Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Anti-Gay “Conversion Camp” Allegedly Tortures Effeminate Teenage Boy to Death

Raymond Buys, 15, near death from the ravages of an anti-gay conversion camp.

Raymond Buys, 15, near death from the ravages of an anti-gay conversion camp.

Johannesburg, South Africa – “Man Up or Die.”  That is the way an international human rights advocate characterizes the philosophy of an ex-gay conversion camp radically committed to “beating the gay” out of boys with “feminine traits.”  South African born activist, Melanie Nathan reports in her blog that 15-year-old Raymond Buys died as a consequence of torture and starvation allegedly imposed on him at a three-month “training course” at Echo Wild Game Rangers Camp, located an hour south of Johannesburg.  Esteemed British newspaper, The Telegraph, confirms that Buys is one of three young men whose deaths are being blamed on Alex de Koker, 49, Echo Wild’s director, and his accomplice, Michael Erasmus, 20.  Both of the accused are in custody awaiting trial under charges of “murder, child abuse and neglect, along with two cases of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm in relation to Mr Buys’ death.” Scott De Buitléir, a blogger for Elie, reports that de Koker has claimed to be innocent of the charges.

Young Mr. Buys, who suffered from a learning disability, was sent to Echo Wild to help him become more masculine by his mother, Wilna Buys, in January 2011.  His mother says she spoke to her son three times during the training camp, allowed to speak with him only on speakerphone so their conversation could be monitored.  De Koker claimed young Buys was “self-harming.”  When his mother asked him to explain what prompted his self-injuries, the youth denied that he was doing these things to himself, as she later told the court.  It remains unclear why Mrs. Buys did not act at that time to withdraw her child from the training course, an expensive proposition at $2,000 per month. Two months into the three-month-long course, which turned out to be a full blown ex-gay, reparative therapy boot camp, Mr. Buys lay dying in hospital.  He allegedly had been beaten until his arm was broken multiple times, electrocuted with a taser-like device, chained to his bed and not released to use a bathroom, starved until he was severely dehydrated and emaciated, forced to eat his own feces and laundry detergent, and hit until his skull was cracked and his brain was damaged.  Hospital officials told that he had a “zero chance” of survival. Within two weeks, The Telegraph reports, the teenager died.  “My child was a skeleton,” Mrs. Buys told the Vereeniging District Court. ”He had head injuries and torn ears, there were bruises on his face and arms and cigarette burns on his body.”

Two other young men, 25-year-old Erich Calitz and Nicolas Van Der Walt, 19, also died of brain injuries allegedly inflicted at the camp, according to the Huffington Post.  Alex de Koker, also the chief suspect in the deaths of Mr. Calitz and Mr. Van Der Walt, had reassured Mrs. Buys that he could help her boy become a man and find a good job in the wildlife service.  De Koker’s ties to a rightwing white supremacist homophobic group called the AWB/Iron Guards movement are being investigated.

The sexual orientation of the three young victims of these heinous anti-gay crimes has never been definitively established.  But, as Melanie Nathan points out, any young man who exhibits “feminine characteristics” in Afrikaans culture is considered to be a “moffie,” an epithet akin to “faggot.”  Ms. Nathan explains, “The idea of the [Echo Wild] camp is to apparently make men of teens and to ‘cure’  ‘feminine traits’ in male youths…another way of saying gay reparative therapy, instead in this instance that therapy involved ‘beating the gay out of the kid’– torture, and if torture didn’t effect the desired change, then certainly murder would; after all a dead teen is not a gay teen.” 

Mrs. Buys told The Telegraph, “I trusted Alex de Koker with the life of my child.”  Whether wittingly or unwittingly, she turned her son over to a virulently, homophobic group for a “cure.”  And it cost the boy his life.

May 1, 2013 Posted by | Anti-Gay Hate Groups, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, AWB/Iron Guards Movement, Beatings and battery, Burning and branding, Ex-gay conversion camp, gay teens, gender identity/expression, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, LGBTQ, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, South Africa, Torture and Mutilation, Uncategorized, White supremacist groups | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gay, Black Classmates Targeted in White Power Teen’s Bomb Plot

Derek Shrout, 17, alleged hate crime bomb plotter, escorted from Russell County Court on Monday (Ledger-Enquirer image).

