The student news site of Manitou Springs High School

Editorial: Planned Parenthood: A tragedy that hit close to home

December 4, 2015

On Friday November 27, a pro-life shooter walked into the Planned Parenthood on Centennial and Garden of the Gods and shot 11 innocent people, killing three of them. One of them was a UCCS police officer named Garrett Swasey.

Members of the community and surrounding towns got together to form a human wall for the officer, seeing that the Westboro Baptist Church threatened to picket his funeral. Westboro is infamous for picketing funerals of police officers and military personnel, and of those who lost their lives tragically in mass-shootings.

When I first heard that they were going to picket the funeral, I was outraged. Who in their right mind would ever yell hateful words to begin with, but on top of it, the funeral of a person who served our community and lost his life protecting it?

Driving from my house to the New Life Church on Interquest Parkway, one of the biggest churches of in the country, my family and I saw the procession line going to pick up Officer Swasey’s remains from the funeral home. Around 30 vehicles were part of the line up, including cars and motorcycles.

When I arrived at the church, the parking lot was almost full. People who were part of the human wall got out of their cars and talked among one another, not about the shooting or the funeral, but rather how their day was. It was a very positive feeling fueled by the community.

Patriot Guard Riders is a volunteer non-profit group that helps guards the families of the fallen during their funerals. They gathered around the entrance of the building creating a line of flags for the procession. The group was lead by Jim (last name unknown), who talked to the group about how they were there for the family, and to make sure the Westboro Baptist Church didn’t get close.

As time went by, the church parking lot filled with cars from all over the city and state, with some out-of-state cars. Police officers from Wyoming, New Mexico and other states showed up to support the family of officer Swasey.

Because the church is on private property, the human wall happened on the curb across the parking lot from the church entrance. Within a half hour, the wall doubled in size and took up the entire drive, creating clusters of people showing their support for the fallen officer.
In times like this, it is important to remember how to come together as a community. Colorado Springs is in mourning after the incident that happened last week, which opens up many questions about gun control looking into the future.

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