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Continuing the Dialogue with Peter LaBarbera

It’s said you attract more bees with honey, or maybe it’s just publicly pointing out the struggles with bees rather than keeping them private. Case-in-point, Peter LaBarbera responded to my open letter after it was published here on this site, even though I had sent it to him privately the day before.

From: Peter L.
Date: Apr 18, 2007 1:54 AM
Subject: Daimeon, interesting thoughts on Pam’s blog…
To: contact@get-the-skinny.com

… Testing your thesis about Grandma getting more attention than then terrorized (“Die Faggots”) gays: how about comparing the media attention of the Mary Stachowicz murder to that of Matt Shepard: seems to defy your claim. No major national media picked up Stachowicz’s trial. How come?

I’ll post your response and respond myself on my site but it may take a few days. Best–pl

Peter LaBarbera

Besides not actually responding to the open letter “pl” responds with a question comparing the Matthew Shepard Murder with that of Mary Stachowicz, which he’s done in the past.

In the interest of keeping things public and not letting anything be taken out of context, my response is after the flip.

Mr. LaBarbera,

Parallels are being drawn where they shouldn’t.  Mary Stachowicz met an untimely and horrific death.  She was brutally beaten, stabbed, raped, strangled with a plastic bag over her head and stuffed into a crawlspace under the floor.  There are no excuses for what the man did.  There was a reason, although not an excuse, for what he did. The deranged man snapped from all of the usual anti-gay rhetoric that came from his community, his own family, the church, and finally the woman’s comments were too much for his addled brain to take.  Would it have been better if he had the patience of Job? I wish he did, because she wouldn’t be dead, and he’d still be doing his job and there would be no story.  Does this defend his actions?  Absolutely not!  Should he use an “anti-gay panic” defense? No.  Was it relevant to the case? Yes. 

He rightfully was convicted of being guilty of first-degree murder and rape.  That charge stuck because of the brutality of the crime.  However, and a BIG however, the evidence did not stack up that he killed her because she was Catholic, or because she was Christian.  What the evidence did portray was that he was an already sick man who’s buttons had been pushed too many times and he broke.  Again, not an excuse for the murder, but simply what happened, what triggered the events.  He didn’t seek her out to beat her, stab her, torture her, rape her or kill her.  He was already unstable and was pushed over the edge.  Let me re-iterate…I’m not defending him, nor do I have sympathy for his actions.  I have sympathy for what’s been done to him over the years leading up to this, but not for his actions as those were indefensible.

Matthew Shepard’s murder received much more media attention because it was apparent from the immediate evidence that he was singled out and targeted because he was gay, and driven to a secluded area where he was beaten beyond recognition and then tied to a fence to die.  His shoes were taken to give the appearance of a robbery, but were found a few short miles from his location because they were thrown out the window to discard the evidence.

Unfortunately, Mr. LaBarbera, you miss another point, that many many more brutal attacks against gays, lesbians, and the transgendered either go un-reported by the victims, or ignored by the police and/or media.  The Mary Stachowicz case was truly a sad event and my heart goes out to her, her family, her friends, and her Parrish, but it was blatantly mischaracterized and exploited by those on your side of the fence to try and draw a parallel where there clearly was none to further an agenda driven by fear and ignorance.

Warmest Regards,
Daimeon

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