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Confusion of conclusions


Confusion of conclusions

Christopher Skinner was murdered in Toronto in October of 2009.Raymond Taavel was murdered April 17 in Halifax. IMAGE 1 OF 2
How Raymond Taavel and Chris Skinner died of homophobia
On Oct 18, 2009, a gay man, Christopher Skinner, was beaten to the ground by a group of men who then returned to their black SUV, engaged the transmission and crushed him to death under both sets of its wheels. The attack happened near the corner of Adelaide St E and Victoria St in downtown Toronto, just blocks from the gay village.

A vigil on Toronto’s Church St in the following days drew easily more than a thousand people. The crowd marched to Queen’s Park in solidarity and to demand that politicians and police find the thugs who murdered Skinner and do something to ensure that Toronto’s streets are safe for gay people.
Despite several eyewitnesses, a large reward and several CCTV video recordings, Skinner’s killers have, incidentally, not been identified or apprehended.
Now, in the early morning hours of April 17, Halifax gay activist and former Wayves editor Raymond Taavel was brutally murdered on a Halifax street. It happened just steps from the city’s popular gay watering hole just moments after Taavel left the bar. Witnesses say that the assailant was inside the bar prior to the attack but that he was refused service by the staff. Witnesses say further that a man spewing homophobic epithets attacked Taavel and his friend. The man beat Taavel to the ground before smashing his head into the street, killing him.
As the story of Taavel’s murder unfolded yesterday, I began to see parallels between it and Skinner’s murder; parallels that loomed in increasing intensity in my thoughts. Both Skinner and Taavel were well-known and liked in their respective gay communities. Both had reputations as men who, while loving and gentle, simply would not suffer homophobic bullshit. In both cases, those who knew the dead men told me exactly the same thing: “He would not take any crap from anyone.”
In both cases, it’s likely the assailants knew their victims were gay. Both men were a little bit fey. They showed. One was attacked outside a gay bar, another just blocks from the largest concentration of gay households in the country.
And in both cases the immediate reaction from gay communities was an outrage that too quickly diffused, redirected by reports of seemingly extenuating circumstances. In Skinner’s case the story was  – unsubstantiated by the press to this day – that Skinner bumped the SUV carrying the men who killed him, thereby attracting their attention, precipitating his own death; in Taavel’s case, that he tried to break up a fight and that the assailant might have been AWOL from a psychiatric hospital. Both Skinner and Taavel, the inference goes, may simply have chosen the wrong battles against the wrong men at the wrong times and in so doing, made choices themselves that led to their own deaths. 
And both police services at the centres of the investigations into these crimes issued similar statements:
“There has been speculation online and in the community that this was a hate crime,” Halifax Regional Police spokesman Brian Palmeter told CBC News yesterday. “While we cannot provide specific information about the case, as it is still under investigation, police have spoken to a number of witnesses and are considering all possibilities with respect to the motive.”
And in both cases too many people, gay and otherwise, shrugged their shoulders as details emerged in the cases as they suggested that what happened were merely horrible tragedies; that niether murder might reasonably be called a hate crime. We should, they argue, in the interests of accuracy, avoid suggesting that either of these men died because of their sexualities.

Let’s face it: these gay men were both struck down senselessly while attempting to defend themselves against homophobia. And both were gay men killed hatefully on the doorsteps of their own communities. Those points alone ought to be enough to inspire rage.
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Quiet please, respect those dear dead men!
One remembers the crash and burn career trajectory of Gareth Kirkby, "editorialist", who also needed to "explain" himself ad nauseum and now scrapes gum off the paper boxes. Though actually Matt is probably the brightest star who has graced the Xtra Inc. cash cow. The problems at Xtra are at a level higher.

Now everybody quiet please, respect those dear dead men!
Re: Matt Mills is Drowning
While I'm not a meandering troll but I know the difference between an editorial and a column. Pink Triangle Press' editorial director doesn't. And I just proved it. Read above. . .
Editorial writers are drowning when they need a surplus of words to justify themselves. A strongly written editorial should stand on its own. They shouldn't need to justify themselves to the meandering "trolls."
Ed's note
Nathan, quite right. Well put.
Hate Crimes are PC
Ed. The reason why Hate Crimes was ever mooted was because criminal law allowed accused to use extenuating circumstances to justify their actions and lower the extent of their punishment. Thus the homo defence allowed homophobic violence to be used because the accused was confronted by a gay approach. He was therefore entitled to physically defend his sexual preference. In other words, it was ok to beat or kill a homo - extenuating circumstances. With Hate Crime legislation, in the cases of violence against homos, the law excluded the homo defence, if it was proved that the violence was proved to be inspired by homophobic intent. The Hate Crimes law is based on respect of difference and its protection. However many in our communities do not understand this. They don't see that not prosecuting cases in court for Hate Crimes will result to a lesser punishment and in some cases the homo defence.
Ed's note
???You are missing some of your marbles.
I like good journalism. You're definitely not it
Matt, what does your biased and inflammatory article/opinion piece have to do with writing editorials? Nothing. It has nothing to do with editorial writing. News management is news management. It's standard. You can look at local Canadian papers and get the same concept. btw: I have nothing against Xtra. Maybe it's because you're so socially inept that you make enemies everywhere you go. But I have nothing against you. Going down on Ken enough will always keep you employed here. I'm guess he doesn't know the difference between an editorial and a column, either?
Ed's note
??? What does the New York Times have to do with Xtra? What does any of this have to do with Raymond Taavel? You must have some personal gripe against me and/or Xtra Chad, er Boris, er whomever. I hope you find peace with it at some point. You should put it down, try something else, move on with your life. It's just all a bit weird.
difference between an editorial and a column
Everybody: Matt Mills, editorial director of Pink Triangle Press, doesn't know the difference between an editorial and a column. Look at these links, folks:

Editorials are written by individual New York Times editorial board members in consultation with their colleagues and editors and reflect the opinions of the diverse, 16-member Times editorial board. The editorial page editor answers directly to The Times’s publisher.
(from New York Times's website)

or just type in Google: difference between a column and an editorial

You're the knucklehead, Matt.
Ed's note
???? That's all just wrong. You sir, are a knucklehead.


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