Queerty is better as a member

Log in | Register
  Death notice

Vigil For Slain Iowa Teen Marcellus Andrews Misses The Point

A vigil was held on Thursday in Waterloo, Iowa, where gay teen Marcellus Andrews was brutally murdered by a group of attackers on August 18. Along the stretch of Cottage Street where the vicious attack took place, friends and family joined dancers, drummers and flag bearers from the 19-year-old student’s step squad, while similar memorials were held over the weekend in Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Dubuque and other cities across the state.

Police still believe the beating was part of a larger, long-running dispute with Andrews simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time. “[The incident] does not rise to the threshold required by Iowa code to indicate a bias-motivated crime,” a statement from authorities said, despite witnesses claiming Andrews’ attackers yelled “faggot” and other homophobic slurs as they beat him.

The Des Moines Register’s Kyle Munson reported on the vigil in Waterloo (Michele Bachmann’s home town, BTW), and commented both on calls from community leaders to curb violence and the absence of any discussion of Andrews’ sexuality or his attackers’ anti-gay bias.

But it was hard not to feel dismayed by week’s end at how the aftermath of Andrews’ death has unfolded.

Even in sharing horror-stricken grief, we as Iowans and Americans seem to be a society compartmentalized into our separate socioeconomic, racial and politically dogmatic enclaves.

There was no mention at Thursday’s Waterloo vigil, for instance, of the alleged anti-gay slurs. No message of tolerance for alternative lifestyles.

Was Andrews killed because he was gay? Or because he was standing in the wrong spot—or was friends with the wrong person? Did his attackers choose him because they thought, as a gay man, he’d be easy prey? We might never know the answer. But a teachable moment was wasted.

By:           Dan Avery
On:           Aug 30, 2011
Tagged: , ,

  • 12 Comments
    • slanty
      slanty

      It’s disappointing that the vigil didn’t address the slurs at all. What’s positive is that someone noticed it and commented on it.

      Aug 30, 2011 at 4:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Zach
      Zach

      “Police still believe the beating was part of a larger, long-running dispute with Andrews simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time. “[The incident] does not rise to the threshold required by Iowa code to indicate a bias-motivated crime,” a statement from authorities said, despite witnesses claiming Andrews’ attackers yelled “faggot” and other homophobic slurs as they beat him.”

      So let me see if I get this right…

      Marcellus just “stumbled upon” a “larger, long-running dispute”? Sitting on his own porch? And who were these mysterious other disputing parties whom the police evidently seem to be aware? It seems beyond question that the killers brought the dispute to Marcellus. Or did Marcellus flag them down or barricade the street?

      Or do the police mean that Marcellus had been receiving homophobic slurs for some time, so it was therefore just a “long-running dispute” and not a bias-motivated crime? Bias-motivated crimes have to be spontaneous? If he got threatened and called “faggot” over a longer period, was it less of a crime?

      Aug 30, 2011 at 5:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sue Your School
      Sue Your School

      Gay teens should stand up for themselves! Visit SueYourSchool.com to find out how.

      Aug 30, 2011 at 6:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ElCidd
      ElCidd

      It probably is, technically, a hate crime. But an ongoing battle between two guys (both with criminal records) obscures that, it seems.

      Aug 30, 2011 at 9:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • kwool
      kwool

      Please note that in Cedar Falls, a neighboring town to Waterloo, sexual orientation, though not the only focus of the vigil, was discussed throughout the speeches.

      http://wcfcourier.com/news/local/uni-students-gather-to-honor-marcellus-andrews/article_e14cd668-cf90-11e0-a7f7-001cc4c002e0.html

      Aug 30, 2011 at 10:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Convex
      Convex

      How do we know that the victim was gay? Have any of his family or friends publicly confirmed his orientation? The fact that he was called those names during the attack doesn’t mean that he was, in fact, gay. I’ve searched his name and background on google and the only sites that seem to assert that he’s gay are Queerty and other LGBT-oriented blogs, and none have offered actual evidence of that as far as I can tell.

      My heart goes out to him and his family, and I think we should be vigilant about these types of crimes, but I’m not totally comfortable with the fact that we’re assuming he was gay basically because he was called a fag by his attackers. With how often that word is thrown around today, it’s obvious that a group willing to perpetrate this horrifying beating would probably not think twice about throwing around gay slurs regardless of the victim.

