Yesterday I sat online with close to 700 others watching a live feed from Woodbury, Connecticut, that a member of Anonymous was streaming from a visitation for slain Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung. The Westboro Baptist Church had stated that they vowed to picket the funeral with their signs reading typical slogans for the group, “God Sent The Shooter,” “God Hates You,” ” You Will Eat Your Babies.”
As reported yesterday, Anonymous said they would meet the pickets and form a silent barricade shielding the WBC from the mourners view, so that they could honor the dead in peace. Anonymous was joined by others, off-duty policemen, local and from out of state, retired and current military, members of the community who wanted to protect the grievers, others who had driven long distances just to take part. Those of us who couldn’t be there waited, anxious, for the WBC to show up. From everything I know, they didn’t. From everything I know, they have more plans to picket the area in the upcoming days.
I’m a mom with four kids. My kids are my life. It’s a simple statement, but it’s the only truth I know. After the mass shooting spree that left 26 dead, my heart has been aching. I can’t even begin to fathom what it must be like to be the parents of the slain children, to be a family member who lost someone due to what Adam Lanza did. The grief so many of us feel is palpable. We look at our own children, kids who play and yell and fight and kiss us with sticky mouths and we look away, because it hurts to look at them, knowing that in Connecticut there are parents who will never put their own children to bed at night.
We have all grown up with Columbine and 9-11 and Malmö and a thousand other tragedies the world over. Because it involved so many small children, the events of Sandy Hook affect a lot of us on a visceral level. We look for hope, for answers, for reassurance. In the last few days, I have found hope in a group of strangers, notorious for computer hacking and picketing Scientology centers, not as well known for feeding the hungry and combating child pornography, disguised with Guy Fawkes V For Vendetta Halloween masks.
Anonymous is not without criticism. There are people associated with Anonymous who would steal your credit card number and hack your computer without a second thought. There are people associated with Anonymous who use the word “fag” a bit much for my liking, even if they aren’t using it as a derogatory term against homosexuals. From Wikipedia:
A statement attributed to a member of Anonymous has described Anonymous as containing every belief and lifestyle, and that the views of “the loudest” of Anonymous aren’t necessarily the views of the rest of Anonymous.
But the thing about Anonymous, is that they are us. As likely as you are to find others associated with the group you may disagree with, you are just as likely to find those you do agree with. This hit me yesterday, and I asked on Twitter how many other moms out there love Anonymous, for their promise to protect the victims of Sandy Hook, for their work putting an end to child pornography websites, for other acts of vigilantism against things that go on in the world that we can all agree are wrong.