ronkempmusic

Let's work together against bullying and help bring the teen suicide rate down to zero

Posts Tagged ‘Hate crime

Mallory Owens: a Hate Crime in Alabama

with 51 comments


Any man who beats up on a woman has a special place in Hell awaiting him.  Any man who brutally beats a woman nearly to death because of her sexuality not only holds a reservation in Hell but also a warm spot at a penitentiary.  Hopefully, for a long time.

On Thanksgiving, Mallory Owens went to celebrate the holiday with dinner with her girlfriend, Ally Hawkins, at her girlfriend’s family’s home.  Travis Hawkins Jr., Ally’s brother, viciously attacked Mallory, reportedly as the family looked on.  Travis Hawkins, Jr. is just 18-years-old!A man who does this to a woman is no man whatsoever.  According to Mallory’s sister, this isn’t even the first time this woman-beater attacked Mallory, stating that “…he never liked Mallory and Ally to begin with.”  I don’t necessarily like my sister, either, but I’d never raise a hand to hurt her and wouldn’t allow anyone else to do it, either.

There are a few issues involved in this troubling case that makes it even more disturbing.  First of all, how is it that the family “stood around and watched” as this attack took place?  Why aren’t there charges being filed against every one of them who “stood around and watched” as this young woman was being pulverized by a deranged teenager?  If no one intervened during the obvious commission of a crime but remains a witness to it, shouldn’t that make them guilty of “accessory to…” the crime being committed?

Secondly, this attack occurred on Thanksgiving day.  That was Thursday.  Four days ago!  No local Mobile, Alabama picked up the story until this very day, November 26th, four days after the horrendous attack.  In fact, the only reason they were “pushed” into “breaking” the story is because it had begun to circulate and go viral on the social media giant, facebook. Several prominent pages, including Wipe Out Homophobia, STOP Teenage Suicide, and Enough is Enough: the blog page, began to publish the story late morning.  By mid-afternoon, it had gone viral.  It was then that the local stations saw an urgency to push the story.  How can that be?  Why wasn’t this first-page news immediately after it happened.  A 23-year-old lesbian was beaten within inches of her life, and that’s not newsworthy?  Or, was that another “boys will be boys” incident that didn’t require any media attention.  The editors of all of the local Mobile, Alabama media outlets should be ashamed of themselves for failing to bring this story to light.  It shouldn’t have taken a facebook effort to shine light on this travesty.

Thirdly, and most egregious, is what young Travis Hawkins, Jr. is charged with.  For the crime of beating a 23-year-old woman nearly to death, Travis is charged with second degree assault.  Second degree assault!  I know that in the state where I live, second degree assault carries very little time.  The crime Travis Hawkins, Jr. committed on Thanksgiving Day, against Mallory Owens, is attempted murder.  Period.  Further, he should be charged with a hate crime.  Alas, his charge is a simple second degree assault charge for beating a woman so badly, she now has metal plates under each eye socket.  She now has bleeding on the brain.  Her life will never be the same.  Second degree assault.  At the very least, he should’ve been charged with first degree assault.  

In addition to the facebook pages that are responsible for bringing this story the national attention it deserves, there is now a  facebook page dedicated to getting justice for Mallory:  Justice Today – For Mallory.  There is also a petition, that needs signatures!, that is designed to compel the Alabama judicial branch to charge Travis Hawkins, Jr. with what he should’ve been charged with from the beginning:  attempted murder and a hate crime. (at LEAST a first degree assault charge)  Please sign the petition, then pass it on so that others can sign it, as well.

Shame on Travis for beating on a woman; shame on the Mobile, Alabama media for not picking up this story before today; and, shame on the Alabama State’s Attorney’s Office for charging this young thug with a mere second degree assault in the brutal attack.  We demand justice for Mallory, and we won’t rest until we see it.

SIGN THIS PETITION TO BRING TRAVIS HAWKINS, JR. TO JUSTICE:

http://www.change.org/petitions/mobile-county-alabama-prosecutor-bring-travis-hawkins-jr-to-justice

 

Daniel Zamudio, 24, Beaten to Death Because of Sexuality

with one comment


I was just asked, on my facebook blog page “why all the gay posts?”  The fact of the matter is that there can’t be enough good news, “normalized” posts and stories about the LGBT community.  Not at this point in time.  There are far too many people, in this country and around the world, who would like nothing better than to see us disappear.  Some of them would even resort to violence to achieve their goal.  Such was the case with 24-year-old Daniel Zamudio of Chile.