Derek Shrout, 17, alleged hate crime bomb plotter, escorted from Russell County Court on Monday (Ledger-Enquirer image).

Seale, Alabama – Eastern Alabama police announce that a hate crime bomb plot targeting gay and black classmates of a 17-year-old white supremacist has been foiled in Russell County.

Authorities arrested Derek Shrout, a self-proclaimed white power advocate,  last Friday, responding swiftly to threats to bomb Russell County High School written in Shrout’s own personal journal.  The journal, carelessly left behind in a classroom by Shrout, fell into the hands of a teacher, who rushed the document into the hands of police investigators. According to WTVM-TV, Shrout threatened in his journal to harm six students and one teacher, citing hatred of blacks and gays as his motive.  Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor told reporters, “The journal contained several plans that looked like potential terrorist attacks, and attacks of violence and danger on the school.” Five of the students Shrout specifically named were black.  Shrout believed the sixth student he named was gay, also a class of persons the 17-year-old professed to hate.

Sheriff Taylor said that the mass killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut were an inciting factor in Shrout’s intention to bomb the high school. The first entry showing the student’s intent to attack his school is on December 17, only three days after the horrific Sandy Hook massacre. Fox News reports that law enforcement officers discovered over 25 smokeless tobacco tins and two larger cans with holes drilled in them in Shrout’s rooms on Friday.  The tins were filled with pellets, partially outfitted as homemade bombs and grenades.  One of the tins was labeled “Fat Man,” and another “Little Boy,” apparently in emulation of the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.  The improvised bombs were only “a step or two away from being ready to explode,” the Sheriff observed, going on to say that the quick thinking of school officials averted a horrible outcome. “The system worked and thank God, it did,” he said. “We avoided a very bad situation.”

In his own defense, Shrout claims that the entries in his journal were fictions, and that he never intended to harm classmates or the teacher.  He was held in custody on $75,000 bond on a felony charge of assault until a court appearance this Monday, when he made bail. The presiding judge released Shrout under the following conditions:  he must remain at home; wear a GPS locator bracelet on his ankle; refrain from initiating contact with anyone connected to the school; and be monitored by a parent while on the Internet.  A court date for the teen has been set for February 12.

Shrout planned to attack gay and black classmates at his high school (Russell County Sheriff's Office mugshot).

Shrout planned to attack gay and black classmates at his high school (Russell County Sheriff’s Office mugshot).

Shrout, who moved to Alabama from Kansas with his military family, had become well-known in Russell County High for his anti-gay and racist views.  Classmates noted that he and a circle of other white supremacist friends often espoused white power propaganda, and gave each other the Nazi salute. Senior Class President David Kelly is quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying, “In the hallway, at breakfast, at the lunch tables, after school where we have our bus parking lot, he’d have his big old group of friends and they’d go around doing the whole white power crazy stuff.”

Authorities say that the teen was involved in neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups, and had learned bomb making from the internet.  Now his classmates are expressing anger and frustration at Shrout’s intended attack on their school.  David White, who used to hang out with Shrout after JROTC meetings, exclaimed to reporters, “Why would you want to go to a school and blow it up?  You know you’re going to hit somebody else; you’re not just going to, in particular, hit one person.  You’re going to injure more than one.”

January 8, 2013 Posted by | African Americans, Alabama, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Bombs and explosives, gay teens, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, LGBTQ, Neo-Nazis and White Supremacy, Racism | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

McInerney Pleads Guilty to 2nd-Degree Murder for Executing Larry King

Brandon McInerney executed his gay classmate in February 2008.

Ventura County, California – The teen killer of a gay classmate has pleaded guilty second-degree murder.  Brandon McInerney, 17, 14-years-old at the time he pulled the trigger, shot gay 15-year-old Larry King in the back of the head execution-style at E.O Green Middle School in Oxnard, California in February 2008 before the eyes of his first-period classmates.  The facts of the case are undisputed.  Rising behind his victim, McInerney pumped two rounds into the back of Larry King’s skull, fulfilling a threat he made to a girlfriend at school the day before.  McInerney will receive a 21-year sentence for a crime that many say bears all the hallmarks of a pre-meditated, first-degree hate crime murder.

