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Hate strikes out - twice

   Two Western New York communities. One overwhelming response.

   When a Topeka, Kansas.-based hate group picketed in Clarence and near a church on Main Street in Buffalo on Sunday, hundreds of people were there to send them a message: Get out.

   In both places, some counterprotesters donned white plastic angel wings. In both places, they managed to draw the gaze of observers from the three members of Westboro Baptist Church, who came to town to picket in the place where Continental Flight 3407 crashed and at a memorial service for one of the crash victims.

   The Kansas organization, with no ties to any mainstream Baptist group, is deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and monitored by the Anti-Defamation League.

   Amy MacGregor, of North Evans, whose son Army Cpl. Jacob Pfister was killed by a car bomb in Baghdad on April 19, 2005, stood quietly near the roadside dressed in camouflage.

   MacGregor was visiting a memorial to her son at Fort Stewart in Georgia when Flight 3407 crashed, and her neighbor's sister was a passenger on the flight, she said.

   "We're here to lend support to the community, because these people they shouldn't be allowed," said MacGregor, who came with her son, Marshall Morrisey, and three of his friends. "I know they've got their Constitutional rights and they're playing on them, but this is a disgrace and we're not going to stand for it in our community.

   What do you think of the community response in both Clarence and Buffalo on Sunday?

   --- Aaron Besecker

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