After the initial reports on the 4th of July death of Arthur “J.R.” Warren there has been very little national press. Can somebody tell me why this is not generating more coverage? Can somebody tell me why this is not generating outrage in our community? Did I miss something?
In this case, a 26 year old black, gay male was allegedly murdered by teenagers to cover up the fact that the victim had threatened to expose a sexual relationship with one of the suspects. This has a familiar pattern to it, doesn’t it? Kill a gay man and blame him for his own butchering.
I was going to be optimistic and wait for our advocacy groups to treat this killing seriously. But then I remembered the case of the Florida man, Stephen Goedereis, who was killed by 2 teenagers after they said he came on to them as they passed each other. Goedereis was accused of calling a 16-year old “beautiful.” In last year’s murder trial, the victim was 6-feet under and unavailable to verify having said that. However, the jury said they didn’t believe the story, and they certainly did not believe an alleged compliment was a capital crime, and so the ‘boys’ were harshly sentenced.
To our shame, the GLBT community was silent.
At the time I wrote that the African-American community would never have been silent over a racist crime that made the national wires. It is not like we have dozens of high-profile crimes every year to deflect our attention. In my opinion, we ignored Goedereis because of paranoia that people would buy the murderer’s story that they were being propositioned. Isn’t that the defense all gay-bashers and murderers use after they are caught? Didn’t Matthew Shepard’s murderers allege the same thing?
I truly hope the details of the alleged crime that follow shock you. This victim was apparently kicked with steel-tipped boots until he was a bloody pulp. Yet still he managed to crawl from the back of a hatchback into the backseat and plea to be brought home. According to the prosecutor, this plea for mercy was dealt with by dragging him from the car, pummeling him all over again, and then running him over… while he was still alive. He was run over 4 times!
It would be a sad commentary is this victim gets ignored because he was not a younger, more photogenic, white man. I hope it is not because some of you believe he may have brought this upon himself by allegedly having sex with a 17 year old. The victim is always accused of making a pass to justify the homophobic attack. I, for one, am so tired of it.
I will tell you what I think. I hate to say this, but if the GLBT community does not respond, it will be in part, because the victim was black. Also, because the story is not a sexy enough sell. I also think the African-American community has not responded as they should because the victim is gay. I hope I am proved wrong.
If the community ignores this crime, you can bet that I will continue to rattle some cages. Each day there should be regular press releases on this from at least one of our advocacy groups. When was the last time anybody has seen one?
If this case goes the way of last year’s shameful episode in the Stephen Goedereis slaughter, it will expose a shocking shallowness in our community. If we can cry oceans over Matthew Shepard and not even shed a tear for Stephen Goedereis or Arthur Warren then we have a lot of soul-searching to do.
Are we sincerely concerned over horrific anti-gay violence, or do victims need to become poster boys for martyrdom before they engender a reaction?
Until it’s over.
— Scott Miller
|Scott Miller is a political activist who runs a free, daily subscription email service of LGBT news articles. To subscribe email Scott Millerdirect.|