Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The murder of Jason Shepherd

Almost everyone knows the name, Matthew Shepherd. He was the homosexual man from Wyoming who was tortured and left to die. The media reported that he was targeted because he was homosexual. A prominent mainline media anchor even implied that Christianity was the cause. And every media outlet in the country covered the story endlessly. It became the basis for the push against hate crimes laws.

It came out later, however, that Matthew Shepherd was the victim of some thugs committing a robbery. It certainly had nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity.

The murder of Matthew Shepherd was a terrible atrocity and those who committed it deserved the death penalty. But the murders of Jason Shepherd, Jesse Dirkhising and Mary Stachowicz are also tragedies. What, you never heard of Jason Shepherd, Jesse Dirkhising and Mary Stachowicz?

That's because Jason Shepherd, Jesse Dirkhising and Mary Stachowicz were all murdered by homosexuals (Read the story at OneNewsNow) and the national media largely ignored them.

This raises at least a couple of questions. First, why should the murder of a homosexual by a heterosexual be more heinous than the murder of a heterosexual by a homosexual? Aren't both lives equally worthy of protection under the law?

Hate crimes legislation would punish the former more than the latter. That violates the whole idea of equal protection under the law. It is not justice.

Second, why has the media pretty much ignored the murders of Dirkising, Stachowicz and Jason Shepherd? The answer is that media bias is as thick as cow manure and stinks just as much too.

14 comments:

Steve said...

First of all, the idea that Matthew Shepherd was not killed because he was gay is an idea proffered by the perpetrators themselves and picked up by anti-gay conservatives like John Stossel. The next thing you'l be telling us is that James earl Ray wasn't a racist.

Second of all the murders you cite are indeed heinous but the victims were not killed because they were heterosexual. Every year gays are assaulted and murdered solely because they are gay. According to FBI statistics more than 1400 hate crimes were committed against gays last year, while zero people were murdered last year for being heterosexual. The FBI relies on reporting from local authorities for its statistics. Since many gays are reluctant to come forward after they have been victims of a hate crime these statistics are low. According to a recent study four in ten gays have been the targets of violence or property crime.

jazzycat said...

Any hate crime laws are a bad idea because they make a crime out of a motive for the actual crime. Therefore, if the motive is a crime it follows that the motive (hate) without a crime is a stand alone crime. This makes speech that expresses hate a crime. The problem then becomes what hate speech do you allow and what do you endorse as freedom of speech.

We have seen the left defend Ward Chruchill for his outrageous statements under the banner of freedom of speech, but label all speech that calls homosexuality a sin as hate speech......

We should punish crimes and not motives.

Dennis said...

Steve,

So Matthew Shepherd must have been killed because he was homosexual even though the perpetrators said the crime was robbery, but the murder of Jason Shepherd by a homosexual had nothing to do with a homosexual killing a heterosexual even though the homosexual murderer began the crime by giving Jason Shepherd a date-rape drug? Please!

Jazzycat, you are absolutly right. Hate crimes laws are applied very selectively. If they were applied consistently, there are a lot of gays at the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco who should be charged with hate crimes against Christians!

Steve said...

No, I am saying Matthew Shepherd was killed because he was gay because there was testimony at his trial that the perpetrators planned to rob a gay man and because their original defense was a "gay panic" defense and it was only after they were convicted that they claimed it had nothing to do with his being gay.

The murderer of Jason Shepherd did not target his victim because of hatred toward heterosexuals, he was a rapist. There are also thousands of heterosexual rapists who also have used date rape drugs to perpetrate their crimes but they are no reflection on the vast amjority of heterosexuals who are not rapists.

It's one thing to believe that homosexuality is a sin. It is quite another to sully the reputation of young man who was tortured to death and imply that a heinous rapist and murderer is somehow representative of gay people. There are no words to describe how offensive and hateful that is.

Jason said...

