Sandy Hook, The Westboro Baptist Church, And How We Are All Anonymous

A-iRRRaCcAEzwRdYesterday 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.

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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.

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  • Jessie

    This was beautiful! I have no words to even describe how amazing this article is. <3

  • LiteBrite

    I too have been consumed with sadness this week. At a time when I should be readying myself for the holidays, I’ve found my heart just isn’t in it, and it’s visibly noticeable, particularly to my five-year-old. And I have no idea how to tell him why.

    I’ve spent a lot of time this week crying for the families in Newtown. But yesterday, after reading the stories of Anonymous and the support they have offered the Newtown community, I went home and said to my husband, “My faith in humanity has been a little restored.” And I told him the story, and we both agree it’s pretty damn cool.

    So if anyone from Anonymous is reading this, I just want to say “thank you.” This story still made me cry, but at least there is a little more hope behind it.

  • Debby

    That actually brought a tear to my eye…………bravo!

  • m0r1arty

    Now if we could just get some ‘Anonymous’ minded people elected into office we’d have a better world. Nice article Eve, thanks for sharing.

  • W.G.P.

    “You Will Eat Your Babies”? The point to which the WBC has come is nothing but absurdity, anymore.

    I applaud the efforts of Anonymous and those who chose to join them. I dig what LiteBrite said here about faith in humanity being restored slightly. I agree.

    I’m quite thankful for their presence.

    • ladycrim

      They saw German Baby pancakes on a menu and got confused.

    • LiteBrite

      They seem like an easily confused bunch.

  • #KnightSec

    This is the best article i have read about our movement, thank you so much. from all of us at #opwestboro

  • #KnightSec

    This is the best article i have read about our movement, thank you so much. from all of us at #opwestboro



  • Katie

    My son introduced me to Anonymous a few years ago. Thank you for what you do. Count this mom as one of your supporters. :-)

  • Katie

    My son introduced me to Anonymous a few years ago. Thank you for what you do. Count this mom as one of your supporters. :-)

  • Anon

    Powerful article

  • Andrew McLean-Reid

    Good article, more succinct than most mainstream media reports. I too watched an Anon stream from here in the UK (nothing being shown on mainstream media), joining people worldwide who supported the spirit of the firefighters, police, bikers, residents and travelling concerned at these funerals.

    You are Edmond Dantès. And my father. And my mother… my brother… my friend. you are you, and me. you are all of us. x (from V for Vendetta)

  • momof3

    i <3 anonymous.

  • scorchpt

    I have to say, this is one of the best blog posts I’ve ever read. And that’s kind of funny, because what’s written here is actually something that we all know, or at least, we all should know. It’s what we all feel. You don’t need to be a computer expert to be an Anonymous. You just need to make a difference, to stand for your values. And expect nothing in return but the happiness of those around you. :)

  • KMo

    I am a Mom, and I love Anonymous. Thank you for this article.

  • Designwali

    sigh. Just what I needed to read today. great article. thanks

  • Frances Bean

    This is probably the best article I’ve read about Anonymous in a long time. I’ve been a supporter of Anon since their Scientology trolling days and I think they are awesome, and you are awesome for thinking this way.

  • Sheryl Sanders Greig

    From Canada, I cannot believe that any church would say that evil was visited upon this school for a reason. It disgusts me, and I will join the Anonymous Group, mainly for the fact that it appears to have some power. I am a Christian, but find it disturbing that so many factions of the church attribute “evil” to the deeds of the people who have committed these actions in the past. Who are we to say that it’s an “evil” that has taken over these people, or whether they have psychiatric and emotional disorders that cause them to break. My thinking is the latter. As with everyone else who has commented, me and my family are sick with grief for the families of all of those lost in Newtown. We pray for them all everyday, and hope that this Baptist Church is shut down before any more grief can be visited upon these families and this community. Bless your hearts!

    • StephKay

      Sheryl, that was an awfully kind and heartfelt comment. I wholeheartedly agree that we can’t write these things off as “evil”, which is just a way to distance ourselves from the many real, tangible issues that snowball into events like these. I just wanted to clarify that the westboro baptist church is saying something far more deranged than how you interpreted it.

      WBC are not recognized by or affiliated with any other similar church faction. They consist of two families who are extremely vocal and are essentially a cult. They are EXTREMELY homophobic. They believe that america is too tolerant of deviant lifestyles, which is why soldiers die and tragedies occur. Then they become angry that others grieve tragedies because they see that grieving as opposing gods will. So they picket soldiers funerals, aids victims funerals etc… to make the point that we brought such tragedies on ourselves by tolerating homosexuality and have no right to mourn someone taken as a punishment from god. That is the logic they are applying to all those dead babies. So I’m sorry to say this isn’t a case of another church group waving the white “evil” flag, it’s much much more cold, calculated and full of malice.

  • Malcolm McLean

    The truth about Anonymous is simple, it seems. Everyone has the power to be a part of Anonymous, it’s not like you have to be a hacker or ‘know someone’ or have a fixation on Guy Fawkes masks. If you read this article and it makes you nod and smile and internally say ‘This is the sort of thing that needs to happen in the world’…

    Then you are Anonymous.

  • lucygoosey74

    Thank you for this article, and thank you, anonymous! You are giving me hope for the human race. If you are reading this, I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  • macphile

    I’ve been of two minds on the activities of Anonymous and similar groups–the same two minds anyone ever is about them, I guess (criminal behavior versus sweet, sweet justice). Increasingly, I’m thinking they are an ultimately positive force, that we exist now in a world where technically criminal behavior is the only way to fight back against what is no longer simply “the man” but the forces of world governments and even more powerful corporations, joining forces into a kind of…*trails off awkwardly*

    You know, it’s 2112 Day today, and I think that’s as good as analogy as any–the lone man with a guitar versus the elder race of men. Woot. :-)

    P.S. Good job on WBC.

  • Kelly

    This is the best article I have ever read, thank you so much, you rock!!!

  • Anonymous

    This is definitely one of the best articles I’ve ever read.

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