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I already wrote about paying homage to the dearly departed, this will be a slightly different tack.


Fred Phelps is dead.


What did you just think or say?




I remember watching an interview he did some time ago, 60 Minutes maybe, and there he was ranting and smiling. That was the look of a true believer. Fanatic. Not raving, as I recall, but would have died at that moment never recanting a word of his manifesto of hate.


I was invited to go to an organizational meeting of the Ku Klux Klan once by someone who thought they new me.


(This would be a really good time to start a conversation about your apparent image to those around you. Another day perhaps.)


I was working for a gunsmith at the time and expressed my disgust of politics on a regular basis. This and my pale skin tone must have met the stringent prerequisite qualification to be invited to the auspicious event.


I declined.


I had recently read I Led Three Lives by Edwerd Philbreck and was not wanting to end up on any government watch list (this entry fixes that omission).


Oh, but to be a fly on the wall.


Hate is cheap. The poor throw bricks at their hates, the rich, words. There is never a vacume to the throne of the kingdom of hate. Hate likes camoflage. A softening. Labels. The Tea Time/Occupy Place movements, which I respect for many things, also are wonderful conduit for people to focus and express there hatred.


We all know hate. We all hate. Even if it is as appropriate as hating evil, the emotion runs strong.


Ask Anakin Skywalker.


The nanosecond Phelps left this earth, his still warm shoes were filled. Like someone missing the final question on a game show, I actually feel pity.


My father told me this story when I was young. I'm glad I found it:


"Perhaps the most famous trials in history were known as the Nuremberg Trials, the trials of the Nazi war criminals of World War II. One of the masterminds of probably the worst of all concentration camps-- Auschwitz--was Rudolf Hess. His trial was broadcast all over the world. During the trial witness after witness came forward to the stand to relive the worst atrocities known to mankind. Witness after witness told of the brutality, the killings, the fear, the gas chambers, the crematorium, and of Hess in the middle of it all.


As the trial came to a close, the day of justice had come. On the day of the reading of the verdict, Rudolf Hess entered the room, awaiting his fate. The crowd and the media grew silent. The verdict came: GUILTY! As the verdict was read, weeping could be heard from different locations in the room. Some were silently crying, others openly weeping and wailing.


As the courtroom emptied, a reporter stopped one of the witnesses. He asked, "I can understand the emotion you must be feeling at this moment. Is it because justice has finally been served? Is it because now there is finally an end to the horror and the pain? Why is it that you are filled with such emotion?" The man stopped and looked long into the eyes of the reporter, and as he wiped his face he replied, "It has nothing to do with any of those. I weep because as I stood there looking into his eyes, I saw myself.""


The famous Blaise Pascal Wager has an interesting twist here. Phelps bet God was a hater.


I wonder what he thinks now...