About 2 weeks ago I realized something about myself. I like vigilantism. For a guy that spent nearly 20% of his life (nearly my entire work career), this is a crazy thought — a few months ago I probably would have said I don’t like vigilantes because they go against law enforcement. Then I got to thinking…

Who are my 2 favorite “super” heroes? Batman and V. Neither of them is overly extraordinary — neither can fly or control elements with ESP. Yeah, both heroes have superhuman powers, but both of their superhuman abilities were developed through a lot of pain and hard work. The police are given orders to arrest both super heroes, despite that both are doing the work that the government is failing to do.

Neither Batman, nor V are perfect — in fact, they are both horridly flawed. Batman is a bit of a “horn dog,” he’s arrogant, and frequently ignores wise counsel. V is filled with hate; anger; blood-lust. He kills and allows innocents to be killed in pursuit of methodically destroying people who have wronged him. He cares more about revenge than he does about Evey Hammond (just like how she pointed out to him that Edmond Dantes cared more about revenge than Mercedes).

However, when it comes down to it, the vigilante heroes repair broken societies. They sacrifice their life, happiness, and comfort to make society better. Gotham City and London are terrible places, but because of a single vigilante in both cities, there is hope. Because of them people aren’t afraid anymore. I like that.

As I’ve been writing, it occurred to me that they are kind of like Robin Hood (another vigilante that I have always admired). When the government fails to protect its people, it’s up to people to protect each other.

So that’s where #OpRollRedRoll comes in to play. I have loosely watched a hacktivist group called Anonymous (hacker activist) for a few years. Lately, I have been really paying attention to them. They are this loosley-organized group that looks to do vigilante justice where governments have failed worldwide. When they meet for a real protest, it is easy to pick Anonymous out from the rest of the protesters because they are they guys wearing Guy Fawkes masks and suits.

On the 23rd of this month, they announced they were going to war with Steubenville, OH. This town loves nothing more than their high school football team — apparently, not even their children. Earlier this year a 16 year old girl was invited to hang out with the football team at a party at one of the coaches’ house. She was given so much alcohol that she passed out. From there, multiple boys on the football team, who call themselves the “rape crew” took turns in a several hour long gang rape — all the while taking nude pictures and videotapes of her passed out.

There was a big push by the school, police, booster club, and local media to hide the fact. Police refused to investigate the crime for over a week, teachers were instructed (and as reports from students evidence) and carried out instructions to say that the girl was a slut and it was her fault. That she wanted what she got and the football players involved were victims to false allegations of rape. She, and her best friend, are still receiving harassment by numerous students and townsfolk because their priority is the star football team.

Eventually, 2 of the players were charged, but the numerous other boys of the rape crew who were present and videotaped, photgraphed, and did nothing to stop it were not charged with any crime. That night and the following day, they started tweeting and video messaging many other people in the school the evidence of their involvement.

Again, the town has done nothing to stop it. It isn’t the first allegation THIS YEAR of rape that was covered up by the local authorities. Another girl reported being raped by another boy from that school, but after some quick media spin and efforts to suppress, the town quickly forgot about it. Who was the boy accused? The son of one of the News station’s execs. I find it hard to believe that’s a coincidence.

Despite clear evidence of an exploited child by numerous people, alcohol at a party of a school official with students present, rape of a child, and a group of boys who openly refer to themselves as the rape crew, the federal authorities were never asked to become involved. The town has too much to lose (a high school football championship) to protect their own children.

#OpRollRedRoll was started on December 23rd when Anonymous and #KnightSec hacked the fan page of the football team (self-admittedly a private website, not affiliated with the school). They offered a Vendetta. They reviewed the photographs and videos taken at that party as the 16 year old girl was being raped, and they identified multiple boys who were involved and not charged or stood by while it happened and either filmed it or did nothing. In the message (delivered by a man wearing a Guy Fawkes mask) he announced that he had hacked the private information for each of those boy (name, address, phone number, email, twitter, facebook, social security) and would publicly release it on the internet if they did not record themselves admitting to their actions (or inactions as the case may be) and ask for forgiveness and post it to the internet by Midnight on January 1st. He also stated in the video that owner of the fan site rollredroll.com (Jim Parks) had numerous interesting things in his email including pornography of young girls (he didn’t say child pornography), pictures of the 16 year old victim, and email correspondence with some of the boys that suggested that he was paying at least some of them for pictures and videos of their “exploits”.

Of course, Jim Parks filed a criminal police report for hacking with the county sheriff — a longtime supporter of the football team and booster club. The sheriff, Fred Abdalla (who in 1996 was convicted of 6 counts of extortion and 1 count of obstruction of justice) immediately called the FBI to investigate the hacking.

Ignoring the fact that the FBI doesn’t investigate the hacking of private.com fansites, why does hacking a small fansite constitute an immediate federal authority action request, but the rape of a child doesn’t get investigated for over a week and the FBI isn’t requested ever, even after a student’s phone obtained by the police shows pornography of that child.

I’ve viewed the responses to Anonymous’ decision to get involved on Twitter — Every response from a towns-person has fit into one of three categories. 1) It’s about time someone is coming to save us from our corrupt town. 2) Don’t you dare attack our football team. 3) That girl is a slut.

I urge all my readers to support Anonymous on this cause. I find it scary that in a society as advanced as ours, people convicted of corruption charges can be elected to power and suppress crimes against the very people they swear an oath to protect. I know releasing things like social security numbers of minors is not good business, but why is it that the only people really taking a stand and demanding action and justice for the 16 year old girl are either hackers or Roseanne Barr (Yes, from TV).

In spirit or in person if you are near Steubenville, OH, join Anonymous at noon on the steps of Steubenville City Hall and demand justice. Rapists cannot go free to protect a football team and high school tradition.

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