The live stream for the West Firefighter Memorial will begin at 2pm on Thursday, April 26. We will carry it live here. Check back for updates as the event time gets close. Link to the memorial page here.
If you plan on attending the memorial:
The event begins at 2pm at the Ferrell Center. Public parking will be available in lots C and D at the Ferrell Center and shuttles will be available from Floyd Casey stadium. The shuttle service begins at 10am.
Doors to the service open at 11am and will be closed at 1:45pm or when seating capacity is reached, whichever happens first.
Public seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. There is reserved seating for firefighters and family of the first responders who died. Speakers include President Obama, Governor Perry, Senator Cornyn and Baylor President Ken Starr among others.
Expect security searches to get into the Ferrell Center. Bags, sharp objects, umbrellas, liquids, firearms and signs will not be allowed.
A firefighters procession of several hundred fire trucks will begin at 11am from the old HEB distribution plant and end at the Ferrell Center.
LaSalle will be closed between 1st and Hwy 6 from 10:30 to 4pm
Sout University Parks will be closed between Bagby and Gurley from 10:30 to 5pm.
The answer right now is we don't know. But that hasn't stopped plenty of people from pointing a finger, drawing conclusions and talking out of their rear ends. Did the West Fertilizer company do something wrong? Maybe, but we don't yet know. Was it a lack of regulatory oversight? Maybe, but we don't yet know. Was it a freak accident that could not have been prevented? Maybe, but we don't yet know.
As a guy who's supposed to have an opinion on everything, the words "I don't know" don't make for very compelling conversation most times. But I don't make policy, issue fines or file lawsuits. For those people - right now - "I don't know" and "we'll find out" are the only acceptable statements.
And then there's this gem I saw on facebook:
Maybe the creator of this has seen the results of the investigation that none of us in Texas have.
And to be fair, it's also not wise for Gov. Perry to say more state regulation would not have prevented this explosion (although the AP article has that statement in its headline, it never actually provides the quote where Perry said that specifically - just that Texans were comfortable with the level of regulation).
To be clear, we might find out that certain regulations could have changed things or there was fault on the part of the company or the government could have done more. But we don't know yet! But the lack of facts never got in the way of a good game of political blame or a stupid internet post, has it?
As the Texas Tribune notes, there are at least six different regulatory agencies in charge of the West facility. Bottom line: No single agency at the state or federal level has direct oversight of Texas' fertilizer plant — which is part of the reason it's been difficult to determine why the blast occurred and how it could've been prevented.
I know you're shocked to learn the two terrorists who blew up the Boston Marathon did not register their guns as required by Massachussetts law. You know, the guns they used to kill an MIT police officer and engage police in multiple gun battles.
In fact, the younger terrorist wasn't even of legal age to own a handgun.
Oh, and when it doesn't fit the anti-gun agenda, the term "assault rifle" is no longer used. But the Muslim terrorist brothers had one. Reuters simply called it a rifle and the liberal Mother Jones called it an M4 carbine - both accurate terms, indicentally. But all we've heard since Newtown is "assault rifle." And did their handguns have "high capacity magazines?" Haven't heard about that one yet.
I'm sure it's just an honest mistake on the part of the media.
I hate that we have to waste time and energy on this. But here it is.
The miscreant a-holes at the Westboro Baptist Church have said they are going to protest and picket at the funerals of some of the victims of the West Fertilizer plane explosion.
If you're unaware of exactly what the Westboro Baptist "Church" is, then consider yourself fortunate. If you're not, then here are a couple links. Just be aware the sites, especially their own, contain graphic language and pathetic, vile content. I don't encourage you to go to their site and give them internet traffic, but if you want to see exactly what they're about then here it is.
Westboro website (their website was actually down as of this posting)
Basically they protest funerals of soldiers and other fallen heroes claiming God wants soldiers and, in this case, firefighters and others who died in the West explosion, to die because our nation tolerates homosexuality. Or something like that.
So these people plan to come to town. There's a good chance this is all just talk and they have no intention of showing up. Recent threats to picket at a funeral of a Boston bombing victim did not materialize. There have also been several other funerals, including one at Texas A&M, that were threatened with protests only to see the Westboro cowards not show up.
But there is an online group that has been formed just in case. If you're interested it's the Red Wall against Westboro facebook page here to get more info and how to help. Note: this is just one group I have seen that appears to have a good number of followers. I know there are many others and many individuals who will show up if necessary.
So it's a catch-22 for those of us who would like to see the Westboro scum go away: don't show up and they have the ability to disrupt a funeral; show up and chances are it was all a publicity stunt and they were never going to show anyway.
And to those of you whose first reaction might be to "engage" these Westboro types with your fist or foot or whatever should you encounter them, belive me, I understand. But remember the goal is to keep them away from a funeral and to not have that funeral disrupted. Just think about that goal above all else.