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“There is no question about that.”
May 20, 2013 6:59 AM   Subscribe

Late Friday night, a young man named Mark Carson was killed, shot point blank, in Greenwich Village. Carson's death was the 22nd anti-gay hate crime in New York so far this year, and the fifth this month.

Carson was shot on 6th Avenue and 8th St., just blocks from St. Vincent's Hospital, which closed in 2010. He was brought to Beth Israel, about a mile away, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The suspect, 33 year old Elliot Morales was caught immediately after the shooting. NYPD now reports that before the shooting, Morales was seen spewing homophobic remarks at Annisa Restaurant staff and threatening to put a bullet through a bartender’s forehead if he called cops.

More:
Say his name: a vigil for Mark Carson

A poignant recap of Saturday night's vigil

HuffPo: Equality's Brutal Backlash: The Murder of Mark Carson and the Rise in Violence Against Gays

HuffPo: Mission Not Accomplished: The Anti-Gay Murder of Mark Carson Should Be a Wake-Up Call

Washington Post: Being gay can (still) get you killed
posted by roomthreeseventeen (103 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Man, I was sitting right in Washington Sq Park when it happened. Six cop cars drove around the arch right through the park to the other side. I was walking on Macdougal St. just minutes before. It was all craziness and didn't know what happened until looking at the news the next morning.
posted by CrazyJoel at 7:05 AM on May 20, 2013


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posted by angrycat at 7:13 AM on May 20, 2013


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posted by drezdn at 7:13 AM on May 20, 2013


From the NYT article...
But Mr. Morales’s sister, Edith Gutierrez, said she did not believe he could have committed a bias crime — they have relatives who are gay, she said, and Mr. Morales had shown no signs of homophobia.

I've never understood the "he has relatives" excuse. Hate often trumps blood, and that familial relationship can often keep the hate hidden under the surface, simmering.

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posted by Thorzdad at 7:18 AM on May 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


The fuck is wrong with people.

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posted by Skorgu at 7:19 AM on May 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


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posted by mcoo at 7:20 AM on May 20, 2013


I don't understand. I will never understand.

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posted by kinnakeet at 7:21 AM on May 20, 2013 [10 favorites]


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posted by sammyo at 7:30 AM on May 20, 2013


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posted by C'est la D.C. at 7:31 AM on May 20, 2013


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posted by theweasel at 7:32 AM on May 20, 2013


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posted by xingcat at 7:34 AM on May 20, 2013


I was actually talking to a friend about this last night, with greenwich village being a neighborhood I find myself in a lot. I'm transgender, and I've been taking small itty bitty steps towards presenting as a woman, and I just feel highly visible (well, highly self-conscious at least), and it worries me a little (a lot) that someone will interpret my gender non-conformity in a bad way and just hate me for absolutely no reason besides that.

I've never really considered NYC to be unsafe -- I've lived here praticallly all my life -- but, this really has me worried, although perhaps somewhat irrationally I guess. I don't think it's that much more likely that something will happen to me at all, but, there's just this fear that something might. It's something I've never really had to consider before now, so I don't even know how to address it at all. :/

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posted by yeoz at 7:37 AM on May 20, 2013 [18 favorites]


This makes me sad on pretty much all levels.

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posted by rtha at 7:39 AM on May 20, 2013


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posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:40 AM on May 20, 2013


It just tempts one to despair. All the things we used to say were necessary ten years ago, we had here. By legalizing gay marriage in the first wave of states the people of New York have said that these are not our values. The gun laws in NYC are as strict as anywhere in the nation. The police took it seriously, and had the murderer in custody almost instantly. The DA is treating it appropriately. But Jesus, still four a month?
posted by tyllwin at 7:42 AM on May 20, 2013 [10 favorites]


Horrifying. Enraging. Disgusting. Sad. We must not be complacent about the recent unimaginably great breakthroughs. There will be haters.

But the claim that the recent string of anti-gay hate crimes in NYC is directly reflective of a backlash against the recent dramatic gains of the civil rights movement strikes me as simplistic. This particular killer, for example, was a polymorphously violent person already. And in this case we must also consider how he got out of jail, where he got the gun, and so forth. No doubt he was a hateful bigot too. But was his crime politicized by recent civil rights gains? I don't know, and the reportage is not yet helping answer that question.

Not that I think there isn't or won't be a backlash as the gains for equality accelerate. I'm sure it is happening. But NYC is a complicated place and a few months a short time to draw conclusions about the weight of various causal factors driving a spike in violence.