      Aug 31, 2011 at 12:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • NYCBred
      NYCBred

      @Convex: I’m still assuming he was gay, but I’m not 100 percent sure. You make some important points there.

      Aug 31, 2011 at 12:30 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the crustybastard
      the crustybastard

      If a man beats a woman to death while yelling “cunt!” that would be some evidence that her gender was a motivating factor.

      If nonwhite people beat a black man to death while yelling “nigger!” that would be some evidence that race was a motivating factor.

      If straight people beat a gay guy to death while yelling “faggot cocksucker!” that would be ironclad evidence of a garden-variety dispute.

      Got it.

      Lucky for us, Obama made the Matthew Shepard Act a legislative priority, rather than DOMA or ENDA!

      Ignore the fact that the feds have not yet used the Matthew Shepard Act to prosecute any hate crimes against LGBT persons.

      You read that right.

      Aug 31, 2011 at 10:00 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dome
      Dome

      @the crustybastard: If straight people beat a gay guy to death while yelling “faggot cocksucker!” that would be ironclad evidence of a garden-variety dispute.

      Your little analogy is missing a huge and crucial logical chain: you assume both that this victim WAS gay (and as I’ve said before, there’s no yet no objective evidence to support such an assumption) and that the attackers knew the victim was gay (again, there is even less evidence of this, and common sense suggest they’d not be hesitant to assume or accuse a straight man of homosexuality).

      Your other examples (of femaleness, blackness) are predicated on the fact that those traits are readily and outwardly identifiable in others, which homosexuality is not, and furthermore that someone yelling the word “cunt” in a murderous rage is actually murdering the victim based on her gender, and not making a crude and misguided expression of passion through swearing. Couple that with the fact that the words faggot and cocksucker are, in all likelihood, used proportionally more as slurs against perceivedly weak or effeminate or nonconforming or even generally loathsome heterosexual men than they are against actual homosexuals, and your argument is dust in the wind.

      Sep 1, 2011 at 1:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the crustybastard
      the crustybastard

      @Dome:

      An antigay hate crime doesn’t require that the victim be gay.

      The motive of the perpetrator is germane, the identity of the victim is essentially immaterial.

      Sep 1, 2011 at 2:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • lookiTT
      lookiTT

      @the crustybastard: Gotta be careful with that, though. What if someone was beating up a guy (gentile) who ripped him off ($) and called him a “shyster”, and later found out that was an anti-Semitic term? Is he guilty of a hate crime? (Not that I’m totally against hate crime laws, but in some cases I can see confusion arising).

      Sep 1, 2011 at 2:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the crustybastard
      the crustybastard

      @lookiTT:

      Again, the MOTIVE of the crime determines whether it’s a bias crime.

      In your hypothetical crime, the perpetrator’s intent was to beat up the victim who cheated him out of money — not to attack the victim on the basis of his Jewish identity or to intimidate the Jewish community by the act of violence.

      Ergo, no — it’s clearly not a bias crime. The identity of the victim is irrelevant.

      If you alter your hypothetical so the perpetrator was attacking the victim who cheated him out of money, thought the victim was Jewish, and while beating the victim the perp was disparaging him as a money-grubbing hebe, kike and shyster, it becomes a closer call. The fact that the victim isn’t actually Jewish still doesn’t matter. What matters is whether the perpetrator’s belief his victim was Jewish was part of his motive to attack.

      Contrary to what Dome suggests above, the identity of the perp isn’t necessarily relevant either. He could himself be Jewish and still commit an anti-Jewish hate crime. Membership in a particular minority doesn’t provide some magical immunity to the charge.

      Anyway, motive is always hard to prove, and the prosecution bears 100% of the burden. Also, juries tend to forgive majority perps for attacking minorities. That doesn’t mean you just don’t bother to try.

      Sep 1, 2011 at 3:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

    Add your Comment

    Queerty now requires you to log in to comment

    Please log in to add your comment.

    Need an account? Register It's free and easy.

  • POPULAR ON QUEERTY

    FOLLOW US
     



    GET QUEERTY'S DAILY NEWSLETTER


    FROM AROUND THE WEB

    Copyright 2014 Queerty, Inc.
    Follow Queerty at Queerty.com, twitter.com/queerty and facebook.com/queerty.