On the same day a federal appeals court overturned a $5 million judgment against the hateful Westboro Baptist Church and ruled even "distasteful and repugnant" speech is protected by the First Amendment: Five anti-gay hatemongers from the Kansas-based "church" were outnumbered by nearly 200 Brooklyn Technical High School students who used Twitter and Facebook to organize a huge counter-demonstration to WBC's anti-gay and anti-Semitic Brooklyn protest.
The Westboro five held signs reading "Fags are beasts" and "danced and shouted anti-gay slogans", reports the New York Times Fort Greene blog. The outnumbered Westboro protesters were escorted by police officers as they left the corner of Fort Greene Place and Fulton Street earlier than scheduled.
WBC promised "a three-day assault on Brooklyn" and adds: "WBC will teach the rebels of Brooklyn what good looks like, and you had better behave."
"They wanna teach us how to behave?" mocks one Tech student at the Times blog. "Well we taught them we're NOT brutes but we stand up for what we believe in. Brooklyn Tech may be a huge and diverse school but we ALL come together when it counts."
On a personal note, let me add that I'm extremely proud of Brooklyn Tech and Fort Greene for pushing back against WBC's thuggery. When I first moved to New York City, I lived on the corner of Fort Greene Place and DeKalb, right across the street from the school. Several (noisy) students used to hang out on the stoop. I once overheard two boys criticize one of their friends for calling a classmate a "fag." "How do you know he's gay?" one teen demanded. "And man...why do you care? That's ill." Their hanging out never bothered me after that.