Is this happening in other major cities with similarly tolerant street cultures? What links these recent cases other than the victims' identities? What are the police doing and have they decreased protection for and in gay communities for some reason lately? Are there comparable spikes in other sorts of violent crime? Hate crime? Gun crime? Rape?

You gotta get the analysis right to address the problem. NYC is one of the safest places in the world to be gay, or it has been. We are mostly super proud of that in the communities where these crimes have happened. If these killings are targeting that community spirit of acceptance, then we are dealing with terrorism, not just hate crimes. But I don't think we have the facts in evidence to assert that the rise in bias crimes reflects either a rise in bias, or in its virulence, or the desperation of the dwindling, cornered minority of haters. It is true that civil rights victories in earlier times bred violent backlashes from those whose identity and interests were bound up with discriminatory social orders. But more so where those changes came last than first, to my analysis of the history of the struggles of black and indigenous Americans.

I can definitely imagine a right wing terrorist or terrorist group targeting gay communities in New York and San Francisco. In fact, I wonder every year about Pride events being safe, and more so after Boston. But a bunch of somewhat dissimilar hate crimes in a short period of time makes me look for more complex explanations than "they hate us for our freedom," which is a true characterization of the bigoted mind, actually, and a reason some bigots no doubt do wish violence on individual gay New Yorkers.

Just looking for more detailed analysis, and for NYPD and Bloomberg to talk about what they plan to do and why.
posted by spitbull at 7:44 AM on May 20, 2013 [6 favorites]


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posted by skye.dancer at 7:44 AM on May 20, 2013


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As a non-hetero, it's things like this, and the fact that ~%40 of homeless youth are in their situation because of their sexual orientation, that makes my blood come to a low simmer whenever I see Neil Patrick Harris being touted around while people cry "gay rights", when really they just want pretty white men to be able to marry.
posted by FirstMateKate at 7:47 AM on May 20, 2013 [20 favorites]


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posted by scaryblackdeath at 7:49 AM on May 20, 2013


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posted by shakespeherian at 7:50 AM on May 20, 2013


The rise in violence against gays?
posted by Nadie_AZ at 7:52 AM on May 20, 2013


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posted by toerinishuman at 8:00 AM on May 20, 2013


I see no reason to think that the bombings in Boston will increase the likelihood of Pride events being attacked. The Tsarnaev brothers killed an eight year old boy, a local girl, and a Chinese grad student. There's no reason to think they particularly hated Little League, restaurant hostesses, or statistics. If the bombs had been ready a month later, yeah, it sounds like they might have attacked the June Pride Parade, but if they'd been ready a month earlier they'd've attacked the Evacuation Day St. Patrick's Day parade. They weren't targeting anyone. They were targeting *everyone*.
posted by maryr at 8:05 AM on May 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


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posted by a halcyon day at 8:07 AM on May 20, 2013


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What needs to come out of the discussion are concrete ways to make public spaces safer for all.
posted by jb at 8:08 AM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is a march tonight and a rally. Also from the NYC Anti-Violence Project:
Every Friday night from May 24th through the end of June, AVP will be out on the streets doing outreach in neighborhoods affected by anti-LGBTQ violence to raise awareness and provide people with information and safety tips.
posted by brainwane at 8:11 AM on May 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


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posted by Aizkolari at 8:13 AM on May 20, 2013


What a shit way to die. Because a drunk asshole happened to have a gun, a completely innocent man is dead for no reason.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 8:28 AM on May 20, 2013 [15 favorites]


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Things keep moving in two directions at once. Minnesota just legalized same-sex marriage, but CeCe is still in jail for defending herself against transphobic violence. It gets better, but it also stays bad.
posted by jiawen at 8:33 AM on May 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


This really chills me, because probably half my friends are gay men in their 30s. Well, maybe not half, but if I had to count how many gay friends in their 30s I have who hang out in the Village, I would spend a lot of time counting. Add in lesbian friends and more counting, of course, but these crimes seem to target men mostly.

But as said above it's particularly chilling because we do have so much (but yes of course not enough) gay acceptance and pride and overall live and let liveness in New York so it's hard to even get my head around what more we can do.
posted by sweetkid at 8:41 AM on May 20, 2013


It just tempts one to despair. All the things we used to say were necessary ten years ago, we had here. By legalizing gay marriage in the first wave of states the people of New York have said that these are not our values. The gun laws in NYC are as strict as anywhere in the nation. The police took it seriously, and had the murderer in custody almost instantly. The DA is treating it appropriately. But Jesus, still four a month?