Steve,

How would you then argue against hate crime? Let's just say that you are right about the men torturing and beating Matthew Shepherd. And lets say that Dennis is right about Jason Shepherd. Should one be treated differently, or should judgement be reserved with more indignation for someone if they are of a certain group (i.e. homosexuals, etc...). Or, as it has been stated, should the law not be applied equally?

Steve said...

I was not commenting one way or another on hate crimes laws (which I, in fact, oppose). I was commenting on Dennis's agenda, which was to call into question the idea that gay men and women are the victims of violence in this country solely because of their sexual orientation, by slandering the memory of one young man and drawing false parallels between the crime committed against him and the crime committed against someone else who had a similar name. The fact is that gays are often the victims of violent crimes solely on the basis of their sexual orientation and that these crimes are usually committed by people whose hatred of gays, rightly or wrongly, arises out of what they are told by religious leaders. Dennis is always talking about how Muslims should stand up and fight extremists who commit terrorism but he refuses to stand up against homophobia and in posts like these justifies and rationalizes violence committed against gays.

Jason said...

You're dodging the point and the inevitable logical conclusion to your statements.

"The fact is that gays are often the victims of violent crimes solely on the basis of their sexual orientation and that these crimes are usually committed by people whose hatred of gays..."

Right, so you would be for hate crime's then. You believe that "hate" for something should be punishable, rather than just the act in itself. Besides, Christians and Heterosexuals are persecuted too...or does that not matter as much because they aren't minorities? How is it a false parallel besides the name? Should not all groups persecuted be equally justified under law?

Steve said...

Read what I wrote, Jason. I never said anything about hate crime laws or punishments. I was only pointing out that the motives for these crimes were quite different. Matthew Shepherd was killed because of his sexual orientation by people who killed out of hatred. Jason Shepherd was the victim of a rapist. I did not say anything about one crime being worse or giving more punishment to one rather than the other. They were both heinous crimes. I also think violence against Christians or heterosexuals are also heinous.

While I do not believe in passing special laws against hate crimes (since motives for murder are already considered in sentencing), I don't think we should ignore them either. I think we have to be vigilant in identifying where this hatred comes from and speak out against it and educate our children that it is wrong to hate someone because they are different.

Dennis apparently believes that it is all right to hate gay people and the reason he wants to denigrate Matthew Shepherd and highlight the murder of Jason Shepherd and draw parallels between them, even though they share only a name and the fact that they were both murdered, is that he thinks this will further his anti-gay agenda. He wants you to believe that Matthew Shepherd somehow deserved being killed for his "sinful" lifestyle and that Jason Shepherd's murderers are somehow representative of gay people in general.

The difference between what I believe and what Dennis believes is that I do believe it is wrong for any group to be persecuted while Dennis believes persecuting gays is fine. Jesus, of course, would disagree with Dennis and agree with me.

Dennis said...

Steve wrote,

It's one thing to believe that homosexuality is a sin. It is quite another to sully the reputation of young man who was tortured to death..."

I have never said or written anything to "sully" the reputation of Matthew Shepherd!

Read my post! I wrote that the murder of Matthew Shepherd was a terrible atrocity and that the murderers deserved the death penalty.

Will you agree with me on that?

Steve continued, "...and imply that a heinous rapist and murderer is somehow representative of gay people."

I never implied that this case was somehow representative of gay people! I was complaining about media bias and how some have used Matthew Shepherd as if the thugs who killed him were somehow representative of Christians or even most streight people.

Steve wrote, "Dennis...refuses to stand up against homophobia..."

If I refuse to stand up against homophobia is it because homophobia is a meaningles word thown about in an effort to intimidate anyone who disagrees with anything radical gay people support! If I even argue that anal sex is a leading contributor to AIDS (an absolute fact) someone will scream "homophobia." I oppose such manipulation.

