Saturday, March 31, 2007

If a Gay Man Dies, Is it a Hate Crime?

According to this Detroit Free Press article,
As the story went, Andrew Anthos was beaten to death in February for simply being gay.

But it was arthritis -- not hatred -- that ultimately led to the death of the 72-year-old Detroiter, the Wayne County medical examiner told the Free Press on Wednesday.

The Detroit Police Department said it has accepted that Anthos died of natural causes and closed its investigation, saying no witnesses have been found to confirm a beating.
It is a decision that has surprised and upset his family and a growing list of gay-rights advocates and politicians who cited his death to promote the prosecution of hate crimes based on sexual orientation.

"That sickens me," said Athena Fedenis, the dead man's cousin and the person who widely promoted the account that Anthos was taunted and beaten by an assailant with a pipe. It is an account she said she heard directly from her cousin as he lay dying in a Detroit hospital. "They're going to say it didn't happen?'
Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, implicated religious conservatives soon after the death.

"The hatred and loathing that led to the vicious murder of Andrew Anthos only because he was gay is not innate," Foreman said in a statement. "Instead it is being taught every day by leaders of the so-called Christian right and their political allies."
Bummer for Mr. Foreman. Reality doesn't fit his twisted world veiw in which those accursed right wing Christians spend their days arguing about the best way to execute gay men. I have to wonder if Mr. Forman sees the death of every homosexual as a right wing inspired plot.

According to doctors,
Wayne County Medical Examiner Dr. Carl Schmidt said Anthos succumbed to a degenerative condition, known as spinal stenosis, that developed and worsened over many years.

Schmidt said that his condition, which narrows the spine and compresses the spinal cord and nerves, caused him to suddenly lose the use of his legs that night and fall. Following surgery, the paralysis spread through his body, ultimately resulting in respiratory failure.

Schmidt said his examination of Anthos did not support the widely reported accounts that Anthos was attacked outside his Detroit apartment after leaving a city bus. Police said they could not find evidence that a pipe-wielding assailant shouted antigay slurs.
it was likely a simple movement, not a whack on the head, that felled the man, Schmidt said.

"He probably just flexed his neck," which caused arthritic spurs to compress his spinal cord enough to cause paralysis of his legs. After spinal surgery in the hospital, that numbness later spread to his upper body and caused Anthos to stop breathing, Schmidt said.

The only injury noted in the autopsy was a 2-inch-wide bruise on the back of Anthos' head, which likely came when he fell, Schmidt said. The injury was minor, he said.

A CT scan "of his head disclosed no skull fracture, no injury to the brain, no bleeding to the brain," Schmidt said.
But who are you going to believe, an experienced doctor, or your own ideology of victimhood?

Also twisting the story, but in her own subtle way, to maintain the sacred aura of victimhood, is Detroit Free Press columnist Desiree Cooper.
Now, with the possibility that he died from natural causes, I can't help but recall the Rev. Al Sharpton after the Tawana Brawley scandal. In 1987, the nation was outraged when Brawley, an African-American teenager, accused six white men of raping her, covering her body with feces and racial epithets and leaving her for dead.

After all the high emotions and investigations, it was ruled that she'd faked the whole thing.

And so, all of that righteous indignation was squandered.
Ah, yes, Al Sharpton, squanderer of rightous indignation, rabble rouse, Jew hater; since those days elevated to the exalted position of "spokesman". My final farewell to the Democratic party came when he was taken seriously as a presidential candidate by the Democrats, with no mention being made of Tawana Brawley or his history of anti-semitism and race baiting. I remember silently begging Joe Leiberman through the TV to confront this creep, but in that instance, he comformed to party orthodoxy. From this, one would think that Ms. Cooper is calling for readers to wake up and smell the reality. But Ms. Cooper doesn't want to waste another dose of rightous indignation. She continues,
But this is not an elaborate hoax; Anthos has gone. Today there may be questions about how he died, but there's no question about how he lived -- as a gay man often weathering hideous acts of unspeakable hatred.

His death, however it happened, has engendered positive change. Just last week, U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit, introduced legislation to include crimes based on sexual orientation in federal hate-crime legislation.