It's not like curing a disease. It's like keeping a garden watered. We've just gotta keep at it.

(But yeah. Jesus.)
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 8:42 AM on May 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


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posted by lord_wolf at 8:47 AM on May 20, 2013


What a shit way to die. Because a drunk asshole happened to have a gun, a completely innocent man is dead for no reason.

This is an easy thing to think, but it ultimately winds up being completely dismissive of the entire situation.

He's not dead because some drunk guy had a gun, and the gun wrestled itself up into the man's hands and fired itself at someone who just happened to be gay. Or that alcohol suddenly wrestled itself up someone's brainstem and turned a nice young man into a murderer.

Mark Carson is dead because a bigot decided that his bigotry made it acceptable to kill. A bigot who had somehow managed to be socialized to think this was an acceptable and appropriate response. Did the alcohol make him more likely to act? Maybe. Did the gun make it more effective? Maybe. But the root of this dead is the bigotry and hatred that made him seek out a man to kill because he was gay.

One thing that I cannot help but think - and apologies if I'm phrasing this badly - is how reactionary some minority communities can be around gay rights, and whether that had anything to do with the incident. The murderer is Hispanic, it would seem - I know there is not a lot of LGBT support in that community. The victim is black. There is a lot of support and safety in white LGBT communities, but I don't know how much the outreach extends to nonwhite communities who tend to fight each other in weird ways.

I wish I knew how to fix that, drag people into the present.
posted by corb at 8:48 AM on May 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


Look, it's a derail, but still,

He's not dead because some drunk guy had a gun

Actually, it looks like that's exactly why he's dead. If you were to ask why he was targeted, it seems it's because he was gay. If you were to ask why he's dead, it seems because he was shot.
posted by gadge emeritus at 8:52 AM on May 20, 2013 [29 favorites]


This happened a block away from the Stonewall Inn.

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posted by elsietheeel at 8:55 AM on May 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


I work in lower Manahattan where, for the most part, a gay couple holding hands or kissing or whatever barely draws a glance, and I remember being somewhat stunned and disgusted at this recent spate of hate crimes. Even in the boroughs, people seemed to have more or less started to adopt a whatever attitude toward homosexuality. Now this shit, and the incident at the Knicks game.

We're better than this , New York. Come on.
posted by jonmc at 8:59 AM on May 20, 2013


I know there is not a lot of LGBT support in [the Hispanic] community

That's not the case; recent data suggests Latino support for gay marriage is *greater* than in the general population. From July 2012, referencing an April survey: Latino Support For Gay Marriage Outpaces General Population :

Latino disdain for same-sex marriage and other legal protections for gay individuals has also been overstated, she said. "The data shows much higher levels of support for gay marriage in the Latino community than assumed and often reported,” Rodriguez-Nogués said. “I think what we are seeing is an issue and a conversation that needs a little more light and air."

In fact, Latinos are slightly more likely than the general public to support legalizing gay marriage and strongly endorse hate crimes protections and civil union options for homosexual couples, according to an April poll released by NCLR and the public opinion research company Social Science Research Solutions.


More recently, exit poll data from last November: Majority of Latinos Support State Recognition of Gay Marriage

Nearly six-in-ten Latino voters (59%) said their state should legally recognize same-sex marriage while 32% said their state should not. But among all voters, about half (48%) favored legalization of gay marriage while nearly the same share said they would oppose it (47%).
posted by mediareport at 9:01 AM on May 20, 2013 [17 favorites]


From Philip K. Dick's letters:
Two items were presented to me for my inspection within a period of fifteen minutes: first, a copy of Wind in the Willows, which I had never read. … A moment after I looked it over someone showed me a two-page photograph in the current Time of the attempted assassination of the President. There the wounded, there the Secret Service man with the Uzi machine gun, there all of them on the assassin. My brain had to try to correlate Wind in the Willows and that photograph. It could not. It never will be able to. I brought the Grahame book home and sat reading it while they tried to get the Columbia to lift off, in vain, as you know. This morning when I woke up I could not think at all; not even weird thoughts, such as assail one upon rising — no thoughts, just a blank. As if my own computers had, in my brain, ceased speaking to one another, like at the Cape. It is hard to believe that the scene of the attempted assassination and Wind in the Willows are part of the same universe. Surely one of them is not real. Mr. Toad sculling a little boat down the stream, and the man with the Uzi. … It is futile to try to make the universe add up. But I guess we must go on anyhow.
This seemed somewhat relevant.
posted by Nomyte at 9:21 AM on May 20, 2013 [26 favorites]


This happened a block away from the Stonewall Inn.

