Friday, March 21, 2008

She's (No Longer) a Witch!

I'm at my parents' house today, hanging out and watching basketball. Go Huskies!

This morning, I was reading the Hartford Courant and came across this piece about clearing the names of the men and women executed for witchcraft in Connecticut in the 17th century.

Several descendants of the accused testified in front of the state legislature, asking that their ancestors be exonerated. Fair enough.

The commenters on the Courant's forum are being pretty vicious. Some are decrying the enormous waste of tax dollars (do non-binding resolutions really cost much?), others think the legislature ought to be focusing on more important issues (a few hours to right a wrong is excessive?), and others are going straight for the misogyny aspect, calling the descendants (including the 14-year-old girl who spearheaded the project) lesbians, witches, and money-grubbing hags.

Poster "Nothing better to do" writes,
These two have nothing better to do?? This is a useless issue that should not have even began as a school project. So 8 and 9 generation later this is going to do what for who??? Or is this going to turn out to be a money maker by having these two sue???And what about witches today??? Oh wait, I forgot....freedom of "religion". And then we'll mix in a little "women's rights" movement verbage so all the bases will be covered. Bake at 350 degrees, and wala!!!! You end up with a huge waste of people's time!!!!

"Rick" from Windsor says,
Wait a minute ... if Lawlor equates James Tillman and these ladies' ancestor, is he saying we now owe them money? Let's see ... Tillman got $5,000,000 for wrongful imprisonment. Five million, owing since 1662, at 2.5% interest would be $25.7 trillion. Good luck collecting, ladies!

"Wollfy" from Austin, TX opines,
And how much of our tax dollars will be wasted on witchcraft...too much is the answer. I'll solve it for them....ok they were not witches, done. next

Funny, isn't it, how the mere mention of justice for women brings out the trolls. It's an easy joke, but I can't resist the urge to turn a mirror onto "Nothing better to do." "Rick" seems not to understand the difference between bringing a civil suit to court and testifying before a legislative committee that is considering a non-binding resolution. Does "Wollfy" pay many taxes in Connecticut? What is so offensive about the legislature spending a few hours exonerating people who were wrongfully executed?

Part of the problem seems to be that the Avery family (descendants of accused witch Mary Sanford) describe their spiritual beliefs as "pagan." The article did not indicate that anyone was arguing that 17th-century witches were actually witches - rather, the families were arguing that the women were not guilty of the crime for which they were executed. Since witchcraft accusations in the 1600s generally included the assumption that female defendants were guilty of sexual intercourse with the devil and suckling his imps, it's fair to say that they were probably innocent. That's not good enough for the howling mob on the internet, though. They are supremely offended because their time and money is (not really) being wasted. How dare these women patiently ask for official recognition that their foremothers did not deserve to be executed? When did it become legal for women to speak in public anyway? Bitches.

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