BOSTON, Mass. — In the days following the Boston bombing, members of the Westboro Baptist Church issued several threats claiming their intention to picket the funerals of those who were slain at the Boston Marathon.
The church, based in Topeka, Kansas, is a small, virulently homophobic, anti-Semitic hate group that regularly stages protests or pickets institutions and individuals they think support homosexuality or otherwise subvert what they believe is God’s law.
So perhaps it should come as no surprise that, in contrast to the outpouring of love and support that was witnessed on Boston's Boylston Street and beyond, the messages issued by the Westboro Baptist Church in the hours and days following the bombing were more spiteful.
Margie Phelps, daughter of Westboro Baptist Church head Fred Phelps, tweeted on Marathon Monday:
Days later, she expressed her visceral enthusiasm for picketing, tweeting:
Dozens of members from Teamsters Local 25 began gathering outside St. Joseph’s Church before 8 a.m Monday, promising to block church protesters if they followed through on a threat to picket the funeral of Krystle M. Campbell.
Campbell's funeral is set to take place today, Monday, at 11 a.m. in Medford. While it remains to be seen whether members of the church will show up in protest, if they do arrive on scene, their picket signs will be met with a firm counter force.
Sean O'Brien, president and principal officer of Teamsters local said blocking the picket would be "the right thing to do."
"The family deserves a peaceful grieving process that's free from any coward-led group," he added.
O'Brien said the Teamsters mobilized their members through Twitter and Facebook. He added that about 350 teamsters were to be expected at Campbell's funeral this morning, though according to a recent tweet, it appears that they have already exceeded their 'human shield' goal:
On Sunday, about 1,000 mourners attended Krystle M. Campbell’s wake at the Dello Russo funeral home — many of whom reportedly waited in a line that lasted nearly an hour and a half to file by photo displays chronicling Campbell’s life.
According to the Boston Globe, among those who came to pay their respects were US Senator Elizabeth Warren, US Representative Edward Markey, Attorney General Martha Coakley, Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn, and Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone.
Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled the first name of the victim, Krystle M. Campbell.