Monday, February 06, 2006

"Love Won Out"

The post's title comes from the Focus on the Family's anti-gay project. By demonstrating that formerly gay people can be converted back to a straight lifestyle, the totalitarian right hopes to prove them capable of "change" and their underlying gay "choice" or condition unnatural and undesirable. Because such an endeavor isn't naturally very kind to the reality of gayness, the project's directors have to somehow cloak it with the word "love" to hide its malignant designs.

Unfortunately, the idea that there is something wrong, even anti-social, about gay people lends itself to some more rather direct and outright unloving responses. Such as this one:

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. - The teenager suspected of attacking three men at a Massachusetts gay bar and killing an Arkansas officer and a female companion left a note indicating he planned "something violent," authorities said Monday.

Jacob D. Robida, 18, was fatally wounded when he opened fire on officers at a roadblock following a high-speed chase through the Arkansas hills. He was shot twice in the head and died at a hospital Sunday.

In New Bedford, Mass., where police say Robida attacked patrons at Puzzles Lounge with a hatchet early Thursday and then opened fire with a handgun, detectives found what they considered a troubling message in Robida's room, Bristol County District Attorney Paul Walsh Jr. said Monday.

"We didn't interpret it necessarily as a suicide note, but it was certainly the note of a desperate man who had some plans to continue doing something violent," Walsh said.

Police said the high school dropout had returned to his home after the attack at the bar, but it was unclear whether he left the note before or after the attack. The content of the note was not immediately released.

In addition to the message, police found an apparently homemade poster with a Nazi swastika and anti-Semitic writings, as well as a makeshift coffin, Walsh said. He said the significance of the coffin isn't known.

Police also were trying to determine whether Robida had any accomplices in New Bedford or elsewhere, though evidence suggests he acted alone, Walsh said.

After the New Bedford attack, which police labeled a hate crime, Robida surfaced Saturday in Arkansas, where he killed Gassville police officer Jim Sell at a traffic stop, setting off a 20-mile chase from Gassville to Norfork as deputies and state troopers fired shotguns at Robida. Spike strips finally slowed Robida's car to around 30 mph.

"The tires were deflating, at least two of the tires were now running on rims," Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said. "It was apparent he was losing control of the vehicle."

Officers had a clear view of Robida and his passenger, Jennifer Rena Bailey, 33, of Charleston, W.Va., after Robida's car spun nearly 180 degrees and crashed.

"Investigators now believe Robida raised a handgun to the head of Bailey, fired, and it is believed she was killed instantly by that gunshot," Sadler said. "Robida raised that same handgun and fired on the officers who were present at the scene. They returned fire."

Walsh said he had feared Robida's arrest could have been even bloodier. New Bedford authorities had issued public warnings that they considered Robida armed, dangerous and possible suicidal.

"I really thought he was going to take five or six people with him," Walsh said. "My fear was that he'd shoot up the works."

"Someone who's just bent on rage, there's no way they're going to go out without a hail of gunfire," said New Bedford police Lt. Richard M. Spirlet.

It's hard to imagine what motivates someone like this. But the fact that he chose to act out his rage in the way he did, and given the contextual indications of his "hobbies" and worldview, it does raise the obvious question as to how this guy came to believe gays were the source of his problems, or an appropriate target of his frustrations.

Groups like Focus/Family are fond of drawing causal connections between social vices, like pornography, and violence against women. I wonder what causal connection they might make between anti-gay zeolotry by Christians and this man's beliefs?

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