In the early morning hours of Saturday, March 3rd, Daniel was brutally attacked by a group of neo-Nazis, ranging in age from 18-25, simply because of his sexual orientation.  He sustained serious and irreversible brain damage during the attack and lied in a drug-induced coma for 3 weeks.  Tuesday night, Daniel Zamudio, succumbed to his injuries.

Chilean police have the 4 men who are allegedly responsible for this heinous crime in custody.  The level of hatred directed at Daniel was astonishing.  Amongst other things, they carved swastikas into his flesh.  Just because he was gay!!

“Why all the gay posts?”  Because, madness like this must end!  Because, hating someone on such a deep level, simply because of their sexuality!, that you’re willing to mutilate them is a symptom of a contagion that’s affecting the entire globe.  Because, people who are LGBT deserve to live a rich, full, and happy life just as much as their non-LGBT counterparts.  With so many people standing at the ready to humiliate and shame them, to discriminate against and minimize their worth as a human being, to inflict emotional and/or physical harm on them, sometimes to the point where it costs them their lives, I’m going to be on the front line every single day letting them – US!!! – know that we are second-class citizens to no one!

Daniel Zamudio’s life should not have ended the way it did.  NO human being should ever have to endure that level of hatred and intolerance.  Ever.  Gay, straight, black, Jewish, or whatever.  It is not okay with me to know that we live in a world where what I do in the privacy of my own home, with someone I love, can get me killed!  It shouldn’t be okay with anyone.  Yet, it happens.  Worse, I live in a country where we have politicians working to pass laws that condones and encourages this level of brutality against the LGBT community.  And, it will continue to happen as long as people sit on the sidelines, shake their heads, and say their dutiful “that’s terrible” or “this has to stop” rather than get involved, at some level!, in bringing about a difference.

Daniel, the world mourns you.  May you rest in peace.

Written by Ron Kemp

March 28, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Following Up on Cody Rogers, LGBT Teen Attacked at Party

leave a comment »


Cody Rogers, an 18-year-old LGBT man in Oklahoma, was brutally attacked last weekend at a party attended by friends and a few homophobes.  The story took off.  There was a silver lining to the story, as well.

Rather than tuck his tail and wilt under the attack, Cody rose to the occasion.  Rather than shrink back into the closet and lock the door, Cody was embolded.  He set up a facebook page to join the war against ignorance, intolerance, and violence against the LGBT community.  The page quickly took off.  As of this writing, it already has just under 10,000 members.  Most of them are well-wishers, some adding pictures along with the encouraging words.  It’s been heartwarming watching the encouragement come literally from around the world.

The most important thing to come from this travesty, however, is the fire that’s been lit under Cody Rogers.  Met head-on with what, until last weekend, was the kind of hatred and nviolence towards the LGBT community he’d only heard of or read about, Cody is now determined to spearhead a movement of change.

In the state he lives, Oklahoma, their federal anti-discrimination laws do not protect the LGBT community.  Because of that, his attacker was charged with the laughable crime of simple assault.  Such a ridiculous charge could possibly bring him a sentence of cleaning up trash along the highway for a weekend.  He couldn’t be charged with what he should’ve been charged with because, in Oklahoma, it’s apparently ok to hate members of the LGBT community, to be intolerant towards them, to commit acts of violence against them.  That has to be the case; otherwise, there would be laws on the book to protect them.  At the very least, they would’ve been included in the protection of the federal anti-discrimination laws, which would’ve made last week’s unwarranted attack a hate crime.  Instead, incredibly, they were excluded.

Cody has started a petition to get the wheels in motion that will bring about change in his state.  Remember, this is the same state that, just a month ago, a teacher was going to fail her student for the crime of writing an essay about same-sex marriage.  Thanks to your emails, letters, and phone calls!!, that teacher had a change of heart and there was a happy ending to the story.  Now, we need those same numbers, and more!, to come to Cody Roger’s aid and sign this petition!!  Before we knew there was a Cody Rogers in the world, we showed Oklahoma that there is definitely power in numbers.  I think they need a reminder.

Written by Ron Kemp

March 3, 2012 at 8:11 am

Oklahoma Teen Savagely Beaten in anti-Gay Attack

leave a comment »


There was a party.  Eighteen-year-old Cody Rogers, an LGBT teen, attended along with other of his friends.  Also at the party, however, were some violently homophobic teens.  It seems that some female attendees of the party had invited their boyfriends.  And, that’s where the trouble began.  Cody says that he could “…hear the homophobic slurs from the other room.”  When asked to leave, one of the homophobes refused.  Instead, he did what any real man would do:  He attacked the girl who, presumably, had asked him to leave.  With the girl being his friend, Cody went to her rescue.  The attack turned on him.  He was pushed to the ground by the homophobe and beaten unconscious.  Pictures reveal the severity of the attack.  It was brutal.

