February 13, 2019
Baptist Church members held shocking signs referring to the Thousand Oaks shooting that left 12 people dead.
Members of the Westboro Baptist Church gathered outside Thousand Oaks High School on the morning of February 11, 2019.
The demonstrators were extolling students and parents at the high school to repent and held up signs that deeply offended and hurt the families of the victims and survivors of the Thousand Oaks Borderline Bar and Grill mass shooting which took place on November 7, 2018
"WITH PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING ON OUR LIPS, THE FOLLOWERS OF THE ONE TRUE CHRIST WILL PREACH HIS WORD AND MESSAGE OF REPENTANCE TO THE STUDENTS AND FACULTY OF THOUSAND OAKS HIGH SCHOOL AFTER THE MASS SHOOTING IN NOVEMBER ON MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11."
The Westboro Baptist Church members held up their signs in protest across the road from the school, the most disturbing of which claimed: "GOD SENT THE SHOOTER."
This sign is particularly offensive since Thousand Oaks High School students were among the victims in the shooting.
The WBC is considered a hate group and has been severely criticized by other Christian denominations.
The WBC believes that the massacre and the Hill and Woolsey fires were manifestations of "the wrath of God" visited on the community for their sins. Their other signs read: "God's wrath is revealed," "Destruction is imminent" and "The wages of sin is death."
In response to the announced demonstration, a large group of people gathered across the street and held up their own signs, with very different messages.
The group outnumbered the members of the Church, and their signs read: "You are loved," "Pride = Love," "TOHS Pride," and "#TOStrong."
The superintendent of Conejo Valley Unified School District, Dr. Mark McLaughlin, explained that though the WBC is considered a hate group and their declarations are offensive, their right to express them is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
The Westboro Baptist Church which is based in Topeka Kansas is known for its use of inflammatory hate speech, especially against the LGBT community, Catholics, Orthodox Christians, atheists, Muslims, Jews, the Romani, soldiers, and politicians.
The WBC is considered a hate group and has been severely criticized by other Christian denominations. Their activities are closely monitored by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit advocacy organization specializing the defense of the public interest and civil rights
The incident which the Westboro Baptist Church gleefully attributes to God's wrath took place at the Borderline Bar and Grill, a country-western bar frequented by college students, on November 7, 2018.
At 11:20 pm on that fatal night, Ian David Long, 28, walked up to the bar and shot the security guard standing outside with a legally purchased .45-caliber Glock 21 semi-automatic pistol with a laser sight.
He then entered the bar and opened fire, discharging approximately 60 rounds, killing 12 people and injuring 11 more. Long ended up taking his own life in the bar's kitchen
His rampage devastated the community and horrified the nation. Among his victims was a survivor of 2017 Las Vegas shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival.
In a related story, the hero Officer who died in the Thousand Oaks mass shooting was not killed by the suspect's gun.