First responders were still on the scene at Boston's devastated Copley Square when fringe hate group Westboro Baptist Church announced it would be picketing the funeral of Boston Marathon bombing victims.
— Westboro Baptist (@WBCSays) April 16, 2013
In the message, the group states that "Massachusetts invited this special wrath from God Almighty when it was the first state to pass same-sex marriage on May 17, 2004."
However, hacktivist group Anonymous made it very clear that if the WBC tried anything in Boston, they would feel the full fury of the online community.
If #WBC protests the Boston funerals, they will have to expect us.
— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) April 15, 2013
WBC, an anti-gay, anti-Semitic group, has made a name for itself as an ambassador of the offensive. Throughout the past few years, the Kansas-based group has threatened to picket everything, including the funerals of victims of the Tucson, Ariz., shooting, as well as those of American soldiers and the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre.
But in what could be described as an unintended consequence of the WBC's hatemongering, people across the country have come together to fight the group. In the process, the direct result of WBC protests is often more tolerance, more acceptance and a sense of community-wide solidarity.
After the group threatened to picket in Newtown, Conn., Anonymous launched a full-fledged attack on the WBC, publishing group members' personal information online, overtaking the group's main website and hacking the Twitter account of one if its representatives.
Similarly, motorcycles protectively lined up outside the funeral for Newtown victim Principal Dawn Hochsprung, forming a wall of humans and machines. And when Anonymous announced plans to block the WBC from picketing Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz's funeral, the group backed down at the last minute.
When four WBC members showed up to decry the so-called "fag agenda" at Vassar College, in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., they were met by more than 500 student and community protesters. The Vassar counter-protest has so far raised more than $100,000 for the Trevor Project, an organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth.