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Cannon’s Killer Sentenced to 25 years for Manslaughter

August 18, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Hate Crimes, LGBT News

Teish GreenDwight DeLee was the first person to be prosecuted in Onondaga County New York under hate crimes legislation for the murder of Lateisha Green (who is often referred to in the media by her birth name, Moses Cannon).

Lateisha, or Teish as she was known by friends, and her brother, Mark Cannon, had received a call from a friend to come over to talk.  They headed to the Seymour Street address and were still talking with the girl when the gunman walked up to the care and fired.

Mark was in the driver seat and drove away from the scene toward safety.  They were found 13 blocks away.  Mark survived the gunshot wound, but Teish was dead.

Yesterday, DeLee was sentenced to the lessor crime of manslaughter and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The story of Teish’s murder spawned much criticism, including this comment on one of the original stories:

If the police find the alleged shooter and he happens to be black, this can never be prosecuted as a hate crime. Everyone knows that the only people that ever hate are white Caucasian males that believe in God. – crazedmaniac

I can’t help but wonder if the person who wrote the above non-sense (perhaps rhetorically) now sees that, not only was the murderer a black man, but he was also prosecuted under hate crimes legislation.  So much for the theory that hate crimes target white folk.

See: DeLee sentenced to 25 years in prison for hate crime – NewsChannel 9 WSYR.

Murder of Gay Youths in Tel Aviv: I’m the One to Blame.

August 04, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

isrealIn case you haven’t heard the news, Nir Katz, 26, and Liz Tarboushi, 16, are dead and 13 others are injured after a gunman, clad in black, entered an LGBT Community Center in Tel Aviv, Israel and opened fire.  I first heard the news via an email from jaysays.com contributor, Jude, and my internal voice fell silent.  While the event itself is shocking, it’s not surprising.

Now, we are left with the aftermath of this violent and unconscionable attack on human life. We’re left with more questions than answers, along with many people pointing fingers and looking for someone to blame.

Unlike some of my contemporaries, I don’t blame religion, Christian, Jewish, Muslim or otherwise.  The fact of the matter is this event could have been in any country, no matter how “liberal” and could have been orchestrated by any person of any religious background.  Why?  Because we have taught our children that being gay is: bad, a sin, evil, a mental disorder, a perversion – unequal.

In condemning other humans, religious text is used as justification, as religious text was used to justify the persecution of Protestants by the Catholics, Catholics by the Protestants, Jews by the Christians, Blacks by the Christians, Christians by the Muslims, Muslims by the Christians, etc., etc., etc.

Within the first 24 hours after the shooting, pseudo-Christian organizations and conservative bloggers began defending themselves against the gay activists that would surely blame them for this atrocity.  They condemned the murders while in the same breath, condemning gay people – or as some argue, the action of being gay.  While I believe this falls under Shakespearean theory, “The lady doth protest too much me thinks,” it is true that many LGBT activists have wrongfully pointed the finger at the innocent religions of the world.  As we all know, religion has never resulted in any violent act or atrocity as religion is about love and goodness.  Such would never result in things like the crusades, the September 11th attacks, concentration camps or the witch hunts.

But even though Mission America, Pat Robertson or any of the other folks that believe themselves superior to “our kind” are not to blame, there is someone to carry the burden.  Me.

When it gets down to the heart of the issue, I failed these kids.  I failed these kids because I spent 10 years as an openly gay man doing nothing, saying nothing and living complacently while these groups and/or individuals continued to actively pursue demonizing LGBT people (or again, the action of being gay).  I sat by and let Matthew Shepard, Brandon Teena, Gwen Araujo, Paul Broussard, Steen Fenrich, Ronnie Paris, Jason Gage, Sakia Gunn, Michael Sandy, Angie Zapata, James Zappaloti, Arthur Warren, Barry Winchell, Rebecca Wight, Sean Kennedy and countless others be murdered without speaking up.  I was afraid, which is exactly what they want us to be.

Perhaps had I spoken up I could have changed one person’s mind about LGBT people.  Instead of believing LGBT people should be murdered, the person would have seen that we are human too – that when you prick us, we bleed.  Perhaps that person would have changed another person’s mind, and another, and another – and eventually that mind changing would have trickled through to the black-clad man who thought it better to murder LGBT youth than to be one, thought himself superior to those whose lives he took, to those he hurt, to those that still hurt.

Liz and Nir are still dead.  I can’t undo history or my regrets.  None of us can, but we can change the future.  It’s time that we all learn to speak out against the teachings of inferiority.  It’s time we all stand together and say – We’re here to protect our children.

Preliminary Hearings Underway for Larry King’s Murderer.

July 21, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Hate Crimes, LGBT News

McInerneyBrandon McInerney, the teenager who allegedly murdered Larry King after King declared, “Baby, I love you,” to him, faced a day in the courtroom on charges as an adult for murder and a hate crime.  During the pretrial hearing, Oxnard Police Sergeant Kevin Baysinger, told the court:

Brandon said if he ever wanted to kill anybody, his dad had a bunch of guns and he had the capability.