In September of this year, a mistrial was declared after two months of testimony, due to the inability of the jury to come to a decision about the guilt of young McInerney.  Prosecutors had argued for first-degree murder, based on the established pre-meditation and the heinous nature of the crime.  Under California law, a 14-year-old may be tried as an adult, and McInerney, who confessed to the murder seemed to fit the statute’s requirements. Prosecutors claimed that because of McInerney’s antipathy toward King’s sexual orientation and gender expression, and because of white supremacist loyalties the killer clearly embraced, the murder was a clear-cut case of anti-LGBT hate crime.  Defense turned the tables on the prosecution, putting the dead victim on trial instead of their client.  They resurrected the infamous “gay panic/trans panic” defense, drumming their contention into the jurors’ minds that King was the prime aggressor, pressing his flamboyant sexuality toward McInerney until he “snapped.”  Enough of the jury bought the ploy that the jury hung. Had the first-degree charge been upheld, the defendant would have received 53 years for his crime.

The Advocate reports that formal sentencing will take place for McInerney on December 19. Twenty-one years in prison is a long time for McInerney to consider that every day he lives is another he stole from a gay classmate because of his discomfort with a person who was different. For the LGBTQ community, the specter of the “gay panic defense,” like a hungry ghost, lingers on, given new energy by this plea deal.

November 22, 2011 Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, Anti-Gay Hate Groups, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Blame the victim, California, Character assassination, gay panic defense, gay teens, Gender Variant Youth, GLBTQ, gun violence, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, LGBTQ, Neo-Nazis and White Supremacy, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, School and church shootings, transgender persons, transphobia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on McInerney Pleads Guilty to 2nd-Degree Murder for Executing Larry King

Families/Friends at Each Other’s Throats During Trial of Larry King’s Alleged Murderer

Brandon McInerney (left), and Lawrence Fobes "Larry" King (right)

Chatsworth, Los Angeles, California – The Advocate and the Los Angeles Times report that the trial of Brandon McInerney erupted in tears and rage as the courtroom proceedings entered their fourth week. Dawn Boldrin, former teacher of both boys, showed pictures she took of the lime green strapless chiffon dress she presented to 15-year-old Larry King.  Ms. Boldrin, members of McInerney’s family,  and many in the courtroom sobbed and shed tears as they saw the broad smile on King’s face as he held up the dress.  Shortly after Larry King received the dress, just a matter of days, in fact, his classmate Brandon McInerney allegedly shot King to death execution-style in full view of dozens of other students and Ms. Boldrin, their first period teacher. The display of emotion proved too much for King’s parents.  As the L.A. Times reports: “An infuriated Greg King, father of Larry King, stomped out of the courtroom. He returned a short while later and rounded up the entire King family to leave the courthouse for the day. As the group walked past Boldrin’s daughter and another relative, Larry’s mother, Dawn King, whispered an expletive to them.”  On Friday morning, the presiding judge, Ventura County Superior Court Judge Charles Campbell, ruled that King’s mother would not be permitted to attend the trial any further because of her profane outburst the previous day.  Later, outside the courtroom, King’s father told reporters that he became enraged at the emotional display on Boldrin’s part because he believed her to be a hypocrite, shedding what he termed “crocodile tears.”  The Advocate quotes King as saying, “My son is dead and they’re crying?  That’s the woman (referring to Boldrin) who gave him a dress after complaining that he shouldn’t be coming to school in makeup and boots!”  By accentuating Larry King’s overt gender-outlaw behavior, and hyping the image of the dress, McInerney’s defense team is seeking to shift blame from their client to the dead gay student, suggesting that his alleged aggressive, sexualized overtures toward McInerney drove him to violence.  In order to counter this subtle form of the outworn “gay panic defense,” the prosecution has portrayed the defendant as a violence-prone neophyte white supremacist who harbored deep anti-gay and anti-transgender biases.  McInerney is being tried in the Chatsworth courthouse as an adult, even though he was 14 at the time of the murder.  If he is convicted of the slaying, McInerney, now 17, could face 53 years to life in prison.

