Thursday, August 25, 2011
What Qualifies as a Hate Crime in Iowa?!
Well, color my Rainbow Flag officially shocked! Yesterday evening I was watching the local TV news and I was so shocked I damn-near shit rainbows; for, you see, all three stations mentioned the murder of Marcellus Andrews. However, again, their portrayal was less than exemplary. WOI TV (chan. 5) retorted that Gay rights groups -- meaning the Iowan Gay community in general -- were preemptive in declaring this brutal murder a "hate grime", leaving the viewer to imagine that we are reactionary and able to be easily dismissed. And, it was only KCCI TV (chan. 8) bothered to mention that there would be any vigils held throughout the state, particularly highlighting the Des Moines vigil which would begin at the Blazing Saddle (a local Gay Bar) and commence at the steps of the State Capital where speakers will be heard. Oddly, in my opinion, each state broadcast their respective story on this issue explaining that this murder is not a Hate Crime almost at the same moment in succession. Where they really missed the mark is that no station attempted to interview any of the witnesses to show that anti-Gay animus clearly placed a role in the vicious murder (which they wrote off as mere "blunt force trauma", rather than the savage beating that it was!). According to the print media, witnesses spoke about how they called him "faggot" and "Mercedes"; and, even when he was laying on the ground, inert and unconscious, one boy ran back to kick him in his skull viciously!
Ultimately, however, what I would like to know is, if the law enforcement has no demonstrable leads or even "persons of interest" than how can they declare that this murder was unequivocally not a Hate Crime?! In fact, all three stations lost a primary attempt that would have allowed them to highlight anti-Gay prejudice within the state, and anti-Gay violence in general...we are, after all, still worthy of discrimination within secular society. When I was bashed at the end of my third year in college by a neo-Nazi skin head (yes, I am a bashing survivor!), the police sent in my report to the DA for the county to see if she could prosecute it as a hate crime under the newly passed Iowa law. There is certainly no excuse for this not to equally be regarded as a legal hate-crime in this survivors experience. In fact, what the Waterloo PD is doing is spitting in the eyes of every bashing survivor like me, and all of my Gay brothers and Lesbian sisters!
A list of inter-state vigils may be found here.