Keep in mind that this particular neighborhood is, on Friday and Saturday nights between Memorial Day and Labor Day, a very very different neighborhood than it is the rest of the year.
posted by elizardbits at 9:23 AM on May 20, 2013


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posted by Gelatin at 9:27 AM on May 20, 2013


So tragic- I don't know what's going on lately but I hope this is the very last of it.

Did they ever find these guys? The video is so clear, I'm surprised there hasn't been an update.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:36 AM on May 20, 2013


I don't understand. I will never understand.

Some people are curious about things that are different; some hate and fear things that are different. Whether that's a product of nature or nurture is poorly understood, but it's a question that's worth spending (or giving) your life to answer.

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posted by Mooski at 9:47 AM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've never understood the "he has relatives" excuse. Hate often trumps blood, and that familial relationship can often keep the hate hidden under the surface, simmering.

It is bizarre. Sure, he's a murderer -- but a homophobe? He would never be capable of such a thing!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:53 AM on May 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Whether that's a product of nature or nurture is poorly understood

IMO children love, until adults teach them to hate.

So sad. Such a waste.

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posted by billiebee at 9:54 AM on May 20, 2013


I almost posted something about the first bias attack this month that I heard about - the bashing outside of Madison Square Garden - because I thought it was so unbelievable. That same week there was another bashing by the 33rd Street PATH station. Two anti-gay attacks in fucking Midtown Manhattan? And now, only a couple of weeks later, an innocent man, Mark Carson, is dead, shot in the face in the West Village? Where the fuck can we be safe if not there?

I respect the people who are leaving dots here, but I don't want a moment of silence. I want to make as much noise as possible.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:02 AM on May 20, 2013 [14 favorites]


a very very different neighborhood than it is the rest of the year.

That has never, ever been my experience, unless you mean there are MORE gay kids on the street.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:03 AM on May 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't understand. I will never understand.

ISAAC: It's too late for you, son. You've got to be taught by your parents.
posted by ceribus peribus at 10:05 AM on May 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


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posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:10 AM on May 20, 2013


Other than to directly preserve a life, there is unequivocally no reason to end a life.


I don't think bigots and their ilk hate people just because they are different than them.

The twisted sickness that lies within them is that fundamental hate; stemming from self-centered fear. Bigotry is just a convenient excuse, whether taught or posed by their own psyche, to "solve" their pathetic problem: Being insecure, afraid, and unwilling to put in any work to find the resolve to become confident and brave.

If it didn't result in so much tragedy to others, it'd simply be sad.


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posted by Debaser626 at 10:14 AM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


It looks like a hate crime. It also looks like mental illness, to me.
posted by surplus at 10:22 AM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


All hate crime is some form of mental illness, as well as some form of terrorism. But throwing nametags at the problem isn't going to help.

I don't have any great words of wisdom, other than just try keeping this sort of thing out of the statistics column. I personally hate hearing about 20% of this crime, or this place being different on such and such nights. All of those numbers are just excuses for our failure as a society to accept one another.

And they do nothing to help the families and friends of those affected.
posted by Blue_Villain at 10:28 AM on May 20, 2013


This particular killer, for example, was a polymorphously violent person already. And in this case we must also consider how he got out of jail, where he got the gun, and so forth.

It looks like a hate crime. It also looks like mental illness, to me.


Yes. It doesn't seem like any particular venom towards gay people. If this had been the 1920s, he would have shot an Irish guy. I wish we'd do a better job of teaching people to get along with one another, and actually helping them in the prison/hospital system, rather than hindering them.

On preview: what Blue_Villain said.
posted by Melismata at 10:31 AM on May 20, 2013


It also looks like mental illness, to me.
All hate crime is some form of mental illness

I disagree. I don't think this man was having a psychotic break. He wasn't accusing his victims of telepathically poisoning them, he was accusing them of being gay. And what about the other four attacks this month? Were they all committed by the mentally ill?