State Sen. Hansen Clarke, D-Detroit, plans to do the same at the state level.

Such legislation would not only help track the incidence of hate crimes against gays, but it would allow more resources to be put into the investigation of those crimes
So there it is, folks, heroic legislators are going to bat to protect gay men from us. You and I will no longer be able to freely engage in "hideous acts of unspeakable hatred". We will be forced to cheer for the Gay Pride Parade as it passes our house. We will have to write scholarly reports on our favorite episodes of Will and Grace. We will have to shop with the "Queer Eye" guys. We will all have rainbows in our windows. No longer will we have to read the daily news reports of poor, abused gay men "weathering hideous acts of unspeakable hatred". It's going to be a brave new pink rainbow colored world. Of course, gay men will continue to be "gay men" rather than people. Otherwise how will we know who the latest victims are?

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At 12:54 PM, Blogger Jungle Mom said...

I suppose I am one of those christian right wingers they are talking about, and I have never spent any time arguing or contemplating execution for gays!

At 7:50 PM, Blogger Harry said...

According to the the new rules adopted by the new "progressive" orthodoxy, due to the fact that you are a devout Christian, and you're white, whether or not you've been aware of it, you have. But don't fret. Because you are also a woman, you earn victim points which would be unavailable to you if you were male. I used to get points for being Jewish, but now I get points taken away for being Jewish since I'm actively involved in oppressing the Palestinians . . . whether or not I am aware of it.

The way it works according to the Progressives is that we are all divided into our ethnic/religious/gender groups and then caricatured and stereotyped in order to fit into orderly catagories as either victim or oppressor. So your husband, while out giving medical, spiritual, and technological help to people in need, is actually an oppressor. After all, he is a white Christian male.

Yeah, the whole thought process is insane, but I now really believe that's how progressives think.

Years ago, a conservative friend of my father-in-law tried to explain to me the denigration of the White Christian Male by the media. I thought he was paranoid. Not anymore.

At 8:08 PM, Blogger Jungle Mom said...

Sadly true! We are all so much more dangerous than the ones actually cutting heads off!!!
Way off topic here, but I have a question for you, when do you celebrate the passover? Is it always on a sabbath? Just curious. I have always wanted to see a Seder. So much symbolism,from what I have read.

At 7:36 AM, Blogger Harry said...

This year Passover begins Monday night. It's independent of the Sabbath and it comes at a different time each year (but always around March or April) because it's based on the Jewish calender. It's a lunar calender with 12 months of 28 days each. Every fourth year is a leap year, but an entire month is added to catch up.

I've always enjoyed Passover and the seders. There is a lot of symbolism and ceremony, although because each family does their own, they all add a personal touch.

If you're ever in the Detroit Michigan area at Passover, you and your husband are invited to join our seder. Two requirements though: be hungry. We are commanded to feed anyone who is hungry at our seder. Besides, there is always an abundance of food. It is a festive occasion. And, everyone participates.

At 8:34 PM, Blogger Jungle Mom said...

Thanks for the invite, Detroit is a little out of our area but you never know!

At 12:21 PM, Blogger mrsizer said...

a gay man often weathering hideous acts of unspeakable hatred.

I'd really like to see some details about "often" and "unspeakable". I've been living in Denver with my partner for seven years and have "weathered" only one act of teenage idiocy. Apparently the people of Detriot are nastier.

(sorry if this results in a double-post, but nothing seemed to happen when I pressed "Publish" except a screen refresh)

Harry: The easiest way to use up all your "victim points" (they're like "princess points", don't you know) is to say you are Conservative. They are all instantly taken away from you. It's kind-of handy: It avoids all that tedious math.

At 4:38 PM, Blogger Harry said...

Actually, the people of Detroit (despite the negative hype) are pretty reasonable. That's why I was so offended by the insistence that Mr. Anthos was murdered in spite of the evidence to the contrary and in the case of Desiree Cooper, after admitting that he wasn't murdered. She and others wanted him to be a victim so that their righteous indignation wasn't squandered. To insist that all gay people are victims because of the alleged intolerance of the rest of us is an insult to everyone.


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