He went on to say that the investigation also revealed that McInerney told one of Larry’s friends before the murder to:

Tell Larry goodbye because you’re not going to see him again.

McInerney has refused a plea bargain and entered a not guilty plea.  Perhaps not surprisingly, the defense attorneys have invoked a defense remarkably similar to the “Gay Panic Defense” previously discussed, indicating that McInerney shot Larry twice in the head because he was provoked by King’s advances.  But McInerney shouldn’t succeed because he broke the rules.  According to testimony McInerney didn’t “panic,” but committed pre-meditated murder.

Unfortunately, pre-meditated murder doesn’t always lead to a proper and just conviction.  Take Dan White, the man who murdered Mayor George Mascone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, as an example.  Defense attorneys convinced the jury that Dan White took the gun to the municipal building without any intention of shooting the Mayor or Harvey.  He was then convicted of “voluntary manslaughter” and received a 7 year, eight month sentence.

History is posed to repeat itself again in this case.  As in the case against Dan White, the jury will be sympathetic toward the teenager for the murder – after all, he’s young, straight and white.

In the News:

Boy accused of killing gay classmate bragged he had guns at home, police say | L.A. Now | Los Angeles Times.

Prelim Gets Under Way For Teen Accused Of Killing Gay Classmate | KEYT.com – News, Weather, Sports for Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, Oxnard | KEYT Headlines.

Hearing Starts For Teen Accused Of Killing Gay Student | On Top Magazine :: Gay & Lesbian News, Entertainment, Commentary & Travel.

Increase in Crimes Against Gays since Passage of Prop 8

March 16, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Hate Crimes, LGBT News

I previously speculated in a post (based on rough math) that after the passage of Proposition 8, a substantially higher number of hate crimes against LGBT people began to occur.  I discussed that, in large part, the theory was based upon the fact that more LGBT activists were taking to the streets and making our community more visible to the violent majority.  As if to confirm my speculation, the San Jose Mercury news is now reporting that 56% (14 out of 25 ) of all hate crimes reported in Santa Clara County California were based upon sexual orientation.  This is a significant jump from 2007 with only three of the twenty reported hate crimes being “gay” related.

From the article:

Hate crime cases involving anti-gay sentiment shot up in Santa Clara County last year, a striking increase that a leading prosecutor attributes to controversy over Proposition 8, the voter-approved ban on gay marriage.  Surge in anti-gay hate crime cases – San Jose Mercury News.

Supporter of Proposition 8, Frank Shubert of the poorly named Protect Marriage, had this ridiculous statement:

I certainly hope Proposition 8 did not result in more crime, but if it did, it did so on both sides.

So it seems the Religious Reich is claiming that the gays are beating people up again, even though there have only been two confirmed reports of gays “attacking” Proposition 8 supporters in California.  Both of these claims were videotaped, involved only yelling and neither case resulted in physical bodily injury to the Proposition 8 supporters.

Regardless of whether the Court rules in favor of or against the validity of Proposition 8, the moment will be part of the long history of religion being used to abuse a minority class.

Galveston Texas Gay Bar Attacked by Anti-Gay Stone Throwers

March 04, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Hate Crimes, LGBT News

Just south east of Houston, TX sits the island city of Galveston, or whats left of it after Hurricane Ike.  Galveston is most famous as the home of legendary rocker, Janis Joplin.  But morbid news is abound.

Three men, two brothers and a cousin, shouted anti-gay slurs at patrons of Robert’s Lafitte and stoned them due to their sexual orientation.  One man, Marc Bosaw, required 12 staples to close the wounds.  Another man was hit in the jaw by a rock.  Thankfully, the attack did not result in any persons death.

Patrons chased the gay bashers and were able to obtain a description which led to their arrest.  Bosaw stated:

I thought with all the things going on, especially politically, that we would be more accepted and not just randomly attacked.  I don’t see any room for hate right now.

Regrettably, this attitude of gays being more accepted continues to permeate the LGBT community as I discussed more in a prior post.  It is because of these attacks that we must remain a united front and continue to combat this hatred.  It is time to stand against this violence.  “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

via Galveston gay bar attack draws rare use of law w/ video | Front page | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle.

VIDEO: Evangelical Teachings of “TRUTH”

March 03, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Religion

I’ve been contemplating this project for a while – Should I, do a video slide show?  Do a video monologue?  Use puppets?  All of that seemed complex and I wanted the message to be clear.  The fact remains that Evangelical Christians continue to abuse biblical text and the “authority” bestowed upon them by “God” to keep people other than themselves down.  But how do you express that in an honest and forthright way?  I attempt to with this video:

Gay Bashing and Christian Bashing – A Video Comparison

January 30, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Hate Crimes, LGBT News

I found this video to be informative, passionate and otherwise remarkable.  It says it all:

When Hate Crimes Are Terrorism

January 23, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Thought of the Gay

The “right-wing” have often *defended* themselves from LGBT people using ridiculous claims like gays are pedophiles and if you allow gays to get married, gay sex will be taught to elementary students, etc.  It’s a topic I’ve covered a couple of times here because I find their comments so ridiculous that repeating them only illustrates how insane their claims are.  But the claims all have one thing in common, they are meant to belittle, insult and oppress LGBT people.  They are purposeful in illustrating the “evil” of LGBT people.  They intend to make us look like wretches and non-productive members of society, and if they could, they would draw images of us with horns and tails and proclaim us to be direct descendants of the devil (but most haven’t gotten that ridiculous yet).