Steve continued, "and in posts like these justifies and rationalizes violence committed against gays." Not satisifed with such lies, Steve also wrote,

"Dennis apparently believes that it is all right to hate gay people...He wants you to believe that Matthew Shepherd somehow deserved being killed for his "sinful" lifestyle"

Search my blog, Steve. Interview my students. I have NEVER, EVER, justified or rationalized violence against gays. I do NOT hate gay people. I think violence against gay people is abhorent and I have consistently condemned it.

For you to write such blatant lies about me comes very close to libel
(http://www.answers.com/topic/libel)which is punishable by law.

Steve said...

I have been reading your blog for years. You always claim that you don't hate gays, and then you go on to attack them and repeat the same lies even when I or others have pointed them out such as the lie that Matthew Shepherd was not targeted because he was gay. The fact that you think "homophobia" is a meaningless word betrays your agenda. How can you not believe that there are people who hate gays in this country? How can you deny that they are often the victims of violence and persecution when statistics show otherwise?

You single out gay people as causing AIDS when in fact lesbians have the lowest rate of AIDS of any group and heterosexual sex is the leading spreader of AIDS in Africa. And you ignore the fact that many gay men practice anal intercourse with condoms and do not get AIDS. But such facts get in the way of your anti-gay agenda.

Instead of writing constantly about gay murderers and gays attacking Christians, and instead of smearing someone like Matthew Shepherd, a young man who was not simply the victim of a robbery as you would like to believe, but someone who was tortured and tied to a fence and left to die because he was gay, why don't you ever write about the many gay people who have been victims of violence, who are kicked out of their families and who are attacked by people calling themselves Christians? Then I would believe you didn't have an anti-gay agenda.

And, no, I don't agree with you that his murderers deserve the death penalty. I agree with Matthew Shepherd's parents who asked prosecutors to spare his murderers the death penalty to "mercy to someone who refused to show any mercy." They are more Christian than you will ever be.

Dennis said...

Steve wrote, "The fact that you think "homophobia" is a meaningless word betrays your agenda. How can you not believe that there are people who hate gays in this country?"

I have NEVER denied that there are people who hate gays in this country!

The fact that I think the word homophobia is used as a manipulation "club" to beat the opposition into submission has absolutely nothing to do with whether people hate gays.

Of course there are people who hate gays. And I have consistently said that I do not hate gays and I have consistently condemned violence against gays.

Yet because I am not on the same page as Steve on this issue, he lies about me telling other readers that I justify or rationalize violence against gays, or that I think Matthew Shepherd deserved to die! These are absolute bald-faced lies and Steve knows it.

I challenge any readers who have read this far down to go to the front page of this blog and find my subject link to homosexuality in the left column.

Then read everything I've ever posted on this subject. See if you can fine a single time when I said or implied that all gays were violent or hateful.

See if you can find a single time when I advocated hatred or violence against gays.

Its simply not there and Steve knows it.

But Steve's rants illustrate the danger in hate crimes laws.

Even though I have consistently condemned hatred and violence against gays, Steve accuses me of homophobia, hatred, and advocating violence anyway! If there were hate crimes laws someone like Steve would undoubtedly charge me with promoting violence and hate against gay people even though such charges are absolutley groundless.

But just the threat of having to defend one's self against such frivolous lawsuits would have a chilling effect on free speech.

Steve asks, "why don't you ever write about the many gay people who have been victims of violence, who are kicked out of their families and who are attacked by people calling themselves Christians?"

First, because I think that only a small fraction of those who call themselves Christians really are.

Second, because if there is violence by Christians against gays, you can bet the mainstream media will cover it. But mainstream media often ignores stories in which gay people express violence and hatred against others.

Right wing blogs like mine often focus on things the mainstream media ignore.

Third, if you know of any such stories, please feel free to send them to me. I will probably post them.

Finally: Steve. I'm shocked! You don't think Matthew Sheperd's torturers should be punished? You think they deserve mercy? You think they should be set free to torture and murder other gay people? What a hateful, homophobic monster you must be! How could you be so heartless and hateful!

