Before you comment on this topic, I urge you to carefully read this post at JoeMyGod.
Joe's advice is sensible. Don't say anything in a comment that you wouldn't say when writing a signed letter to a newspaper.
The specter of gay violence has been with me for many months as the advocates for gay rights have mobilized in challenging the homophobic religious bigots who would deny us equal rights. It's as if the breath of righteous indignation could any minute cause the embers to burst into flame.
I am very worried about this.
First of all, please do not dismiss violent gay backlash by saying "Nothing was ever solved through violence" or "We must be patient and diligent" or "Open dialogue and lobbying are best" or "Peaceful demonstrations are admirable and preferable". I doubt there is a gay activist or citizen in America who has not heard those statements, does not understand those assertions and has not agreed with those sentiments, but I fear the possibility that sooner or later, some act of homophobic oppression will be the straw that will break the camel's back and will cause some ordinarily rational and patient gay person to become violent.
Somewhere in our country is a gay person who is losing a job or has been denied a promotion because of insidious workplace discrimination. Somewhere in our country is a high school student who is being relentlessly victimized by bullies because of his/her gay mannerisms. Somewhere in our country, a group of gay men/women walking home from a gay bar will be taunted and threatened by a group of drunken straights. Somewhere in our country an act of entrapment will ruin the reputation of a gay man who has dared to wink at an undercover cop and suggest a liaison. Somewhere in our country, at least one of these gay victims will not go quietly into submission but will respond with carefully planned violence.
Even more worrisome is the probability that somewhere in our country, a group of well-educated gay college students who have studied the American Revolution and the Stonewall Revolution and who have taken note of all the violent chapters in all the various struggles for equality will assume that it is their obligation and duty to become violent in order to help secure gay rights. I suspect that somewhere in our country, they are planning their first attack.
I have never in my life touched a gun. I have never thrown a rock during a demonstration. I am not quick to anger, but others are. Other than in self-defense, I doubt I could become violent. I will probably never join a vigilante group, but I firmly believe what is written in the Bible in Ecclesiastes 3:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
and also what is written in the third chapter of the Book of Joel:
Beat your plowshares into swords
and your pruning hooks into spears.
Let the weakling say,
"I am strong!"
Come quickly, all you nations from every side,
and assemble there.
Bring down your warriors, O LORD!
and because I believe those words, I will not be able to automatically condemn someone who in good conscience escalates the struggle for equality to a place I personally would not enter.
Elsewhere, I've expressed my fear that violence may be inevitable. When it happens, everyone will lose and everyone will be blamed. Consider the words spoken by the Prince to the warring Capulets and Montagues at the conclusion of Romeo and Juliet.
Where be these enemies? Capulet! Montague!
See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate,
That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love.
And I for winking at your discords too
Have lost a brace of kinsmen: all are punish'd.
A glooming peace this morning with it brings;
The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head:
Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things;
Is there anything to be done to avoid violence, or is it inevitable?