Guest Blogger

Why Attack Gays? Killer: They Are Easy Targets

Filed By Guest Blogger | May 02, 2009 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Politics
Tags: hate crimes against LGBT people, ignorance of the facts, Matthew Shepard, North Carolina, Virginia Foxx

Editors' Note: Guest blogger Josh Cohen has been doing various types of LGBT activism for roughly 15 years. Originally from New Jersey (Exit 9), he began his activism at college, staging somewhat militant events on campus. Josh is a technology professional at a small software company in Redmond, WA. As a a member of the Board of Directors for his corporate Employee Resource Group, he focuses on LGBT employee policies and corporate external legislative affairs.

UPDATE: Jerry Swinford, the killer discussed in this post, is eligible for parole in 2009. That's this year. If he's lucky, he'll be out on the streets again soon. People like this are why we need Hate Crimes legislation

On April 29, 2009, during a debate on the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill, North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx displays her ignorance of the facts. The bill passed, however, there are still folks who refuse to accept the facts.

As quoted from Pam's House Blend, check it out to see the video of Rep. Foxx's statement:

Rep. Foxx: "The bill was named after a very unfortunate incident that happened, where a young man was killed, but we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of robbery. It wasn't because he was gay. The bill was named for him, the hate crimes bill was named for him, but it's, it's really a hoax, that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills."[House Floor Speech, 4/29/09]

swinfordfacecloseup_thumb3.jpgThe sad fact is that Gays are targeted because they are gay. This is what a hate crime is. Matthew Shepard is just one example, but there are many others. Meet Jerry Swinford.

[Trigger warning: Graphic photos after the jump.]

Chris_Miller.jpg

Jerry Swinford and a friend met Chris Miller aka Miss Gay Arkansas, and Joe Fredericks at a park where gay men hang out. After joining them at their house, Swinford and friend robbed and killed Chris Miller and wounded Joe Fredericks after a gay advance was made. Sound familiar? Listen for yourself as killer Jerry Swinford discusses how he came to target 2 gay men.

<a href="http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-US&playlist=videoByUuids:uuids:84c6b16a-acad-42a9-9350-37b3c3197885&showPlaylist=true" target="_new" title="Swinford - Easy Target">Video: Swinford - Easy Target</a>

Was this just a random robbery? Was there some other motive or reason for picking Chris and Joe? Have a look at, in the killer's own words, where his motivations come from.

<a href="http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-US&playlist=videoByUuids:uuids:b80ca24a-b197-41c3-96a8-a727dfecfa52&showPlaylist=true" target="_new" title="Swinford - Childhood Motivations">Video: Swinford - Childhood Motivations</a>

Many people believe that there's no good reason for Hate Crimes legislation, that people aren't really targeted because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, or religion. This is simply not true. Our culture and society has been stained by the influence of religious extremists and heterosupremacists. Some folks simply cannot feel good about themselves unless they can place someone else below them in the hierarchy of society. It is they who are destroying our society.

Please take a stand, contact your elected officials in support of any hate crimes legislation.


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Gays ARE easy targets. Even the gym bunnies have seldom self-defense capabilities.

Gays have low exposure to physical altercation in their social environments; gay bars possess the lowest amount of altercations. This is a good thing, but it does not allow gay men to develop physically confrontational skills.

Add to that the lack of familiarity with firearms, and they do make excellent targets if you can't find a woman around to victimize.

Hate crimes will do nothing to curve; they are reactive. There's no study proving deterrence. What good is the punishment after the person has become a victim? You never shed the experience of victimhood.

Gays should be more concerned about their well-being. It's not up to society to protect them; society just scolds the perpetrator after the damage has been done. Preventative measures are needed. With such an abundance of combat training places, and the easy purchase and training for firearms, there's no reason for any gay person to not prepare themselves for such instances of being targeted.

This legislation says that gay victims are more important than other victims. Aren't all violent crimes bad, no matter who the victim was? I thought gays were looking for equality.

This law also leads us down the path of having the government criminalizing speech and thought.

Of course transsexual people, being deemed "mentally ill", cannot in general legally access firearms.

Zoe, are you referring to the situation in Australia? In the US, the only relevant question on the Firearms Owner Identification card is #3
"In the past five years, have you ever been a patient in a medical facility, or part of any medical facility used primarily for the care or treat of persons with mental illness?"

I could be wrong, but I would be surprised transsexuals in the US are denied guns simply because they are transsexual.

I've got several firearms, Zoe, and my trans status hasn't made a bit of difference.

Angela Brightfeather | May 3, 2009 12:10 AM

Dale,

Actually the vast majority of Transgender people are hetero and do use guns when they need them. They also aren't a bunch of wimps and can defend themselves if necessary one on one.

But I have also found that true with gay men and a lot of lesbians also. We can all defend ourselves, except when the purpose is to "hunt" us. Then we become more like a deer in the woods that doesn't see the hunter int he tree stand or the doesn't suspect that doing the things he does in everyday life will be inerrupted by a bullet or an arrow.

No one expects to have a fight when they go into a bar or walk down their street. There's plenty of straight guys that never saw the punch coming also.

But, there's a big difference between a spontanious outbreak of violence for any reason, and someone hunting down another person to kill them or planning to murder someone because they don't agree with the way that person lives.

There are many reasons for hate crime legislation. Just ask someone in any other minority that has been targeted and hunted.

Oh, please. As if you can't see any possible threat in inviting 2 strangers to your home?

The other reason to target gays? Society sends the message that we're expendable.

ugh i can't believe there are people like Jerry Swinford out there. what's even harder to believe is that he is eligible for parole. He could kill again and again. That is very disturbing and scary!!