“Well, no that’s the BAD kind of vigilante justice. This is the GOOD kind of vigilante justice…”
~AFFotD’s PR director in response to comments today’s fun fact will receive
Okay, so we at AFFotD are obligated to say that this article, which we will tell you right off the bat is about great moments in American vigilantism history, is in no way an endorsement of vigilantism, and that laws and regulations are in place for a reason, and it is a slippery slope when you go outside the law to enact vengeance. We do not condone acts of vigilantism, and point out that the consequences are real, and many people have suffered unduly because of misguided vigilante zeal that we feel is irresponsible, and ultimately damaging to a society of law and order.
This is what irresponsibility looks like. You wouldn’t want to look that cool, right?
Justice is an imperfect monster in society. Humanity has flaws, and those flaws sometimes lead to punishment being wrongfully meted out. And yes, there have been instances of Leo Frank sized injustices at the hands of a vigilante public, but a fair amount of death row inmates have been equally guilty and equally punished by the justice system. So we’re not here to quibble in the nuances and ethical complexities of vigilante justice. We’re just here to tell you about times when it gets fucking awesome.
Here is part one of AFFotD’s When Vigilantism Goes Awesome.
Mississippi Loves Flags
This is a recent news story about a town in Mississippi that was responsible for the Westboro Baptist Church getting their comeuppance. For those of you who have lived a life of peace and kindness, and thus haven’t heard of the Westboro Baptist Church, we apologize in advance for the rage seizure that will come to you when we link you to their God-awful (ha, puns) website. No no, you don’t have to click it, that’s fine. We’ll just tell you what their deal is.
The Westboro Baptist Church is a crazy Independent Baptist church that preaches a Calvinism doctrine, and is comprised primarily of the crazy family of one crazy man, Fred Phelps. The church is considered a hate group by the anti-defamation league, and they spend most of their time being batshit insane. They are virulently anti-Gay, think that Obama is in cahoots with Satan and the Pope, and they hate Jews, Catholics, Protestants, and pretty much anyone who is not in their immediate family. Their stance on kissing cousins is suspiciously never addressed, however.
The reason why the WBC is well known in popular culture is because they view all the ills that happen to America to be signs of Gods displeasure, primarily about our tolerance of Gays and Jews. Which is just super. They of course think the most logical way to do this is to lead protests at Holocaust museums (…ugh), the funeral of Matthew Shepard (…s…seriously? Th..the fuck?) and military funerals (…okay now that doesn’t even make sense goddamnit!)
“WHAT BUT WHO WHY WHERE THE FUCK!?”
We mention all this to you so that when we say things like, “This group of people are likely the worst criminal people on the planet at this very moment,” you’re strongest rebuttal would be, “Well, to be fair, it’s been a while since we visited South Africa.” Now that we’ve established that the Westboro Baptist Church is to decency what the French are to showers. They don’t understand the concept. That’s why we’re going to take great pleasure in giving you a double dose of instances where the WBC has been shat upon by upstanding vigilantes.
The first instance can be seen in the article linked at the beginning of this section, with an entire county basically doing their best impression of the-ending-of-The-Who’s-Tommy (“We’re not gonna take it.”) The WBC was heading down to Brandon, Mississippi, where a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan on April 7th was slated to have his funeral. In the days before the funeral, the following awesome things happened.
1. A WBC member at a gas station bragged about how they were going to protest the soldier’s funeral, at which point he gets beat up by a crowd of people who tell the investigating police officer, “What? I didn’t see a thing. He fell.”
2. Every car that had a Kansas license plate (WBC is from Topeka, KS) was “mysteriously” blocked in by county vehicles without drivers until the funeral was over. When police were called to get the trucks towed, the tow truck service was strangely backed up for a few hours.
3. Those who made it to the funeral were quickly brought in for questioning for some crimes that had been occurring in the county, but were discharged after a few hours…coincidentally, after the funeral had already ended.
Basically, the WBC went all the way to Mississippi to try to ruin the funeral of a dead American soldier, and weren’t even able to pull it off. We at AFFotD absolutely endorse these shenanigans, and recommend that others mirror these methods. Of course, for legal reasons, we have to say that we do not recommend the “beating up WBC church members” part, just numbers 2 and 3.
If vigilantism is SUCH a big deal, then why is every film vigilante so badass?
The second instance of someone performing some hilarious vigilante acts against the Douchebag Church of Topeka was “Patriotic” artist Scott LoBaido, who was taking a break from touring the nation restoring American flags (JESUS there’s so much America in that sentence we love it) so he could make some paintings of the WBC leader and his daughter basically slutting it up with Satan. Which isn’t a huge deal, but he was doing this directly in front of the church.
He was issued a few citations for picketing (which is bullshit, given the WBC’s general obsession with douchey picketing) which he shrugged off, (essentially) saying, “Eh, at least I told that Phelps guy to suck it.”
And that’s goddamn American. Even if everything listed above is totally false…
——– end of part one—-
End of Intermission. Click here for part 2.