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Hatecrimes
August 8, 2008 12:03 PM   Subscribe

In Utah, mob mentality rules. A gay man either kidnapped his next-door-neighbors' two children, or he took them in because they couldn't sleep during an all night party at their own house -- depending upon who you ask. The children were gone from their own home for only ten minutes. What is certain is that a retaliatory mob broke into drag queen David Bell's house and brutally attacked him and his lover. But no charges will be filed against the mob.

A little-reported fact was that a nephew of the family witnessed the crying children knock on Bell's door in apparent search for their parents.
posted by punkbitch (40 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
what a convoluted post. could've been cleaner. also, should that read "he and his lover"? i think i'm losing my mind...
posted by punkbitch at 12:20 PM on August 8, 2008


'should that read "he and his lover'"

No. They brutally attacked him. They brutally attacked his lover. They brutally attacked him and his lover.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:23 PM on August 8, 2008 [8 favorites]


From the links you posted, it seems very unlikely that this was a kidnapping. But even if it were, the mob didn't really have any evidence of it. And even if they did, going over en masse to break into the house of your neighbor and beat them until the walls are splashed with blood has got to still be a crime, doesn't it? Or were lynch mobs legalized recently and I'm not aware of it?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:24 PM on August 8, 2008 [6 favorites]


That is some godawful reporting by the Salt Lake Tribune and it's almost as though they want him lynched. Significant facts, such as the victim's sexuality and the location of the children are presented as ambiguous or purely sympathetic to the attackers. Whether or not the children were located in the bedroom certainly seems important to the commentators, but instead of discussing the issue, Alberty lets the attackers tell the story. Twice they mention the bedroom, with no dissent. But the victim, well, some say he's gay.

Erin Alberty should be ashamed of herself as a writer and as a person. If the Trib had any sense of journalistic integrity (ha) this person would not be working for them.
posted by allen.spaulding at 12:24 PM on August 8, 2008


An appaling story. "him and his lover" is correct.
posted by boo_radley at 12:25 PM on August 8, 2008


Insufficient evidence? Don't they all admit to beating him severely?
posted by aubilenon at 12:28 PM on August 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


I think they said he tripped and fell.
posted by Big_B at 12:28 PM on August 8, 2008


Even if they didn't, what do they think? They attacked themselves with a television set?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:29 PM on August 8, 2008


God, how deeply, deeply fucked.

Insufficient evidence? Don't they all admit to beating him severely?

I'm boggled too. Is there some sort of crime-of-passion thing getting in the way of a felony charge here, or is this just sheer unmitigated bullshit?
posted by cortex at 12:31 PM on August 8, 2008


I'm not surprised they haven't charged anyone. My guess is they figure there's little likelihood of a conviction, so the DA doesn't want to waste her time trying a losing case.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:33 PM on August 8, 2008


The comments on the SLWeekly article...wow.
posted by fixedgear at 12:34 PM on August 8, 2008


So the kids were *locked* in the house while the adults partied until dawn?
posted by notsnot at 12:35 PM on August 8, 2008


allen.spalding, i totally agree. the slweekly article is far, far better...
posted by punkbitch at 12:36 PM on August 8, 2008


Yeah, other than the general extreme outrage that I'm sure others will continue to mirror, this just reinforces something I've noticed for awhile:

I don't think anything I've ever read has made me want to move to Utah.
posted by Stunt at 12:39 PM on August 8, 2008 [5 favorites]


Hey, they were totally justified. Those preverts could've raped the boys and then cloned their dogs.
posted by wendell at 12:45 PM on August 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Did you just post this to depress me? Mission accomplished.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:50 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wait a minute. The Weekly article states that "Prosecutors are reviewing possible assault charges against at least two people." I don't see anything in the Trib article to contradict that. So although no one's been charged yet, maybe these people will be brought to justice.
posted by gurple at 1:10 PM on August 8, 2008


In Utah, mob mentality rules.

I've lived there, and it doesn't. Don't lamely editorialize your FPPs.
posted by Avenger50 at 1:16 PM on August 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


They tried to cut off his toe with a sheet of broken glass? This is a pretty clear example of why mob mentality is never a good thing; someone was in his house, assaulting him, and thought that the most demonstrable form that Justice could take, would be to remove a part of his foot.

Mobs are kind of terrifying, and the DA shouldn't have given them a pass.
posted by quin at 1:16 PM on August 8, 2008


The two-year-old girl's mother, Lulu Latu, addressed the court asking the judge to not allow Bell to be released.

"I cry every time I think about what he's done," Latu said of Bell. "We have had to relocate our family because the children no longer feel safe in the home."


Which couldn't have anything to do with the fact that they now know that their family is a group of vicious, violent thugs....
posted by mudpuppie at 1:23 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


No. They brutally attacked him. They brutally attacked his lover. They brutally attacked him and his lover.

Grammar can be fun!
posted by Bookhouse at 1:59 PM on August 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


So although no one's been charged yet, maybe these people will be brought to justice.

