Carlisle) Pike up there they could protest… It shows how ‘brave’ they are n there’s not too many of them.â€?

    Mike Whitehurst was ticked off that it took seven Silver Spring Township police officers and a couple state troopers to monitor the protesters. He objected to “the overtime they have to pay because of these people.�

    Still, a mock cheer broke out when the group packed up about 30 minutes into the planned 45-minute protest. The protesters ignored questions from a reporter as they walked to their car.

    Jerry Girard, national vice president of the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club, wasn’t sure how much impact the veterans actually had.

    “I would like to think it� convinced the Westboro protesters to leave early, he said. “But knowing those type of people, they probably just got cold.�

    Legislation in the works

    Pennsylvania has joined at least 17 other states seeking to restrict funeral protests in the wake of groups such as Westboro Baptist Church.

    State Rep. Jennifer Mann, D-132, plans to introduce legislation — as early as next week — to limit demonstrations at funerals or memorial services.

    Mann said the legislation was prompted by recent news reports of organized groups who have been disrupting funerals and memorial services for the deceased, including military personnel who died in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    “It’s shameful behavior, especially at services where people who gave their lives in service to our country are being paid their last respects,� Mann said. “A mother who lost a son in the defense of our freedoms and liberties should not have to suffer the jeers of protesters.�

    Under the legislation, protesters would be required to remain 500 feet from any funeral or memorial service, beginning one hour before and ending one hour after the services. First-time violators would be charged with a third-degree misdemeanor, while a subsequent violation would be a second-degree misdemeanor.

    Some lawmakers fear restricting free speech with laws that must be carefully crafted to withstand court challenges. Wisconsin and South Dakota recently enacted laws limiting protests at funerals.

    “Our intent is not to limit the right to free speech or peaceful protest,� Mann said. “What we want to do is preserve the dignity of the deceased and show the proper respect for their families during this difficult time.�

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  27. CJ, it just sickens me. He gave his life for this country and their freedom to be $*%&#$@$^! Please let us know what we can do to help them.
    Thanks so much!

  28. I just read at the Patriot guard site that the mother asked that the guard attend. They will be there! Thanks CJ

  29. Sharon, absolutely. My understanding is that PGR contacted the family and were willing to assist with the funeral.

  30. CJ, I hope the family knows about a group called Patriot Guard Riders. They are a peaceful group that attend military funerals to act as a buffer from idiots like these. Patriot Guard attends only with the family’s permission. Their site is patriotguard.org. I will be joining the card writing campaign.

  31. Karen, I’m helping to organize support for a card-writing campaign for this family. I’ll have an email address and details shortly.

  32. This is the saddest and sickest commentary I have every read on an aspect of American society. I am going to see if I can find where the funeral will be held and send flowers. I suggest if you can, to do the same. The family needs support from people who care.

  33. Of course….anyone can call themselves Christian..doesn’t make them one. Actions speak louder than words.

  34. Rose, AMEN. It’s funny how unChristian some “christians” can be.

  35. I can not believe what I am reading; these so called church people are crazy there really isnt anything else to say about then other then they are completly crazy and of course i could say some other choice words but I am a real UNITED STATES CITIZEN BORN AND PROUD OF OUR SOLIDERS!! and I will not stoop down to their level and even acknowledge they exist. I do hope all states accept this as a law. JUST A TIP FOR THEM GOD IS OUR ONLY JUDGE NOT THEM OR ANYONE ELSE!!!!!

  36. I dont know where to start. Disbelief. That people could be so cold hearted, calloused and cruel as to harass a grieving family, vandalize their home and to even think of protesting at a funeral? What kind of people are they that they want to cause hurt harm and misery on top of the grief the family is already experiencing. I’m sorry but that- no I am not sorry. That IS SO WRONG.

    I commend the senators and congressmen for taking action on this. All legislators should take a stand. This is totally getting out of hand. 500 feet? I might be taken as a radical but they should be out of sight and sound. If they want to protest the war in their own back yard or across town somewhere where it doesnt affect the family fine. But leave the soldiers family alone.

  37. I can’t believe that anyone would stoop so low as to do such things to a military family who are grieving the loss of their loved one. These people are despicable at best.

    I hope that all the states make it a felony to have disorderly conduct at funerals. Fred Phelps and his bunch are an outrage and shouldn’t even be called citizens of this great country of ours.

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