Anyone who’s ever read any my blogs likely knows first, that I was born and raised in Mississippi and second, I am so very proud of that fact. I love everything about my home state and the thought of living anywhere else is one I would never even consider. This weekend, a family had to put to rest a member of its family who was killed in Afghanistan April 7. Staff Sgt. Jason Rogers, who grew up in Brandon, Mississippi (right outside the state capital, Jackson) was very much loved by his family and community. The grief of the entire state was heavy but it soon turned to anger once it was announced Westboro hate group (again, I refuse to refer to it as a church) would be in attendance. I knew that would be a problem for them. And let me be clear: I hoped with every ounce of who I am that it would be a problem for them. It was.
First up, The Patriot Guard Riders made their presence known as well. I like to think of them as the antidote to the poison this Kansas group spews. They made their intentions clear, too. While they are effective in their presence and tend to allow that presence make their message, it’s what the Mississippi folks did that really hit the message home (despite my declarations on Facebook that coming to Mississippi really shouldn’t be an option this hate group should consider).
By now, most of the country knows about the incident at a local Brandon gas station late last week. See, one of these idiots underestimated the pride our folks have in our country as a whole and most certainly those who defend our nation. The words “zero tolerance” come to mind. Well, down here in Mississippi, we have a saying: “Don’t let your bulldog mouth overload your jaybird ass”. Someone forgot to tell this guy, I guess. He toted a whuppin’ though no one knows who did it and the police investigation was unable to find anyone who witnessed the fight and could identify the one who obliged the ill-directed person.
Rankin County officials had a bad day all the way around. Can you believe all of their county vehicles were left unattended for several hours and no one knew where the keys were to move the vehicles? And isn’t it ironic they had inconvenienced a few folks at a local hotel by blocking them in? Of course, we have a deep respect for hospitality down here, you understand. But try as they might, they just couldn’t get the tow trucks there before these out of town folks could get where they felt they needed to be. But it all turned out OK. Eventually, the vehicles were moved – several hours later and after the funeral was held for SSGT Jason Rogers without incident. The family was allowed those final moments with their son, brother, cousin and nephew without the hatred of these uninvited Kansas idiots. May he rest in peace.
Despite what so many believe about Mississippi, hopefully, this will be what many will think of from now on. There’s such a deep pride in those who call Mississippi home. Tradition, faith and family are top priority and to travel here and then underestimate us in our own state? Not a good idea. There’s also another saying we have down here in Mississippi (well, actually, it’s my Mom’s saying she always used on my sister and me): “You don’t have to like me and you don’t have to love me, but you’re damn well gonna respect me”.