I really don't mean to jump on you here and I don't doubt your intentions are good in saying this. But I don't think calling the perpetrator mentally ill accomplishes anything, other than maybe making people irrationally fear the mentally ill.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:34 AM on May 20, 2013 [13 favorites]


t doesn't seem like any particular venom towards gay people. If this had been the 1920s, he would have shot an Irish guy

Wow, no, this is a misread of the situation. The shooter here used homophobic slurs. He targeted Mark Carson because he perceived that Mark and his friend were gay.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:35 AM on May 20, 2013 [8 favorites]


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posted by Annabelle74 at 10:35 AM on May 20, 2013


Yes. It doesn't seem like any particular venom towards gay people.

I cannot fathom how someone would read the facts of this case that are currently known and come to this conclusion. For example:
Carson and his best friend of 15 years turned to walk away, but Morales followed them, the New York Post reports.

'Do you want to die here?' Morales asked Carson.

He then demanded to know: 'Is he your boy?"

When Carson responded 'Yes,' Morales allegedly pulled out of a silver Taurus .38-caliber pistol and shot Carson once at point-blank range.
(via)
posted by en forme de poire at 10:45 AM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jesus.
posted by sweetkid at 10:46 AM on May 20, 2013


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Hugs to you, yeoz and everyone affected by it. I'm in agreement that silence doesn't help. We only make things better if we bring this bigotry into the sunlight where everyone can see it and take action.
posted by arcticseal at 10:50 AM on May 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes. It doesn't seem like any particular venom towards gay people. If this had been the 1920s, he would have shot an Irish guy.

This is not my understanding of the facts presented in news reports.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:50 AM on May 20, 2013


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posted by sciencegeek at 10:57 AM on May 20, 2013


In light of these events, I'm going out to purchase a rainbow pin or something today to improve my visibility.

I would encourage anyone else to do the same.
posted by Conspire at 10:58 AM on May 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is just speculation; I don't know whether Morales was harassing people on his way over to GV , but half the token booths in the NY subway have been removed, making it far less safe.
posted by brujita at 11:09 AM on May 20, 2013


Germany under Weimar was the most liberal, socially progressive place on earth at the time. Nihil sub sole novum.
posted by perhapsolutely at 11:18 AM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is terrible and makes me very sad.
posted by ambrosia at 11:19 AM on May 20, 2013


What I interpreted Melismata's post to mean was that the a-hole was just directing his hate towards whatever "minority" was prevalent at the time. That person didn't exist 100 years ago, but there were people just like him then... and they were the ones who came up with the brilliant logic that people of Irish descent were not "white".

tl;dr: SSDD

My Extrapolation: Unless we make some significant changes, not just in how we treat minorities, non-whites, non-straights, whatever, but in how we treat EVERYBODY, this SS will continue to happen again in the future. Since we have no idea what particular trait people will be railing against then, we need to make changes now to help those people in the future.
posted by Blue_Villain at 12:28 PM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Please stop playing the mental illness card. Just because someone is a hateful human being and kills someone does not automatically make him mentally ill.
posted by Kokopuff at 12:53 PM on May 20, 2013 [17 favorites]


Since we have no idea what particular trait people will be railing against then, we need to make changes now to help those people in the future

But it's also not like this shit comes out of nowhere. One of the major reasons the Irish were targeted and discriminated against was because of their adherence to Catholicism and their resistance to English colonialism (as a colonized people they had to be described as savages in order to legitimate foreign rule). A second major reason was the influx of Irish immigrants post-famine, which led to the usual fears about large immigrant populations "taking over." These forms of anti-Irish prejudice play on very different anxieties and fears than homophobia.

I totally agree, we should all be better to each other, but if we are actually going to fight bigotry effectively I think it is very dangerous to ignore what specific propaganda bigots believe and how they come to believe it.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:03 PM on May 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure it's a matter of playing a card. People just genuinely don't understand how a sane person could do such a terrible, evil thing. Saying that someone is "hateful" is as much a platitude as calling him "insane", for all that both might be true. Human evil is real, but that doesn't make it comprehensible.
posted by howfar at 1:07 PM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Please stop playing the mental illness card.

I agree it's not necessarily mental illness and to jump to that conclusion maligns the mentally ill, but I always thought "playing a card" meant you were using your perceived societal disadvantage or disability to get extra perks/benefits - "race card," "woman card" than the majority.

As a woman and minority I know I didn't get any set of cards but the areas where I have privilege (class, sexuality) are basically a card-fest so I hate this expression.
posted by sweetkid at 1:22 PM on May 20, 2013


elizardbits: Keep in mind that this particular neighborhood is, on Friday and Saturday nights between Memorial Day and Labor Day, a very very different neighborhood than it is the rest of the year.

roomthreeseventeen: That has never, ever been my experience, unless you mean there are MORE gay kids on the street.