The attackers were charged with simple assault.  Simple assault!!!  This was a clear-cut hate crime.  The homophobic slurs came well before the “simple assault” as well as during it.  So why, then, is this classified as a “simple assault”?  Simple.  Because Oklahoma has no hate crime protection for the LGBT community.  So, as was the case with Cody, you can get the shit kicked out of you by some pea-brained homophobic woman beater, have him call you every homophobic slur he can think of while he’s committing his crime of pure hate, and the worst thing that will happen to him is he’ll get charged with simple assault.  That has to change.

It’s worth noting that Oklahoma has a lawmaker, (R) Mike Reynolds, himself an elected homophobe, has a history of attempting to pass through anti-LGBT legislation.  Just last week, his proposed bill that would’ve stripped the LGBT community of protection from discrimination was defeated.  I have no doubt he’ll attempt to re-introduce another, reworded bill that would do the same damage.  It’s what people of his mentality do.

At a time when the nation, and the world!, has the issue of bullying and anti-LGBT discrimination in the front of their collective minds, we’re reminded yet again that there’s still lots and lots of work to be done.  And, it needs to be said again that for someone as young as Cody’s attacker, a fellow teen, to be so violently homophobic, it’s obvious that the re-education has to start with the adults.  His attacker wasn’t born with that level of hatred.  No one is.

That level of hatred is taught.  It’s taught by intolerant politicians who continually attempt to legislate their own prejudices and hatred.  It’s taught by religious leaders who preach hatred and condemnation in the name of God. (perhaps, before their next sermon, they should meditate on 1 John 4:8).  It’s passed down from parents who, for whatever reason, has been immersed in intolerance and bigotry.  Make no mistake:  The cultural shift has, in fact, begun.  But, as is evident with the savage beating Cody endured, we’ve still got a long way to go.

Hats off to Cody!  He didn’t wilt under the pressure of a brutal attack, an attack brought on simply because of who he is.  Instead, he’s turning that negative event in his life into a positive.  He’s chosen to become part of the ever-growing army to fight against hatred and intolerance against people, in general, and the LGBT community in particular.  He’s launched a facebook page to help stop the brutality.  Welcome aboard, Cody.  You’re an inspiration to many.

Written by Ron Kemp

March 1, 2012 at 7:26 am

“I Shouldn’t Have to…Look Over My Shoulder…”

leave a comment »


Twenty year old Brandon White of Atlanta ventured to the corner store in his community in Atlanta, GA, Saturday afternoon.  What happened as he left “the pink store” is something he’ll never forget.

Deep inside of me, there’s still that bruise and battered 12-year-old.   He saw the video of what happened to Brandon on Saturday and was once again reminded of his own gay bashing.  He cringed.  And, speaking for that broken 12-year-old, I can tell Brandon that he will always remember February 4th, 2012.  He will never look at life the same.

On Saturday, February 4th, Brandon was brutally attacked by a group of street thugs who call themselves 1029 Jack City Gang.  As they attacked him, they hurled gay slurs at him, “no faggots in Jack City”, just to make sure the injuries were internal as well as external but, trust me, they weren’t necessary.  The internal injuries were inflicted without them.  The external injuries will heal in no time.

The world is a vastly different place than it was when I was attacked as a 12-year-old.  Today, there’s the in-an-instance-access-to-the-world Internet.  Brandon’s attackers wisely used the Internet to Brandon’s advantage:  they opted to post the video online.  In my day, there was no get-it-right-now news outlet.  Therefore, no one ever saw my attack or attackers other than the Southerners who lived where I was attacked but elected to not get involved.  Today, however, thanks to the spontaneity of the Internet, Brandon’s attack, and attackers!, have been seen around the world already.  That’s a good thing!!

Because, at least in part, the video that was posted online, the FBI is also involved in trying to crack this case.  They’re investigating it as a hate crime.  Bravo!  Now, let’s just hope that the video is revealing enough for someone to identify those responsible for this horrific hate crime.  And, that includes the camera person.  Eleven thousand dollars in reward money has been offered for any information that will lead to the arrest of those responsible.  And, there’s a Crime Stoppers number, 404-577-TIPS(8577) for anyone who may have any information.

