Just over a week ago the Satanic Temple, unwavering disciples of the Prince of Darkness and aspiring adopt-a-highway participants, performed a Pink Mass over the grave of Catherine Idalette Johnston, the mother of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps Jr. Westboro has yet to officially comment on the eternal gaying of its leader's dead mom, but the owner of the cemetery where the ceremony was performed has filed charges with the local police department. The captain of the Meridian PD, Dean Harper, told local news station WTOK-TV on Monday that they were "in the process of constructing affidavits" and "will have [the satanists] arrested as soon as [they] can." He added, "It is an unusual crime that we haven't come across—to my knowledge—in a while." LOL.
Harper told the Huffington Post today that the original charges of tresspasing, malicious mischief, and indecent exposure (thanks to Lucien tea-bagging Catherine Johnston's grave, which can be seen here) have been dropped because "the judge refused to sign a warrant on them." In the end, Lucien has been charged with desecration of a grave.
If this sort of case was thrown onto the desk of another small town police department, one that, say, was located in a community with few serious crimes, it would be fine for the department to pursue what is, essentially, an exercise in the misuse of police time and energy. People—including police officers—get bored and need something to occupy their time. Meridian, unfortunately, is not one of those sleepy towns.
According to Neighborhood Scout, a website owned by a research and data-mining company that collects crime statistics from around the country, Meridian is—and I'm paraphrasing here—sketchy as fuck. Based on a crime index of 0 to 100—100 being a crime-free utopia and 0 being the inside of one of Trevino Morales's vats of acid—Meridian gets a four. By way of comparison, Brooklyn, New York, clocks in at 40. Detroit, one of the most dangerous cities in America, is a two.
One would think that a town with a population of around 41,000 and a crime-index rating almost on par with a city that has become a byword for blight and criminal activity would take a pass on devoting time and resources to chasing a few out-of-towners who performed a harmless little Satanic ceremony in a graveyard. After all, the Satanic Temple and its members are based in New York, meaning—as the Huffington Post and the Gauntlet have mentioned—an arrest for charges filed in Mississippi is unlikely.
Another statistic of interest concerning the Meridian Police Department is the number of officers they employ. If they were understaffed due to city budget issues, their stratospheric crime rate might be understandable. As of 2011, however, the department had 109 full-time law-enforcement employees, 98 of them officers. Hate to go all stat nerd over here, but that comes out to 2.37 police officers per 1,000 people. The Mississippi average is two officers per 1,000 residents. Why, then, was the violent crime rate in Meridian in 2010 higher than the Mississippi average by 89.29 percent? Could be because the department spends its time doing stupid shit like chasing Satanists from New York City.
I reached out to Captian Harper for comment, but he has not returned my call.
When I asked Lucien, via email, what he made of all this, he told me "We caused no material damage to anything, and the cemetery was left exactly as it was when we entered it. I'm not sure which part of this is most problematic for the sheriff—the displays of homosexuality, or the Satanism. I do know that the combination of the two is bound to cause absolute havoc among the superstitious homophobic."
On the off chance New York extradites Lucien to Mississippi, I asked him if there were any spells he could cast on the officers to turn them gay like the spirit of Fred Phelp's mom. "I predict that if I were to be arrested and extradited to Mississippi," he wrote, "my very presence would raise unholy psychological Hell among the sheriff and his colleagues. Just as medieval demon panics gave rise to episodes in which repressed people took the opportunity to act out in mindless abandon—exonerated from their own deeds by the idea of 'possession'—I believe it quite possible that I could find myself in a holding cell witnessing the Meridian Police devolve into a sweaty, grunting, savage orgy of uncaged homosexuality… all influenced by the idea that they were utterly powerless against my sexual conversion magic. Perhaps they are merely looking for such a scapegoat."
UPDATE: Westboro Baptist Church issued some dumb statement.