OK, I know you didn't advocate any of that, but I feel like this is the kind of argumentation you are using against me. I would be interested in having a sane discussion if you can drop the lies and personal attacks.

For example, I will concede that I did not know that "there was testimony at his trial that the perpetrators planned to rob a gay man and because their original defense was a "gay panic" defense."

I will take your word for that, so I stand corrected.

We will have to agree to disagree, however about Jason Shepherd. When a man gives another man a date rape drug we are not just talking about rape, we are talking about the rape of an innocent victim by someone who is homosexual.

That doesn't mean that all homosexuals are rapists or violent. I never implied such a thing. My point was that media coverage is such that when a homosexual man (Matthew Shepherd) gets murdered, everyone in the country knows--even 10 years later--all about Matthew Shepherd. And yet when somone is murdered by a homosexual, the media is silent.

When some homosexuals as events like the Folsom Street fair go out of their way to be as incredibly mocking and hateful toward Christiantity as possible, and when some homosexuals in the recent proposition 8 demonstrations in California got violent--it got relatively little attention in the media.

This is just not right and someone needs to draw attention to it.

Regardind your assertion that heterosexual sex is the leading spreader of AIDS in Africa: I've read studies that flatly contradict your assertion. If you have support, I'd like to see it.

Regarding your assertion that gay men who use condoms do not get AIDS, it is true that condoms may lessen the risk, but I've never seen any study or article that says condoms eliminate the risk. I have seen studies that show that many gay men ignore the risk and choose not to use condoms, however.

So I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree, but to say that I simply ignore the studies because it doesn't fit my agenda is not only untrue, it does not further helpful dialog.

Steve said...

If there were hate crime laws, Dennis, I wouldn't charge you with anything because, as I have already said, I am opposed to hate crime laws. I think it's a good thing that your homophobia is exposed to the light of day. That is typical of the strawmen you set up to make yourself look like a victim.

Your claim that you only cover topics the mainstream media ignores is a typical cop-out. You cover plenty of things the mainstream media does not ignore. What you usually ignore is anything that doesn't fit your agenda and puts conservatives or Christians in a bad light. And the mainstream media gave ample coverage to gay protests against Proposition 8, even when it did not put gays in the best light. I thought some of the protests went overboard just as I thought some of the actions of Prop 8 supporters were objectionable, such as threatening businesses that donated money to defeat it. You, of course, didn't cover that.

Just because the media has not given a lot of coverage to Jason Shepherd's murder is not evidence of some sort of conspiracy. There are plenty of murders they don't cover (especially against, say, black women) and they certainly have covered plenty gay murderers such as Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy as well as straight one. And the media gave a lot of coverage to Matthew Shepherd's murder because it was a particularly brutal crime and it became a symbol of the many, many murders committed against gay people that don't get much coverage. Have you heard of Duanna Johnson? Moses "Teish" Cannon? Milton Lindgren, and Eric Hendricks? David Cooper? I thought not. Creating conspiracy theories and blaming the media is just another example of your trying to see yourself as a victim and ignoring the real victims.

I and others have had these arguments with you before. You act shocked -- shocked -- that someone would accuse you of homophobia, you will concede a few points like the one about Matthew Shepherd, and then in a few months you will repeat that very same lie about him again and post more attacks on gays and then act shocked if you are called on it again.

professor ed said...

I have read what passes for a "discussion" between you and Dennis. It is obvious to me, and to anyone else of rational mind, that you are totally incapable of carrying on a rational, well-thought dialogue on this subject. Anybody can throw around "loaded words" like homophobia", as a subsitute for an in-depth discussion. I hope in the future when, or if, you choose to participate on this blog, you will keep the phrase "civil discussion" very much in mind.

Steve said...

Professor Ed, I have seen this kind of rhetoric before. You want to deny that homophobia or racism or misogyny exists so you claim that anyone who uses these words is not engaging in a "civil discussion." It's just a tactic to avoid discussing anything that doesn't fit into your world view and I don't except your premises.