Hatred against the LGBT community is going to come to a screeching halt.  Our numbers are ever-increasing.  Our voices are getting stronger and clearer.  Our message of zero tolerance is building momentum.  Here’s to hoping these cowards are quickly brought to justice before another Jack City video has the opportunity to be made.

TEENS CAUGHT, CHARGED IN VIDEOED ATTACK!!!!

with one comment


Sparked, perhaps, by the inundation of public outcry, and aided by the girlfriend of one of the attackers giving up their names, the Chicago police have arrested the people they believe are responsible for Sunday afternoon’s mauling of a Bridgeport, Chicago high school senior.  One of the attackers is being charged as an adult.  One of the attackers was a girl.

This case is developing more bizarre twists than an old Alfred Hitchcock movie.  The girlfriend of “the main attacker” posted two videos attempting to justify the horrific attack.  At 4:00 deep into the first video, she “reasons” “…in a way, think about it…if you were attacked by 20 people, with you and your sibling alone, how would you feel?  And, in a way, wouldn’t you want to get revenge?  Even if it’s just on one of them?”  Mob mentality at its best.

She speaks often, particularly in the second video, of “another side” of the story, a side where apparently the victim in this attack was allegedly a part of an Asian gang who had earlier carried out an attack on the very ones who attacked him.  It’s mind-boggling to me that we’ve reached this point as a nation.  I don’t understand that gang culture.  I never will.

In some states, videotaping an attack such as the one witnessed here and not doing anything to intervene makes you an accessory to the crime.  Apparently, that’s not the case in Illinois.  Whomever the young man is who did the videotaping should be charged as well, in my opinion.

At the root of this senseless violence, and brutal attack, is racial hatred.  Either way you look at it, it comes back to that.  If the victim WASN’T part of an Asian gang who allegedly carried out an earlier attack on members of the attacking group seen in the video, then it’s purely a racial attack and therefore a hate crime.  Even if he WAS part of this gang, there are still race issues that needs to be addressed.  Quickly.  If it’s all true, then Chicago has a serious race problem on their hands. (or, am I late on that?)  Latinos vs. Asians?  Blacks vs. Whites?  What happened to equality?  How can the girl on camera talk so flippantly about the “FOBS”, or “fresh off the boat”, when she is off foreign decent, herself?  And, while I’m shaking that tree, how can ANY of us living in this country talk about immigrants, legal or illegal, unless we’re of Native American decent?  Other than that group of people, everyone in this country is an immigrant or descendent thereof.

Regardless of what she says in her two “justification” videos, I stand by what I said initially:  this was a very brutal attack, a hate crime, and it should be handled as such.  All of the ones involved, including the camera holder, should be prosecuted to the absolute fullest extent of the law.  One of those kicks to the head, absorbed by the victim, taken at the wrong or a slightly different angle could’ve killed him.  ZERO TOLERANCE.

Written by Ron Kemp

January 18, 2012 at 6:43 pm

BULLYING AT ITS WORST, CAUGHT ON TAPE!!!!

leave a comment »


I first saw a video clip of this earlier in the day, I guess when it first broke.  The video clip was bad enough.  It left me shaking my head.  Livid!!!  However, now I’ve seen the entire video (WARNING!!!  This video is extremely graphic.  DO NOT watch it if you’re at all squeamish) of this brutal, senseless attack on this young man.  Now, I’m beyond livid!

There are videos, and video responses, all over youtube right now.  The video, itself, has been viewed almost 35,000 times.  Even the Mayor has spoken out about it.  And, NONE OF IT MEANS A DAMNED THING!!  The only thing that matters right now is that those 7 thugs are caught and punished to the absolute fullest extent of the law.  I don’t really give a rat’s ass that they’re juveniles:  they need to be sent to an adult prison for many years.  In the state where I reside, their action is called first-degree assault.  And, when you listen to the language their using as they brutalize this young man, it becomes obvious that this is also a hate crime.  Hate crimes are punishable by federal law.  Every single one of the 30,000+ people who have viewed that video, every breathing soul who has watched the story on the news, needs to make sure that their voices are heard loudly and clearly:  THIS ABSOLUTELY CANNOT BE TOLERATED!!!

I looked for a petition online but couldn’t find one.  Hopefully, someone from Chicago will post one on change.org.  When and if they do, I will certain pass that information along so that everyone, EVERYONE!, can go there and sign it.  There absolutely has to be justice done in this case.  Swift.  Definitive.  And, with severe consequences.  More than ever, the cry of ZERO TOLERANCE must apply here.

Written by Ron Kemp

January 18, 2012 at 9:02 am