Tried by a jury of their Utah peers? In front of a judge elected in Utah? And the accused not wearing him Mormon underwear?
posted by three blind mice at 2:16 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


"High on Jesus or hooked on dope"
posted by GreyFoxVT at 2:27 PM on August 8, 2008


Utah, a preview of the coming American theocracy!
posted by sotonohito at 2:30 PM on August 8, 2008


The Magic Underwear State/religion has a bit of a history of mob violence and vigilantism.
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:48 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dogpile on Utah! Wheeeee!

I'm pretty sure that every act of violence in the state can be traced back to the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Gang violence? Mountain Meadows. Drunken rednecks? Mountain meadows. Have we established that the perpetrators were avenging Mormon angels yet, or is mere residence in the state proof that Brigham Young's ghost told them to cleanse their neighborhood?
posted by mecran01 at 3:05 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just canceled my ski trip to Utah
posted by Mick at 3:05 PM on August 8, 2008


I thought the perps were Tongan Crips?
posted by fixedgear at 3:21 PM on August 8, 2008


Yeah not cool blaming all of Utah for this. And what a fucked up story. So you throw an all night party your kids leave the house cause they're sick of your drunk ass and when you find them you beat up the neighbor, real classy.
posted by nola at 6:55 PM on August 8, 2008


And seriously looking through this thread, peopel if your not from the state in question do everyone a favor and leave the tar and feathers at home. Talk about mob mentality.
posted by nola at 6:58 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


forgive me

Metafilter: Talk about mob mentality
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:01 PM on August 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


Much of what is said about Utah is misinformed and overgeneralized, but it is true that one thing the state does not have is a good news outlet.

It sounds like this is all still in progress, and it seems likely that there are enough people who care about seeing justice served that we probably don't need to throw up our hands and give up on the case (or the whole state, for that matter) just yet.
posted by doift at 7:08 PM on August 8, 2008


and it seems likely that there are enough people who care about seeing justice served that we probably don't need to throw up our hands and give up on the case (or the whole state, for that matter) just yet.

Yeeeeeeeah. After 20 years living in a red state.... call me when justice is served. I'll just be over here behind locked doors, turning off the lights and ignoring calls for help from the neighbors, lest I get the crap kicked out of me for helping.
posted by electrasteph at 7:45 PM on August 8, 2008


This piling on Utah is just as ignorant an attitude as that of any of the beaters in the story. I am a socially active northeast liberal who recently moved up to northern Utah where the mix is 65-35 Mormon to non, and I have never experienced anything other than acceptance and kindness from my neighbors, Mormon or otherwise. I started a small business and am active in a couple local organizations and I've never encountered anything worse than general friendliness here. As for the local "freaks," there are plenty of them here ranging from goths and tattoo-people to gay and lesbian folks and there are even more in Salt Lake City where the Mormon to non-Mormon ratio is 50-50.

There are also a lot of ignorant people who could be described as "rednecks," and it sounds like that is what helped create the situation in the above story, but I wouldn't be shocked if something similar happened near Boston and I know for certain it would have happened more easily in Florida (where I last lived). My point: Utah and Mormons have nothing to do with it - this is about Americans.
posted by crazy finger at 10:16 PM on August 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Hey avenger50, my posting abilities are shot. I merely meant to say that in this particular instance mob mentality rules in Utah, not that at all times it rules.

Gurple, the Weekly article is older. The Tribune article, announcing that no one will be charged, is the most up to date info.
posted by punkbitch at 11:51 PM on August 8, 2008


Grew up in South Salt Lake. If you blame geography again, your toe is mine.

Seriously though, she just locked her kids up? Utah state law is pretty unforgivable when it comes to child neglect.
posted by OrangeDrink at 11:58 PM on August 8, 2008


One of the most depressing things to come out of the comments was the strong advice that if kids come to you in the night looking for help that you do not invite them in. You shut the door, leave them there, call the cops and wait the 10 minutes for them to show up.

It just seems like everyone's so terrified of misinterpretation that it's better to leave the kids to take care of themselves. Shut your eyes and the door and you'll be fine.
posted by OrangeDrink at 12:04 AM on August 9, 2008


Yes, that's scary - having a two year old and a four year old crying on your front porch while you call the cops. Poor kids, as if it's not enough to keep waking up to the noise of loud parents partying, they were just looking for a safe spot. Then again, depending on the kids bedtime that might be the hour they get up - I know my daughter does that every Saturday morning that I really need to sleep late...
posted by dabitch at 12:30 AM on August 9, 2008


Asshats.
posted by flippant at 1:07 AM on August 9, 2008


This piling on Utah is just as ignorant an attitude as that of any of the beaters in the story.

Yeah. Because making a vague, possibly-bigoted comment on an internet forum board is the moral equivalent of joining a mob in beating someone bloody.
posted by straight at 10:03 PM on August 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


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