The FBI recently made sure to introduce its trainees to lunatics, a law-enforcement official confirmed on Wednesday. Specifically, FBI agents in training at the Quantico Marine base in Virginia met with members of the Westboro Baptist Church, the incredibly hateful group best known for picketing the funerals of American soldiers and public figures to protest tolerance for homosexuality. Westboro leader Timothy Phelps said the sessions were designed to teach agents "how to stay measured when speaking with a witness or a suspect with whom they have a strong, visceral disagreement." Via NPR:
The FBI invited Westboro to the class so agents could see extremists up close and understand what makes them tick. The FBI official responsible for bringing in the church group said he found the group personally distasteful, but thought police and FBI agents needed to learn how to engage people they disagreed with and to build relationships with them.
"Distasteful?" They really did learn how to stay measured.