Horrifying hate crime result of barbaric ideals
Published: Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 23:10
It's rare that I read something that shakes me to my core, something that simultaneously angers and disgusts me, something that reminds me how uncivilized and barbaric the human race can be.
It's simply mindboggling that I have stumbled upon two equally sickening news stories in one day. On the same day the news of the vicious murder of Stuart Walker became an international story, the Florida Family Association (FFA) slammed the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention hotline and resource aimed at helping gay, lesbian, transgender and questioning youth.
Stuart Walker was a 28-year old man who lived in the small town of Cumnock in Scotland. His friends and family described him as well-liked and the life of the party.
He was openly gay and now there is wide-spread speculation his sexuality might have been the reason he was brutally assaulted, set on fire, and left dead on the side of the road.
The Scottish government has recently made progress toward allowing same-sex marriage, much to the ire of the Catholic Church, which has vowed to increase its efforts of opposition. Unfortunately, as the Scottish government and the Catholic Church struggle against each other, hate crimes are rising.
According to The Independent, hate crimes are on the rise throughout the United Kingdom, but Scotland in particular has been hit hardest.
The number of hate crimes based on sexual orientation or identity are five times greater than they were five years ago, and occurrences doubled from 365 during 2007-08 to 666 in 2009-10.
Hate crimes are everywhere. The more horrific ones make headlines and shock us, but it shouldn't take a story like Walker's to make people realize that hate is wrong. A crime of this nature could easily happen here.
In fact, it only took seconds for me to revert to the memory of Matthew Shepard, the University of Wyoming student who was tortured and killed 13 years ago this month because he was gay.
Here in Florida, the FFA perpetuates hatred by referring to homosexual television characters as "shameful" and "inappropriate."
By condemning a suicide helpline because it helps the LGBT community, the FFA not only condones prejudicial behavior, it sends a clear message to already at-risk youth that it's better to be dead than to be gay.
They are effectively telling families in the process that it's better to have your child commit suicide than to have them realize they are not alone.
Is it any wonder we, as a society, have a bullying problem?
Unfortunately, when government and religious leaders fail to promote equality, narrow-minded people take their prejudices too far. Instead of trying to "pray the gay away" let's focus on targeting the hate.
Instead of labeling homosexuals and transgender individuals as dysfunctional let's try to remember that we are all human beings.
There's so much I don't understand about prejudice and hate, and for that I'm thankful. I will never understand how any person can attack another, beat and burn them, then go about the rest of their life. I can't wrap my brain around the fact that a person or group of people have committed such a horrific crime but yet, it's happened. And I can't help but to be reminded that it could easily happen to me, or someone close to me.