Sunday, August 02, 2009

Tears and anger

This entry will be updated periodically as information becomes available and updates will be in bold.

It is hard for me to get a handle on my emotions about this incident. I am fucking furious and deeply saddened by the incident tonight in Tel Aviv. A group for gay teens was meeting at a local gay community center when a man with a machine gun broke in and sprayed the room with bullets.

These were kids who are came together for counseling and emotional support. They were there with the counselor who runs the group. And some fucking bastard walks in and wants to murder them.

Let's take a guess, a wild stab in the dark. Anyone think it might have to do with hatred for people who are gay? Anyone want to guess the odds that the murdering SOB was religiously inspired?

Be clear, as some media reports are wrong, this was not a bar or club that was open to the public. This was a support group for gay teens. The killer had to have picked this group in particular, research was necessary to carry out this crime. The killer knew who he was targeting, this was not a random act of violence, but one that was particularly pointed at gay young people.
At least eleven, some reports say as high as 15, young people were hospitalized, and two are dead. Two of the hospitalized are in critical condition though some reports say four are in critical condition. And for their parents this is a double-shock. Many of the parents were unaware that their children were dealing with the difficulty of being gay. The BBC confirms: "One worker at the centre said some parents of the teenagers did not know their children were gay until they received phone calls telling them their children had been injured."

Or Gil, 16, said the group was "for 14- to 21-year-olds" and says, "I'm horrified to think that this was the way parents of some of my friends will find out [that there children are gay.]" Gil describes the incident:
At about 10:40 P.M. someone came over, all dressed in black and wearing a black mask. I thought it was a joke at first, but he immediately opened fired. People took cover under the bed and tables, but there were no screams. I hid under the table with someone else. It's a small place, there's just one terrace. Once you're inside, there's nowhere to run."
Police say they are searching for the gunman and have made it clear that they do NOT believe the attack was carried out by Palestinians or that the attack is connected to the continuing conflict in the region.

Let me state that while the murderer himself bears the ultimate responsibility, that all purveyors of hate and bigotry play their role. Those groups that preach hatred, teach hatred, know that ultimately people act on their beliefs. I am not saying that their free speech should be curtailed. But I am also saying that decent people ought to point fingers at these hate-mongers and let them know that they help encourage these very things. Maggie Gallagher helps encourage this sort of thing. Jennifer Roback Morse helps encourage these sorts of things. Michael Reagan helps encourage these sorts of things. The Mormon sect helps encourage these sorts of things.

Conservatives love to preach: "Ideas have consequences." And they are right. Ideas do have consequences. When thousands of fundamentalist preachers around the world get up in their pulpits and preach that God hates gays and that he demands "that their blood shall be upon their head," then someone is going to put "God's word" into action. When millions of conservatives campaign for laws that explicitly say that gay people do not deserve the same legal rights as other people, the first step toward dehumanization has taken place.

While religiously-motivated hatred is pervasive, we know, with complete certainty, that people will act on that hatred. When you tell these people that their hatred is godly, and divine in origin, you justify, in their minds, the actions that they will take.

This is precisely why I constantly speak out against bigotry, in all forms. Bigotry is not just an attack on one group. It is an attack on the very principles of a liberal, free society. It is an attack on decency and true morality. Haters are destroyers. And sometimes, like tonight, it is the young, our children, who become their targets.

For that, we should all weap.

They were just kids. They were just kids wanting to understand who they were. For that they should be murdered? What a fucking messed up mind has to be responsible for this. Three years ago I took a pledge to myself to NEVER tolerate bigotry or bigots again. I urge you to do the same. When you encounter it, speak out against it. Don't be silent.

Labels: ,