The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gays with Guns (in Bessemer)

Joemygod is reporting that the California Supreme Court ruling on Prop 8 will be announced Thursday. In anticipation the San Francisco police department is dropping off barricades to set up in the Castro District, as tens of thousands of gays are expected in the streets regardless of the ruling, either in celebration or in protest.

Also, Friday is the 30th anniversary of the White Night riots which occurred after Dan White's voluntary manslaughter verdict in his trial after he shot and killed Harvey Milk.

Photo credit Daniel Nicolleta

The gay community is sort of in an emotional quandary, and with states like Iowa allowing marriage (that is not a slight to Iowa), if their state does not, Californians will feel left at the alter. So let's see what happens tomorrow. (There's also that emotionally charged event, the announcement of the next American Idol, tonight, and the gay community will certainly feel cheated if Adam does not win, because as talented as Kris might be, Adam beats him handily.)

Gays with guns. The gay community in Bessemer is in a quandary, too. All of the gay people I know in Bessemer are peaceful folks. But every gay person I have spoken to about the subject has said they are getting or have gotten a gun.

The chief of police spoke to the Bessemer Historical Homeowners Association last night about public safety after receiving a "well written letter" from the group regarding a recent crime and the police response to it, and we appreciate the chief taking the time to meet with us. During this crime, a gay person was abducted from his home, threatened to be burned in his car, taunted at gunpoint, and told by the abductors that they didn't want "whites or faggots" in the area. He escaped when the thugs stopped at a gas station. The thugs have not been caught.

The point was brought up that prior to September 11, 2001, if someone were kidnapped from their home or abducted off the street, the term "terrorism" was often used in describing the crime. The question was then asked if an abduction was still viewed as an act of terror, in view of the events of 9-11.

The chief said "no." I understand his explanation, but I disagree with it. He said that if the intent was to instill fear in the community, or a certain group in the community, then it would be an act of terrorism. But since he has heard no other threats to the gay community (or white community) and no other incidents have taken place, it was not an act of terrorism. He said the threat was made to intimidate the victim, but there was no indication that there would be followup crimes toward others. I understand what he means, because if the victim had not survived, the threat would have never been known.

Here is where I disagree. The threat was made and reported. Even if we had never heard about it, it shows that the attitude is out there. The thugs are out there, and their like minded friends are out there. The gay community is under threat.

Let's compare it to terrorism as it is viewed today. 9-11 occurred. We quickly learned that Al-Qaeda was responsible. We didn't have to wait until another terrorist attack before we began efforts to combat the terrorist attitudes that turned out to be more widespread than we initially thought. Now that is over simplified, I know, but its just an example.

Now, terrorism is often thought of in these broad terms. But "lone wolf" terrorism is also recognized. Timothy McVeigh is the prime example, but Eric Rudolph (who was anti-gay) is also included in that category. While the Bessemer thugs have not (yet) staged anything of the magnitude of those lone wolves, their attitude is the same: rid the area of people they don't like. And the knowledge that there are people out there with such feelings who are not afraid to act on them is what makes this an act of terror.

So, we don't have to wait until another gay person is abducted or killed to realize that we are under threat. And that, to some, is terror.


Kathy said...

I don't understand the denial. Well, yes I do -- if the police can write this off as an isolated incident, they won't be forced to expend additional resources to follow up on an act of terrorism. I sincerely hope there will be no more attacks like this one, but it's a shame that it takes a (reported) pattern to get attention.

Joe said...

There is absolutely nothing to laugh at in this matter. I already know you are homophobic so it doesn't surprise me to see you laughing at the terror a gay person might face.

No one on this blog or elsewhere in this country has called for a peracher calling "homosexuality a sin" a hate crime. That is homophobic propoganda.

The guns in Bessemer have nothing to do with marrying. they have to do with protecting ourselves from the hateful people. Could that be you?

oh brother said...

Didn't some university do a study awhile back that found that people that exhibit exceptionally strong homophobic feelings tend to have suppressed homosexual tendencies themselves?

Anyway, the incident sounds like it probably wasn't an act of terrorism in the strictest sense. The threats and statements of the scum who kidnapped the guy were intended to intimidate him into cooperating. I don't believe that they were a credible threat to others (if they had told him to tells others that the same thing will happen to them, that would be another thing). Once the people in the neighborhood became aware of the threats they felt threatened and were afraid that similar acts would follow, therefore the words of the crooks had an unintended effect of terrorizing the neighborhood.

Anyway, I highly encourage anyone to protect themselves, be it from street thugs or bigots.

Joe said...

Oh brother,
Yes that sudy was done by the University of Georgia and here is a link (my link from a previous post has been taken down).

I agree and the letter to the chief stated that this was a crime of opportunity. Yet still an element of terror exists. Of course they didn't tell him to tell others anything because they told him they were going to kill him.

And it doesn't make sense for it to not be an act of terror now, but if another such crime occurs, then this one becomes, in retrospect, an act of terror.

So, as you say, the act of terror may have been unintended, yet still, it was an act of terror.