But your first link, roomthreeseventeen, quotes the director of the local LGBT community center saying "Things seem a little more hostile in the Village lately, especially on the weekends, when there is more of a commuter crowd." That seems to imply the neighborhood does get different. It continues:

The police say they have moved to stem felony assaults in the West Village that can often be traced to bar fights and late-night confrontations.

“That’s why there was an impact officer on duty there in the first place, the one who captured the shooter,” said Mr. Browne, referring to officers assigned to areas in need of additional policing. “The Village attracts crowds of visitors, especially on weekends, and impact officers are assigned there as a result.”

posted by mediareport at 1:26 PM on May 20, 2013


So we're having hostility/assault tourism? And people say New York has all the jerks within our city limits.
posted by sweetkid at 1:32 PM on May 20, 2013


I admit I found that a little morbidly funny... even if true, so New York to blame it on the bridge and tunnel crowd.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:45 PM on May 20, 2013


IMO children love, until adults teach them to hate.

I think this is something we'd like to believe, but is not necessarily true - what was that FPP a while ago about babies enjoying when puppets punished other puppets that didn't share the babies' food preferences? I think children do initially identify with people who are like them, and that it actually needs careful teaching by adults to get them /not/ to do that. Leaving them to form naturally doesn't do good things.
posted by corb at 2:03 PM on May 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


IMO children love, until adults teach them to hate.

I think this is something we'd like to believe, but is not necessarily true


I agree, I really don't like the "guileless child" trope because it makes it seem like it's a bad, corrupting thing to grow older, where I think the influence of age, experience and exposure to other cultures and points of view should be encouraged, so that adults can properly be a guide to children, rather than sitting back and musing that it's really children who are wise and understand the world.
posted by sweetkid at 2:29 PM on May 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


Just because someone is a hateful human being and kills someone does not automatically make him mentally ill.

OTOH, I consider killing any other being - for whatever reason, apart from needing to eat - being automatic proof of mental illness. The State does it because people bark for it. An eye-for-an-eye and soon the whole world is blind. Do I think, then, the entire history of humanity rim-to-rim with madness? Yes I do. And the beat goes on.
posted by Twang at 2:39 PM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think that position renders the concept o of mental illness so broadly that it renders the term useless. There can be rational motives to do violence, and even those who commit violence for irrational reasons can still have a grasp on reality.
posted by happyroach at 2:46 PM on May 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


OTOH, I consider killing any other being - for whatever reason, apart from needing to eat - being automatic proof of mental illness.

Then you are dealing with a definition of 'mental illness' which has nothing to do whatsoever with how it's typically used. Let's nix this derail, kids.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:53 PM on May 20, 2013 [16 favorites]


IMO children love, until adults teach them to hate.

“It was nice to hear the voices of little children at play, provided you took care to be far enough away not to hear what they were actually saying.”
posted by Garm at 3:10 PM on May 20, 2013 [9 favorites]


I think the influence of age, experience and exposure to other cultures and points of view should be encouraged

I totally agree. But children are guileless in terms of concepts, if not behaviour which might have an evolutionary advantage. Their ideas about the world, at least at a very young age, are helped form by those around them. So while adults should be providing them with a positive experience and exposure to other cultures etc, if they grow up in a society - family group, school system, country - that is homophobic then I believe they'll learn that hate. I don't think it's innate. Experience doesn't have to mean corruption.
posted by billiebee at 3:19 PM on May 20, 2013


> IMO children love, until adults teach them to hate.

So... where did the hate come from in the first place?

But I have to believe you don't have much experience with kids. They can be extremely loving - but they can also be blood-thirsty selfish hellions - and with very little transition between the two states.

> I don't think it's innate.

Both love and hate are innate. The reason we bring up kids and don't leave them to fend for themselves is to accentuate one and keep a lid on the other.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:08 PM on May 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


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posted by treepour at 4:22 PM on May 20, 2013


I know kids can hate. (I have siblings.) Or at least feel a destructive urge. I didn't mean they're taught how to hate, rather who to hate. I was in a bit of an emotional place having just read the story, so maybe I didn't phrase it very clearly. I don't think hating specific groups of people is innate, I think that is taught. And I say that as someone who grew up where people (including one of my dad's employees) were shot dead on the street because of their religion. And now, working with victims and perpetrators, they say they learned that hate at home, and in school.