August 1, 2011 Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, Anti-Gay Hate Groups, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Bullying in schools, California, Character assassination, Execution, gay bashing, gay panic defense, gay teens, Gender Variant Youth, GLBTQ, gun violence, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, LGBTQ, Neo-Nazis and White Supremacy, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, School and church shootings, Slurs and epithets, transgender persons, transphobia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Families/Friends at Each Other’s Throats During Trial of Larry King’s Alleged Murderer

White Supremacist Loyalty Led to Larry King’s Murder, Expert Testifies

Chatsworth, Los Angeles, California – Larry King’s alleged killer was influenced by white supremacist and neo-Nazi ideals to shoot his gay classmate to death, according to the testimony of an expert witness.  Beginning on Wednesday, July 20, the Prosecutor Maeve Fox introduced evidence that Brandon McInerney held violent, ingrained white supremacist biases against gay people.  Drawings of swastikas and other white supremacist symbols and illustrations that McInerney possessed in his home and in his prison cell were presented to the court. On Friday, Simi Valley Police Detective Dan Swanson, an expert on white supremacy, testified to the court that McInerney’s embrace of white supremacist tenets was the primary reason he hated 15-year-old Larry King enough to kill him.  White supremacists hold deep animosity for gays and lesbians, often resorting to physical violence against them, Swanson said.  He further told the court that McInerney was a violent member of a supremacist street gang, according to the Washington Post. McInerney’s defense team sought to discredit the prosecution’s bias case by presenting schoolmate and prison officer witnesses who testified that McInerney was not a white supremacist. The Ventura County Star reported that McInerney’s direct supervisor at juvenile hall, Chris Niblett, testified that McInerney was a “good kid” who sometimes got in fights with others, but on the whole showed no particular tendency for violence, and no evidence of gang membership. Niblett went on to say that McInerney was allowed to use a PlayStation as an award for good behavior. Three juvenile hall videos of fights involving McInerney with other inmates were shown to the jury on Friday.  The prosecution said that they demonstrated, in contradiction to defense image of their client, that McInerney was prone to violence.

McInerney is charged with the execution-style murder of Lawrence Fobes “Larry” King in his middle school classroom in February 2008. He is being charged and tried as an adult, though at the time of the fatal shooting, McInerney was 14 years old. Prosecuting Attorney Fox told the media that she would wrap up her case against McInerney perhaps as early as Wednesday of nest week.

July 23, 2011 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-Gay Hate Groups, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, California, gay bashing, gay teens, Gender Variant Youth, GLBTQ, gun violence, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, LGBTQ, Neo-Nazis and White Supremacy, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, School and church shootings | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Murderer Gets Life in Prison for Anti-Gay Hate Crime Killing

New Port Richey, Florida – After days of deliberation, a Pasco County jury has found John Allen Ditullo, 24, guilty of the March 2006 murder of teenager Kristofer King, whom he thought to be gay. Ditullo, a Neo-Nazi who called himself “Syn,” invaded the home of Patricia Wells whom he slashed with a knife as she slept on a futon. King, a friend of Wells’s openly gay son, Brandon Wininger, ran out of the room where he had been browsing on the internet while Brandon was away. Ditullo attacked 17-year-old King with the knife, stabbing him repeatedly. King died of his wounds in a nearby hospital.  Wells recovered. The outrage of the murder was made greater since King died as a case of mistaken identity. Ditullo, a self-proclaimed white supremacist, had an intense hatred of gays, according to testimony given by members of the Neo-Nazi cell group to which he belonged. Rumor had it that Tricia Wells had a relationship going on with a black male, and Ditullo decided to punish the gay youth and his mother for the double transgression of a gay son and an African American boyfriend. The King family acknowledged that Kris and Brandon Wininger were good friends from school, and that Kris King would occasionally stay the night at the Wells’s home with his parents’ permission. Ditullo, 20 at the time of the attack, assumed that the youth trying to flee the home he had invaded was the gay youth he intended to kill, and stabbed Kris King to death. Upon returning to the Neo-Nazi compound where he lived, Ditullo bragged to his fellow skinheads that he had murdered both Wells and her boy. According to testimony by a fellow skinhead and prison-mate, Corey Patnote,  Ditullo claimed he was proud of what he had done. Patnote said Ditullio told him, “I killed ’em both, stabbed them in the head.” Prosecutors reminded jurors that Guy King, the murder victim’s father, received a Christmas card from Ditulio, decorated with a tombstone drawn on the front that read, “Rest In Peace. Here Lies Dead Faggot.”  The message inside: “I hope your Christmas is full of memories of your dead gay son. Merry f—— Christmas.” After a nearly hung jury re-examined the DNA evidence from the attacks on Wells and King, they brought back a unanimous verdict of guilty against Ditullo on Thursday, December 16.  He received 15 years for the attempt on the life of Tricia Wells, which he will serve concurrently with the life sentence for King’s murder. Bay News 9 reports that Charlene Bricken, King’s mother, expressed no sympathy for Ditullo after the trial. “I hope somebody gets him and he dies as brutal a death as my son did,” she said. Bricken, who says the past four years have been terribly difficult for her and the family, wants most of all for her son to be remembered as the generous, open, loving person he was in life.

