From The Bulletin, the Mercury’s blog, where we post quick hits on the news of the day, odds and ends and commentary.
A couple hundred metalheads with kazoos converged on the state Capitol on Monday morning to defend one of their own by drowning out a small group of Westboro Baptist Church members.
The Kansas-based hate group said it came to Virginia in part to demonstrate against Del. Danica Roem, D-Manassas, who is the state’s first and only openly transgender lawmaker.
Roem also happens to be a metal singer, which prompted Richmond-based singer Randy Blythe, who fronts the well-known band Lamb of God and considers Roem a friend, to organize what he called a “counter-party.”
He called on his fans to dress in the most absurd costumes they could muster and promised to hand out free kazoos, which were in abundance.
“These people are coming out and speaking a bunch of ignorance about my friend,” Blythe said. “I don’t like that. So we came out and just drowned them out. That’s the easiest way. There’s no point in engaging these people.”
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About six members of the Westboro Baptist Church attended. They arrived before 9 a.m. and left about a half hour later. They planned a second demonstration on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University later in the day.
Roem was not in attendance, but had her own response to the Westboro Baptist Church visit, turning it into a fundraiser that collected more than $25,000 for her reelection campaign.
“I set out to make the best out of a bad situation by doing what a good candidate for office should do,” she said last week. “Flip the script on something negative by raising money off of the response without amplifying the original negativity and driving a unifying message about love conquering hate.”