How early are kids taught about difference? How positive is their first encounter with the other, whatever that is to them? Are schools pro-actively anti- homophobic bullying for example? Or is it expected that parents teach about difference? Do they? If we're raising kids to accentuate the love and keep a lid on the hate, how come we're doing such a mediocre job?
posted by billiebee at 4:53 PM on May 20, 2013


No, I meant the Boston bombings made *me* more conscious of street events as targets.
posted by spitbull at 5:29 PM on May 20, 2013


Also, maryr, in my view these attacks on gay New Yorkers are also attacks on "everyone." There are very few New Yorkers who are not offended by crimes like this, on a visceral level.
posted by spitbull at 5:34 PM on May 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


OTOH, I consider killing any other being - for whatever reason, apart from needing to eat - being automatic proof of mental illness.

Then you are dealing with a definition of 'mental illness' which has nothing to do whatsoever with how it's typically used. Let's nix this derail, kids.
posted by shakespeherian


I sympathize with what I take to be your feelings about this, shakespeherian, but I don't think bringing in mental illness really is a derail.

A very good article linked in an excellent recent FPP mentions schizophrenia expert E. Fuller Torrey's work on the role of mental illness in homicides:
Ten percent of US homicides, he estimates based on an analysis of the relevant studies, are committed by the untreated severely mentally ill—like my schizophrenic cousin. And, he says: "I'm thinking that's a conservative estimate."

Saying that the severely mentally ill are disproportionately responsible for homicides has made Torrey, author of The Insanity Offense and the forthcoming American Psychosis, unpopular in some circles. ...
If something like this is true, the apparent lack of any prior relationship between the killer and the victim would seem to raise the probability that mental illness played an important role in the crime to well above ten percent.
posted by jamjam at 8:40 PM on May 20, 2013


[Unless there is some reporting that the guy was mentally ill, the "are killers ipso facto mentally ill?" thing is a derail and one that we've gone over many times. Maybe let's hold off on going there for now?]
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:00 PM on May 20, 2013 [7 favorites]


I find the word "derail" to be prejudiced towards a single conclusion regarding the root causes of this hate crime.

As if there was a track with a singular destination. And actual inexorable progress towards it.
posted by surplus at 5:51 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


He's not dead because some drunk guy had a gun

Actually, it looks like that's exactly why he's dead. If you were to ask why he was targeted, it seems it's because he was gay. If you were to ask why he's dead, it seems because he was shot.


When we ask for the cause or explanation for something, we're usually asking for the most salient explanatory factor, when there are normally (perhaps always) a large number of explanatory/causal factors. The patient is dead because he suffered heart failure...during an operation which taxed a system already weakened by infection and illness...and he was overweight, and a person who was fitter would have survived that, and the doctor make a small error, and the patient was getting on up in middle age, and... What was the cause of death again? (I think this may have been discussed recently here, even...)

This person seems to have been killed because a drunken, violent, bigoted person had a gun, and was looking to make his pathetic self feel like a big man by brutalizing people. There doesn't seem to be any good reason to pick out any one of those facts as most salient... And there's a danger of grinding political axes here. That he was targeted by such a person is part of the explanation of why he is dead. There are a lot of factors here such that, if eliminated, would change the outcome.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 7:21 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I get annoyed (read: furious) when hate crimes get explained away with mental illness or dissected into 'a large number of explanatory/causal factors'. No one talked about how all violence is primarily caused by mental illness in the Mother's Day shooting thread. In the Boston Bomber thread, the mental illness discussion was quickly quieted, and all further accusations of insanity were directed at False Flaggers. But here, clearly, hatred had some role, but no more than the perpetrator being obviously mentally disturbed [citation needed], being drunk, or owning a gun. Really it was just a sad, unavoidable confluence of factors. No. Plenty of people manage to do one, two, or even all three of these things without shouting slurs at a gay person, stalking them, and then attacking them.

