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October 18, 2005

Hate crimes prevention: is it personal?

Disclaimer: Although I am against so-called hate crimes legislation, I do not support the murder of any human being.

Having said that, how in the name of God could so many people stand by and watch this man be killed? Isn't prevention much more effective than cure?

The article states that the area was a popular gay section of London, which indicates that the "witnesses" were at the very least gay friendly, if not gay themselves. Couldn't a crowd of 10-12 people stop an attack by 3 people? How could someone stand by and watch such a horrific occurence?

This brings back memories of something I may have never shared publicly before, but I'll never forget.
In November 1989, I was in a mid sized southern city. I was still "in the lifestyle" but not so open about it due to my circumstances. One Friday night as I was on my way home from a local gay club located downtown in this city, I heard the sounds of a fight, perhaps one sided. I was walking to my car which I parked several blocks from the club, again due to my circumstances. The sounds were coming from behind the wall of a motel two blocks from the club.

I slowed down after I heard a man's voice crying out in pain. And I heard other voices which sounded angry. And I heard thuds. Though I didn't quite know what was going on behind the wall, I knew somebody was in trouble. I didn't want to be no hero. After all, I was alone. But I couldn't keep walking either.

I sucked in my breath and lifted myself up and onto the six foot high wall. Although it was dark, I could see about four men kicking and punching another man who lay on the ground almost in a fetal position.

"Hey!", I yelled at them, "What are you doing?"
By some miracle, they all stopped and looked at me. Everyone --including the man on the ground-- was white. I was black.
I walked up to them, my heart pumping madly, trying to look tough. "What in the hell are you doing to him?", I demanded.
One of the guys said, "This faggot kept following us and asking us for sex. He wouldn't leave us alone."
"Oh, so you gotta kill the man because of that?"
"We just want him to leave us alone" They all nodded and uh-hunned.
I guess God have really given me strength, because they seemed to respect me. I noticed their hairstyles and knew that they too were in the military. I decided to "pull rank" on them.
"Where's your ID and what unit are you in?, I demanded again.
The one closet to me, pulled his out and the date proved he was a newbie. "I ought to call your commander and report you" I said.
I told them to go and never do this again. They left.

The man on the ground was still in a lot of pain. I helped him up. I recognized him as one of the men I had seen earlier in the club. "Man, why were you following them? They could have killed you."
I told him to go back to the club and call the police. I couldnt do anymore. I hoped they all took my advice.
Have you ever witnessed anything like this before? If so, what did you do?


Scott said...

I've been hit with eggs, water balloons and had beer bottles thrown at me.

I also watched a good friend of mine knock a guy throwing fire crackers off of his bike as he rode past a gay bar.

I don't know where he got his reflexes by my friend sent this punk about 10 feet in the air into a parked car. Good thing for him that there was a car parked there because he'd have landed in traffic.

Dell Gines said...

This happened recently up here, where a guy about my age, 30 stopped to break up a fight between kids jumping on another and he got killed.

If I was packing heat, I would have a problem, but unarmed, it depends.

DL Foster said...

Ok, let me ask this then.
Would you call what the man in the incident I mentioned "sexual harrassment"? I know it doesn't justify what was done to him, but I wonder if some gays place themselves in harm's way by going after men who really dont want them. That could be dangerous.

I guess it is that spur of the moment concern for another human being --gay or not-- which may cause you to act on their behalf.
I think that's what motivated me more than the identities of the victim/perpetrators.

Scott said...

It's very dangerous and disrespectful of anyone to go after them when it's clear they're not interested.

If every woman carried a gun to TGI Friday's during happy hour, I can guaranty that there would be a heck of a lot of dead guys out there.

DL Foster said...

"If every woman carried a gun to TGI Friday's during happy hour, I can guaranty that there would be a heck of a lot of dead guys out there."

LOL, my sentiments exactly. Are the male/male male/female dynamics the same though? When is the last time you heard of a woman killing a man for hitting on her during happy hour?

m.sheldon said...

In response to your question DL about the male/male,female/male dynamics,I really don't think that they are the same. I have heard cases of men who have reacted very violently when another man comes on to them.I also agree with you somehwhat that in a case like this a person could be putting themself in harm's way by going after men who don't want them but I have often wondered why would a man react violently in a situation like this. My conclusion is that some men view it as an affront or a threat to their masculinity so that's why they react in the way that they do.I also say that the dynamics are not the same because although in a women's case the behavior might be viewed as disrespectful,it's still not the threat being posed to them being a woman as what it is to the masculinity of some men.

DL Foster said...

true, Msheldon
there is a tendency to override reason and logic even in the pursuit of a sexual relationship. I wont lie, I definitely pushed some evelopes when I was in the game.
I think thats why caution is the watchword (and I am not applying this to the man who was murdered)because there is no guaruntee that a man or anyone will welcome a sexual advance. They may just become violent.
As Scott said it is dangerous to continue pursuing someone if they have made it clear that they are not interested. But I will also be quick to add that no one deserves to be killed or beaten because they made a sexual advance towards you. There are ways to handle it without going there.

Also, Im sure there was some liquor involved that helped to stroke the fires.
Last thought in the case with women, its usually the woman getting beat up or raped because she spurns a sexual advance. If it is between two males is perhaps the gay person who ends up the victim of the crime.