Saturday, August 09, 2008
GREYHOUND BUS MURDER VICTIM LAID TO REST PEACEFULLY:
Today his family buried young murder victim Tim McLean in an afternoon ceremony thankfully free of the cultists from the Westboro Baptist Church. The threat to disrupt the funeral to advertise the bizarre idea that Tim died because "Canada has rejected God" united people from across the political and religious spectrum. Even federal Conservative minister Stockwell Day made moves to bar entry at the border to the protesters. Some of the cult were intercepted trying to cross in Ontario and others at the Manitoba/US border, but reports were that one group had managed to slip through into the country. In response hundreds of people gathered outside Westwood Community Church to provide a barrier between the protesters and the funeral. The cultists, however, chickened out, and the funeral proceeded peacefully. Here's the story from the Winnipeg Free Press.
McLean laid to rest in Winnipeg
Gabrielle Giroday , Winnipeg Free Press
WINNIPEG - Amid a circuslike atmosphere, a community paid respects and said goodbye Saturday afternoon to Tim McLean, the Winnipeg man who was savagely stabbed to death on a Greyhound bus July 30.
Seven months pregnant, Stacey Titterton stood on a sidewalk in sweltering heat to ensure a peaceful funeral for the slain 22-year-old man she'd never met.
Titterton, like hundreds of others, was there to send a message to extremist protesters who had threatened to picket outside the funeral and to disrupt family and friends of McLean's.
Close friends and family walked to the Westwood Community Church for Tim McLean's funeral, while thanking the massive number of supporters lining Westwood Drive on August 9, 2008
After much fanfare, those protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas never arrived. However, an estimated 300 to 400 peaceful mourners came to mourn with the McLean family outside the church.
"I think we're a fairly strong community, so when someone starts bashing someone that died, that we will unite together. We have to show that Canada will not tolerate this," said Titterton, who was standing in the shade alongside a like-minded friend.
"I don't believe it's any of my personal business to be (inside the funeral), because I didn't know him. But I believe showing support outside, there's nothing wrong with that . . . this is just an honest, silent way of showing the way we feel."
McLean, was stabbed to death and beheaded last month, as the bus travelled to Winnipeg from Edmonton.
Vince Weiguang Li, 40, a recent immigrant to Canada, is being held as a suspect in the killing, which chilled the nation and garnered worldwide attention.
Just after lunchtime, Winnipeggers crammed sidewalks in a peaceful blockade to stop the protesters.
The Westboro protesters had threatened to picket the funeral with the message that McLean's death was God's punishment for Canada's policies that enable homosexuality, abortion and adultery. They never came, following promises by the Winnipeg Police Service anyone disrupting the funeral would be facing arrest. Several members of the group also were turned away from the Canadian border Thursday after Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day issued an alert.
Uniformed police officers were posted at the doors and roof of the church and a nearby business handed out small paper cups of smoothie samples to those waiting for hours in the muggy heat. A police spokesman told reporters before the funeral began that anyone creating a disturbance could be arrested under the Highway Traffic Act, or for other applicable offences.
Saturday afternoon, a large police vehicle inspection truck sat conspicuously near the church, with eager news reporters and jostling photographers only metres away from amateur photographers and videographers shooting their own material of the spectacle. One heated mourner, a dreadlocked young woman who said she knew McLean, cooled herself off in a lawn sprinkler.
Just outside of street view, in a parking lot about 200 metres north of the church, at least seven police cruisers and another police van sat hidden while the funeral proceeded.
Shortly before the service ended, McLean's family was hustled out the rear door of the church on an alternate route, with at least one flashing police cruiser blocking the roadway. Late in the afternoon, the crowds on the street began to disperse, about four hours after they began gathering.
Winnipeg Free Press