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Inciting Violence By Proposing To Burn Down Our Church

By this letter, I report to you the publication of a hateful article with the ungainly title, “A Modest Proposal to Strike a Blow Against White Privilege and the Patriarchy in Groton, Massachusetts.” It was originally published under the cowardly moniker of Anonymous, on June 27. It appeared on the Rotten in Groton website and their associated Facebook page.
     In the span of 735 words we are taken on a timeline tour, starting in 1630, of white European genocide by divine right. Then, it is on to the ultra-elite bastions of White Privilege, the Groton School and Lawrence Academy. Soon there is the obvious necessity to purge said White Privilege followed by a proposal to destroy the Meetinghouse of Groton. That is, of course, the First Parish Church referred to as an “obscenely white structure.”
     Perhaps, the following statement belies the author’s true pique, “The fact that there is a Black Lives Matter sign at the Meetinghouse is one of the endless examples of this Church peddling their virtue.”
     For 15 or more hours that poison-pen letter hung out there until the true author revealed himself. A Groton resident composed this twisted brief stating, “I am Anonymous. If I had written in my own name no one would have taken what I wrote seriously.” The author claimed to have based his product of malice on the 18th century satirical essay, “A Modest Proposal,” by the Dean of Dublin’s St Patrick’s Cathedral, Jonathan Swift.
     Let me say, even if someone tries to cover their tracks, after the fact, by claiming some great literary inspiration (presumptuous as that is) this person still is guilty of inciting violence by proposing to burn down our church; one of the oldest structures in Groton at 265 years old!
     It is a shameful, repugnant and low-brow way to try to make some point; a point so thoroughly obscured by a clumsy assembly of facts, pseudo-facts, prejudices, and fantasies as to make this rambling missive as uncomfortable as a crying baby. It is the act of a small man in the face of these troubled times. And, this cannot stand.
     This incitement could have resulted in real damage, or worse. For the period during which the author cowered behind the Anonymous skirt, he was hoping people would take “what I wrote seriously.” Imagine some suggestible soul doing just that and torching our heritage, or worse, in the name of purging White Privilege.
     This is a crime and it must be investigated for what it is; an illegal threat to burn down a place of assemblage used for worship. This is not the immature taunt of some teenagers, as some would have the recent racist graffiti minimized down from the hate crime it is. This is an affront to the community, the poorest excuse of dialogue, and a strike against the law.
     This is an affront to the community and to hide behind protected speech is to abuse it. In my humble opinion, this should be regarded as a crime and investigated for what it is; a threat to burn down a place of assemblage used for worship. This is not the immature taunt of local teenagers, as some would dismiss the recent racist graffiti incident.
     Finally, let me say something about the forum where this vile spew was published, the Rotten in Groton website, Rotten in Groton Facebook page, and its sister Facebook page, Banned in Groton. These echo chambers are known for their vitriolic bullies who ban members by the score for disagreeing with their right wing, racist, and conspiratorial rants. Dozens or more have been banned as have I. Some were even pre-emptively banned, before they applied to join. All of this from a group that professes to be a haven for free expression. Nonsense. Look what it has produced? Well, I think it is about time Facebook shut them down.
Michael F. LaTerz II
(NOT Anonymous)
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