December 30, 2010 Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Florida, gay men, gay teens, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, home-invasion, Law and Order, Mistaken as LGBT, Neo-Nazis and White Supremacy, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Racism, Slashing attacks, stabbings | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Murderer Gets Life in Prison for Anti-Gay Hate Crime Killing

Neo-Nazi’s Trial Begins for Murdering Boy He Thought Was Gay

Kristofer King, murdered at 17

New Port Richey, FL – John Allen Ditulio, Jr., 23, is on trial in Pasco County Florida for the 2006 stabbing murder of a 17-year-old boy he thought was gay.  Kristofer King, the victim, was a houseguest of Patricia Wells and her son, Brandon Wininger, on the night of March 23, 2006 when Ditulio, a member of the American Nazis, allegedly invaded the Wells home angered by her relationship with an African American man and by the fact that her son was gay.  At midnight, according to Crime News 2000, a man wearing a military-style gas mask broke into the Griffin Park area trailer and attacked Wells, who was dozing on a futon.  The assailant slashed Wells in the face and hands, and then turned his murderous attentions to King, who had been on a computer in another room, and tried to escape from the home.  He stabbed King repeatedly, and then fled the scene.  Patricia Wells remembered that the boy cried out in the midst of the attack, “Why are you doing this to me?”  King died from blood loss the next day at an area hospital.  Charlene King, the victim’s mother, believes that her son’s murder was a case of mistaken identity.  She told the St. Petersburg Times that the attacker must have thought Kristofer King was Wininger, whom the Neo-Nazi hated because he was gay.  “What makes it so awful for being killed by someone like that is that Kris never judged anyone by their skin color or sexual preference,” the grieving mother said.  “If you were his friend, you were his friend. They thought it was Brandon because Brandon is gay.  What kind of a man would do this?  Even if Kris had been Brandon, how can you just take a young man’s life?”  The King family acknowledged that Kristofer and Brandon were good friends, and that their son would sometimes stay overnight at his friend’s trailer.  Wininger was away from his home on the night of the attack.  Wells and Wininger had trouble with the “Teak Street Nazis” before.  Their trailer home was adjacent to the swastika-draped Nazi compound, and on at least one occasion members of the hate group had tried to break into their home.  They had shouted racial and anti-gay epithets at them for weeks before the double stabbing.  The St. Petersburg Times also reports that Guy King, the murder victim’s father, received a Christmas card from Ditulio, decorated with a tombstone drawn on the front that read, “Rest In Peace. Here Lies Dead Faggot.”  The message inside: “I hope your Christmas is full of memories of your dead gay son. Merry f—— Christmas.”  The card was signed, “Syn,” Ditulio’s nickname among the Nazis, according to Pasco County prosecutors.  Authorities are treating the case as a hate crime as well as murder and assault.  Ditulio, who was 20 at the time of the attack, is charged with first degree murder and first degree attempted murder.  If convicted, he may face the death penalty.  The year following his arrest and imprisonment pending the trial, Ditulio attempted to escape, using hacksaw blades and a makeshift rope made of bed sheets. He was stymied by a tangle of pipes as he tried to saw his way out of his cell through a metal toilet, according to the Tampa Tribune.  Defense attorneys have tried to sew doubt about the identity of the attacker, as well as attempting to play up the mistaken identity aspect of the case in order to lessen their client’s liability.  They successfully argued to the judge that Ditulio’s offensive tattoos covering his face and neck, which he acquired while in prison awaiting trial, would prejudice the jury against their client.  The judge, in a controversial ruling, ordered that a makeup artist would be hired for ten days at the rate of up to $125 a day to cover Ditulio’s tattoos.  Before and after photos of Ditulio may be seen below, courtesy of the local Fox affliliate.  

