Protecting our own

Protecting our own

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This week, police arrested a 19-year-old in the stabbing death of a 21-year-old gay Army veteran in Stroudsburg.

This month also marks the one-year anniversary of Lawrence King, the California teenager who was shot and killed by a classmate.

In the first instance, the victim, Michael Goucher, had met the alleged killer, who confessed to police, online. According to police, Shawn Freemore stabbed Goucher more than 20 times after the two had met for sex.

Allegedly, the two had had sex once previously, and the second meeting ended in tragedy.

Freemore told police he met Goucher the second time, but changed his mind about having sex with him. He then ordered Goucher out of the car and stabbed him in the neck, then repeatedly in the stomach.

Afterward, he took Goucher’s keys, covered the body with snow, then drove Goucher’s car about 2 miles away and abandoned it.

Previously, Freemore had been arrested for burglary, shoplifting and possession of drug paraphernalia.

King was shot by an eighth-grade classmate, Brandon McInerney, after the former disclosed his love for the boy.

Last week, King’s family filed a wrongful death suit against his teacher, the school principle, McInerney and his parents, the shelter for troubled youth where King had been living, a social worker and an LGBT community service group.

McInerney has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and a hate crime.

Also this week, jury selection began in the trial of Harlow Cuadra, accused of murdering Bryan Kocis, a gay-porn producer stabbed to death in January 2007 in Dallas Township.

Each case is sad and horrific in its own way.

The two Pennsylvania cases also serve as a reminder that sexual orientation is not presently included in hate-crimes legislation — neither at the state nor the federal level.

Though none of the cases has been decided, in each, the perpetrator brought a weapon — a gun or a knife — demonstrating forethought on some level.

While it will never be known if a hate-crimes statute would have had any impact — or even if both Pennsylvania crimes would be considered hate crimes — the lack thereof means that someone singled out and killed gay men, based on some level on their sexual orientation.

If passing a hate-crimes law that includes sexual orientation at the state or federal level prevents violence against sexual minorities, even against one person, it’s worth it.


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