confuses about your “clarification” [Letters, July 1] of the
recent gay bashing of Josh Banks on Lark Street [“Out of Sight,
Not Really Out of Mind,” June 24]. Just what are you suggesting?
That you caved in to pressure to soften your portrait of his
deceased assailant as a bigot? Or that police (the very ones
who reportedly acted so helpfully and responsibly) made false
statements to the press regarding intent? And isn’t it almost
a given that someone who would act that violently, and solitarily,
against a stranger would have to be emotionally disturbed?
Are you implying that homophobia and mental illness are mutually
I daresay that very few hate crimes are “simple” matters,
but what you hint at in your clarification directly contradicts
the entire thrust of the story. Did or didn’t Bart Browne
complain to the cops that gays think life is a big joke? If
so, was that the result of incompetent questioning on the
part of investigators, or indicative of a pernicious motive?
I actually oppose enhanced penalties for “hate crimes,” on
free-speech and equal-protection grounds, but feel it is both
wrong to retract an allegation of bias if true, and wrong
to falsely accuse the defendant of homophobia if none existed.
So which wrong is right?
Our clarification did not contradict any of the facts we printed
originally, but it did add information that we felt was essential
for more accurately interpreting the situation. In fact, most
people who gay-bash are not considered mentally ill, but have
shown long-standing homophobia, so the fact that this case
was the reverse casts a very different light on both the incident
and what was portrayed by the prosecutors.
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