I know I'm being a bit irrational, and the people upthread probably aren't intentionally trying to minimize hate crimes (and casually reinforce stigma against the mentally ill at the same time). But it's hard not to see this pattern of downplaying these things with excuses, and seeing it continued into metafilter makes me very sad.
posted by Garm at 7:57 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


"A gay couple was attacked early Tuesday in SoHo, hours after thousands marched to protest the killing of a gay man and several other bias attacks that have shaken the community, NBC 4 New York has learned."
posted by rtha at 10:27 AM on May 21, 2013


ugh this is making me so angry. What the hell New York?
posted by sweetkid at 10:28 AM on May 21, 2013


Goddamnit people. What the fuck is wrong with you? If I physically attacked every person that I didn't agree with there'd be a lot of fundies out there in a world of hurt. But I'm a grownup human being and I know THAT'S NOT THE WAY YOU SOLVE DIFFERENCES. I grew up with some pretty hands-off parenting and yet I still learned that violence isn't a solution. Jeezy creezy.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:26 AM on May 21, 2013


who are you yelling at?
posted by sweetkid at 11:27 AM on May 21, 2013


I am ineffectually yelling at the sort of people who perpetrate hate crimes. It made me feel better for a few seconds.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:34 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Really has me wondering whether these are copycat crimes or something more organized...
posted by en forme de poire at 12:24 PM on May 21, 2013


Speaking of the damage homophobia can do:
Dominique Venner, the far-right French essayist who shot himself before the altar of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Tuesday, was a bitter opponent of same-sex marriage and influence of Islam in France.

In the final entry in his blog, dated the day of his death, he wrote about the failure of peaceful mass protests to prevent the passage of the marriage law and talked of "new, spectacular and symbolic gestures to wake up the sleep walkers and shake the anaesthetised consciousness".
posted by rtha at 1:04 PM on May 21, 2013


Maybe it sounds heartless, but I would rather that a homophobe kill himself than someone else.
posted by jb at 5:44 PM on May 21, 2013


Of course, for homophobe you could read anyone driven by hate.
posted by jb at 5:45 PM on May 21, 2013


I am apparently two degrees away on Facebook from the third person recently attacked in rtha's link - just showed up in my feed. It was already clear how close to home this has been going on, but that just cemented it even further.
posted by en forme de poire at 5:07 PM on May 22, 2013


When Queers Bash Back
Getting thrown out of a bar is trivial compared to being beaten or murdered for being gay, but note that in all of these instances, neither federal hate-crime laws nor New York City's anti-discrimination protections stopped some drunk guy from going after a gay person. And in each of these cases, the situation escalated after the homophobe was confronted. In the same way the takeaway is not that gay people should meekly accept harassment, neither is it the case that hate-crime and anti-discrimination laws are useless because they fail to stop gay people from ever being victimized.

In the long run, the only way to make anti-gay hate crimes less frequent is by changing the culture. This happens, as my colleague E.J. Graff has pointed out, through countless face-to-face interactions in which our neighbors realize we aren't the monsters some have painted us out to be. It happens by passing positive gay-rights legislation like marriage equality as well as codifying society's disapproval of anti-gay prejudice in hate-crimes laws. In these cases, it's a long-term game.

Change also happens when gay people are bold enough to stand up to prejudice, to turn around and confront the asshole who just called you a fag. This creates friction, and in the most tragic cases leads to violence. But I don't think any of us would be satisfied with the alternative. In light of the attacks, for the next few weeks I imagine gay men in New York will be far more likely to bite their tongue and keep walking when epithets are hurled at them on the street. They'll look over their shoulder a bit more, be a bit more conscious in public spaces that they're gay and that some people are "not okay with that." But my hope is that that caution will quickly wear off and that gay New Yorkers get back to being their brash selves. In the long run, the more gay guys are willing to make a scene when someone calls them a fag, the fewer drunk assholes there will be to call them one.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:03 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Zombieflanders, that reminds me of this quote from the "poignant recap" link in the FPP:
Interestingly, a straight young woman who lives on that block confessed that her initial impulse was to text her gay friends, warning them to “dial it down” so that no one on the street would know they’re gay, but that, after hearing the speakers, she realized that this was the wrong lesson - that we should “dial it up,” to demand our right to exist. ”DIAL IT UP” became a chant, briefly.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:42 PM on May 23, 2013


Also, from this account of the attack:
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the victim and his attacker shared a pitcher of sangria at the Yuca Bar, then had beers and a few shots at a bar called the Boiler Room on E. Fourth St." ... "Initially, the conversation was friendly, with (Roman) noting that he had family who were gay, but, suddenly, according to victim, the assailant just snapped," Kelly said. "He became enraged and yelled anti gay expletives."
WTF?? I've been to the Boiler Room. It's a gay bar. This makes no sense.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:52 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, it makes perfect sense.
posted by mediareport at 8:31 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


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