In response, the LGBT community has largely attempted to eradicate these arguments by illustrating that we are actually ordinary people in ordinary jobs and live rather ordinary lives.  We are constantly trying to show gay couples in loving and committed relationships and raising beautiful children.  These images are generally accurate of some LGBT people, but not all.  The purpose of our “campaign” showing these people is to defunct the arguments that we are all sex crazed lunatics.  What we haven’t done is launched our own “smear” campaign.

Imagine a world where instead of saying Hate Crime when a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered person is attacked, raped, murdered, etc., we call it what it is – Domestic Terrorism.  Hate crimes are often committed by small groups of people who are biased or prejudiced toward LGBT people.  They generally consider themselves to be superior and generally condemn LGBT to hell.  I’ll admit, not all of these crimes are “terrorism”, but many are motivated by the same thing that motivates terrorist – instill fear in a group of people in order to coerce them away from what it is they represent.

Although there isn’t an internationally recognized definition of terrorism, some definitions include:

The calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear.  Link

The deliberate commission of an act of violence to create an emotional response through the suffering of the victims in the furtherance of a political or social agenda. Link

The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes. Link

When the group “Bash Back” stormed a gay hating church and disturbed the congregation, the right-wing was quick to label the group as terrorists, yet when a group of men brutally raped a lesbian woman in California for being a lesbian or some insane person sent threats of toxic exposure to gay bars, people didn’t call them terrorists, but they are.  They intend to intimidate and coerce LGBT people into submission.  They try to invoke fear in us to silence us or send us back to the closet.  What they don’t know is that although we are a diverse people, we are a strong people.  We have been attacked and beaten and deemed unworthy and unequal our entire lives and that has not stopped us, it has made us stronger.  Together we will overcome these terrorists and their supporters.  Although we may be afraid, we are courageous.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than one’s fear. The timid presume it is lack of fear that allows the brave to act when the timid do not. But to take action when one is not afraid is easy. To refrain when afraid is also easy. To take action regardless of fear is brave. ~Ambrose Redmoon (aka James Neil Hollingworth)

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: Gays Should Be Thrown From Planes with No Chutes

January 16, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Stupid Things People Say About Gays

In recent discussions online about the pending repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (“DADT”) one commenter took hatred to a new level (anonymously of course).  A man/woman under the handle “Union Sucks” and claiming to be a retired Army Officer not only encourages a heterosexual boycott of the U.S. Military, but also wants gays murdered.  He/She states:

As a retired Army Officer, I would ENCOURAGE as many as possible to leave the service under protest of this. The ONLY use for gays in the military is perhaps an airborne outfit that you could drop into action without parachutes or weapons. Other than THAT, we do NOT need that kind of human debris in our armed forces.

The alleged military officer’s plea includes what may be called a “boycott” of our nation’s military, and essentially, a boycott of the United States and the principals for which he/she allegedly fought – freedom.

The commenter has obviously never heard of Alexander the Great, reknowned for his leadership and war time victories – but also a homosexual.  He also hasn’t read this article: 104 retired military brass against ‘don’t ask-don’t tell’ – CNN.com; indicating that 104 retired “top brass” military persons have signed a statement calling for a repeal of DADT, or that “a study conducted by a group of senior retired military officers recommended ditching the military’s ‘don’t ask-don’t tell’ policy” [referenced in the CNN article].

It just goes to show that we continue to allow bias and prejudices to rule our thoughts rather than education and rational debate.

Gay Bars in Seattle Threatened with Biological Warfare

January 08, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Hate Crimes, LGBT News

Eleven gay bars in Seattle have received letters advising the clubs to expect the unleashing of the toxin ricin against them and their patrons.  The letters were unsigned and stated that they expect the victims to “die painfully while in the hospital.”

Seattle Police, the FBI and Homeland Security are investigating.

I find this story ironically sickening.  I keep rehashing the outrage of the anthrax threats, biological warfare moments and the “war on terror” and wondering where the outrage is when such terrorist threats are made against LGBT people.  Even the most staunchly anti-gay person in the world should come forward at this moment and say that such actions against LGBT people (or any person) are despicable, unacceptable and “sinful”.

If prop 8 was our bugle Reveille, this event is our Charge.  We are under attack and cannot let ourselves be found defenseless and unprepared.

More information regarding this story is available at 365gay.com: Seattle gay bars threatened with ricin attacks | News Story on 365gay.com.