December 9, 2009 Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Florida, gay men, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, home-invasion, Law and Order, Mistaken as LGBT, Neo-Nazis and White Supremacy, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, stabbings | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

15-Year-Old McInerney Will Be Tried as an Adult for the Murder of Larry King

Brandon McInerney, left, and Larry King, right

Brandon McInerney, left, and Larry King, right

Ventura County, CA – A judge reviewing the evidence against Brandon McInerney, 15, has ruled today that he will be tried “under special circumstances”  as an adult in the February 2008 shooting death of his 15-year-old gay classmate, Larry King, at a middle school in Oxnard, CA.  McInerney’s attorney has consistently argued that his client, 14 at the time of the shooting, should be tried as a juvenile rather than an adult.  But Judge Ken Riley ruled otherwise, on the basis of testimony in the three-day preliminary hearing that McInerney had threatened King’s life, and that on the morning of the shooting, he chose not to confront King on the playground or in the corridor before school, but “lay in wait” for 15 or 20 minutes inside the 8:30 am computer class he shared with his alleged victim before pulling the trigger, killing him in cold blood in front of their classmates.  The “executory nature” of the murder convinced Judge Riley to remand McInerney for trial as an adult, according to the Ventura County Star.  If convicted of all counts against him, McInerney could serve 53 years to life in prison.  The defendant’s mother, Kendra McInerney, broke out in tears as the judge issued his ruling.  The defense is expected to continue raising the “gay panic defense” as a mitigating factor in the slaying.  McInerney’s lawyer has said that his client cracked when King, who was openly gay and presented femininely, sent him a Valentine and blew him kisses.  Other evidence presented in the preliminary hearing suggests that McInerney was steeped in Neo-Nazi propaganda and had recently stayed over at the home of a white supremacist leader before the shooting, factors that may have influenced him to attack his gay classmate.

July 22, 2009 Posted by | Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Blame the victim, Bullying in schools, California, gay men, gay panic defense, gun violence, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Neo-Nazis and White Supremacy, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, School and church shootings | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 15-Year-Old McInerney Will Be Tried as an Adult for the Murder of Larry King

“Remain Vigilant!” Warns Southern Poverty Law Center

splchead2009_50072

Montgomery, AL – In a letter to supporters dated June 17,  J. Richard Cohen, CEO and President of the Southern Poverty Law Center urges the entire SPLC network to “remain vigilant” in the wake of the murder of Holocaust Memorial Museum Security Guard Stephen Johns.  The SPLC carries out the most extensive program of tracking hate groups and extremist organizations of any non-governmental organization in the nation, most recently on the anti-LGBT hate monger, Scott Lively and his band of co-extremists, Watchmen on the Walls.  Two Slavic Christian fundamentalists from Sacramento, CA with ties to Lively’s group carried out a fatal attack on gay East Indian immigrant Satendar Singh during the July 4 holiday season of 2008.  Cohen’s important letter reads in part:

“In addition to the Holocaust Museum shooting, we’ve seen the murders of five police officers by extremists in recent months and the assassination of a prominent Kansas physician by an extremist tied to the anti-government militia movement.  These killers may have acted alone, but they were all influenced by the hate movement in America. What’s alarming is that this movement is now being aided and abetted by far-right pundits on cable TV and talk radio, who are fanning the flames of hate with their increasingly hysterical rhetoric targeting President Obama, the government, Latino immigrants and others who are not like them. These are the same commentators who ridiculed the recent Department of Homeland Security that predicted the very kind of violent attacks we’re now seeing.”  Cohen concludes by urging all fair-minded Americans to stand firm against hatred:  “We all need to speak out against hate — whether it’s in the national media or in our communities….  We hope the lessons from this latest tragedy won’t soon fade from our national consciousness.”

