Heckling the Families of Dead Soldiers, for Extra Credit

Orson Scott Card writes about a truly disgusting and infuriating phenomenon.

the airplane I was flying in held, in its cargo space, the body of a young man who had died in the service of America — in my service. His family was waiting to meet the airplane and say good-bye to their beloved son and brother. … The family was actually from another city, one with a much larger airport than this one. But they had opted to drive the extra miles to receive the coffin here … so they could avoid the demonstrators who had lately been showing up. … “Hippie college students,” … “They egged the hearse.” On that occasion, the brother of the dead soldier was so hurt and angry at these strangers who dared to defile his brother’s memory and worsen his family’s suffering that “he clocked one of them.” So the brother was arrested for assault and could not be with his family for the rest of the services in honor of one of America’s fallen. The demonstrators suffered no penalty. In fact, they received extra credit from a college professor because they had “taken part in a demonstration.”

Does anyone know if this is true? Does anyone know the name and place of employment of the “college professor” in question? Has anyone protested this conduct?

Please put any reliable information you may have about this in the comments.

UPDATE: I have seen nothing else about this. Nor apparently has anyone else. I am starting to think it is an urban legend, despite having some surface plausibility. If it were true the blogosphere would be all over it. Still, I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has facts affirming this tale.

13 thoughts on “Heckling the Families of Dead Soldiers, for Extra Credit”

  1. Specifically, remove the “” from the end of the link, and it will work.

    Relevant proposed legislation here.

    I concur that this needs confirmation … I have my doubts about the quality-control of Card’s columns.

  2. That had been a problem at military funerals in Kentucky.

    The Kentucky legislature enacted Public Acts 50 and 51 of 2006 to “prohibit certain conduct at funerals”. The House and Senate versions were passed unanimously and signed by Governor Ernie Fletcher. Infractions are a Class A Misdemeanor.

  3. Good overview of legislation at the First Amendment Center. I’d say this is one activity where the answer is more speech, as by counterdemonstrations. If the phenomenon is occurring at all, which I won’t believe without a whole lot more information, the kind of parasites we’re talking about are unlikely to stand their ground in the face of opposition.

  4. I don’t know about the “hippies”, but most of this legislation, including I am sure the Kentucky legislation, is aimed at Rev. Phelps and his followers of Topeka, Kansas, who have picketed military funerals. They’re not protesting the war but gays, but don’t ask me what the exact connection is. They are genuine nutcases.

  5. The Westboro Folks picket military funereals because they believe the US is apostate and God punished the solidier for fighting for a nation that is against God.

    Charming huh? Not far off from the hippies except for the whole sin thing.

  6. the comments are ab out that rotten an ti-gay group. I have not seen any evidence whatsoever about college students going from campus to airports to heckle. Not verified. Not in the press, which surely would write this up…no names. I note that the poor guy mentioned served more time than one ought to in a hazard zone…what is wrong with the wayh we conduct military affairs these days? But sin ce I do not as yet b elieve the story I do not believe the anything given here.

  7. This post by Lexington – of an anecdote that did indeed “seem too good” in its general thrust and too fuzzy in checkable particulars – demonstrates how, in honest hands, blogs serve as disinfectants, not sanitizing perhaps but certainly throwing into question urban legends.

    Does anyone at this point believe the story? I suspect most of us find Lex’s update a description of our own responses. In a sense, we might see him as gullible – but all of us are at some time “taken in” – I have been countless times. But if that is human nature, then applying the scouting mechanisms of our readers to report back what they have seen demonstrates how useful the blogosphere can be in destroying the false and buttressing the true. (And of course we always have trouble proving negatives – but the wider the cast, the more sure we become.)

    We may not be a model but we certainly aim at a voice that works as the founders wanted – a voice in that great old American marketplace of ideas. And long may we keep this open attitude, rather than becoming (as perhaps the AP has of late) too insecure and too defensive to really face reality.

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