June 18, 2009 Posted by | African Americans, Alabama, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Anti-Semitism, Domestic Violence, gay men, gun violence, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Neo-Nazis and White Supremacy, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Racism, religious intolerance, Social Justice Advocacy | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on “Remain Vigilant!” Warns Southern Poverty Law Center

Triangle of Terror: Gays On Their Guard

Police in body armor outside US Holocaust Museum [Shawn Thew/European Pressphoto]

Police in body armor outside US Holocaust Museum (Shawn Thew/European Pressphoto)

Wichita, Kansas, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Washington, DC form a triangle of terror due to a deadly outbreak of bias-motivated murders that began late last month.  On May 31, Dr. George Tiller was shot to death while serving as a usher at his church in Wichita by a lone gunman motivated by a virulent hatred of late term abortions.  Dr. Tillar was one of the most notable physicians who performed late term abortions in the country.  On June 1, Pvt. William Andrew Long was gunned down by a Muslim convert who said that he did so because of all that had been done to Muslims in the Middle East by the United States.  June 10, Security Guard Stephen Tyrone Johns died preventing a white supremacist anti-Semite from shooting his way into the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in the nation’s capitol.  These acts of domestic terrorism are the bitter fruit of hate in the United States.  The Southern Poverty Law Center warned that the numbers and virulence of hate groups in the nation are dramatically escalating in recent months.  Secretary Janet Napolitano, head of the federal Department of Homeland Security, recently warned law enforcement officials about a rise in “rightwing extremist activity,” saying the economic recession, the election of America’s first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of white-power militias.  Republican lawmakers and pundits created a firestorm of protest over Sec. Napolitano’s analysis, forcing her to apologize for issuing the report.  Now, in a grim vindication of her warning, terror has hit America’s main streets, not from forces outside our borders, but from home-grown hate groups and lone-wolf perpetrators willing to carry out the sentiments of radical right opinion leaders who set the environment for murder, and then disavow their incitement to violence.  LGBT Americans are rightfully on guard because of the recent history of hate crime murders against them by members of the same groups now attacking abortion clinics, army recruitment offices, and Jewish venues like the Holocaust Museum.

Steven Domer murdered by white supremacist

Steven Domer murdered by white supremacist

Steven Domer of Edmonton, Oklahoma, was brutally murdered in October 2007 by Darrell Madden, a white supremacist recently released from prison.  Madden, a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, garroted Domer with a wire clothes hanger after binding him with duct tape.  Domer’s body was found in a ravine in McClain County.  Investigators believe that Madden’s motive was to earn his “patch” from the Aryan Brotherhood, a sign of distinction awarded to a member who murders a Jew, a black, a homosexual, or anyone deemed to be an “enemy” by the group.  In October 2008, Madden was found guilty of first degree murder and abduction, and sentenced to four consecutive life terms.  The Domer murder and others like it offer a warning to the LGBT community in a time when hostility is clearly on the rise against same-sex marriage, the Matthew Shepard Act, ENDA, and the proposed repeal of both DOMA and DADT.  Hate crime statistics demonstrate an upward spiral of violence in Michigan, Tennessee, Minnesota, and California.  LGBT Americans share the vulnerability of other targeted groups, and decry the violence perpetrated by religious bigotry, misguided nationalism, racial hatred, and misogyny.  The need for the passage of a sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression hate crimes law has never been greater, given the rising tide of bias-related hate crimes chilling whole segments of the American population.  Fear may isolate and paralyze people.  Resolve to face hate and fear with justice and hope can unite people, as well.  Now is the time for coalition building, rejection of irrational hatred wherever it arises, and a mutual commitment to the health and safety of all Americans.  Gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people already know how important vigilance and solidarity in the face of terror are.  So do women, Jews, and Blacks, all of whom have been affected by these deplorable killings in recent weeks.  Perhaps this time those targeted by the radical right will learn how to stand together, and rally the country to repudiate these senseless acts of violence.  We at The Unfinished Lives Project devoutly hope so.

June 11, 2009 Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Anti-Semitism, Arkansas, California, Kansas, Racism, religious intolerance, Social Justice Advocacy, Special Comments, Strangulation, Tennessee, Washington, D.C. | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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