The story behind the murder of Navy sailor August Provost grows more complicated with eac headline. The 29-year-old’s family now claims he was shot dead by a closeted sailor — who feared he’d be outed by Provost.
While the local community mourns, Provost’s family wants answers. And while the Navy hasn’t exactly been stonewalling on the investigation into Provost’s murder — they have a “person of interest” detained, but keep insisting Provost’s sexuality wasn’t a factor in his slaying — they also seem to be ignoring repeated claims from family and friends: that Provost was harassed on base because of his sexuality.
But that story seems to be changing, or at least evolving. Original assertions by the family that Provost was killed in an anti-gay hate crime are morphing into “he was killed to keep him quiet” scenario. Provost’s aunt Rose Roy (his father’s sister) won’t give up a name of who she thinks did it, but is pushing the new storyline: “This guy went the extra mile to make sure that my nephew would never be able to speak about his [the killer’s] sexuality. … My nephew died for reasons other than what the military is saying.”
The Navy, meanwhile, is working to shut down allegations that Provost’s sexuality played a part. They have no basis to go in that direction, they say, and are relying instead of physical evidence to link Provost to his murderer.
This story wouldn’t be complete without the inclusion of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, especially given the new allegations.
While Provost was one foot out of the closet (he was out on Facebook on MySpace, posting photos of he and his boyfriend), full disclosure of his sexuality would have likely got him kicked out. It’s safe to assume Provost’s killer — if he indeed killed to prevent his own outing — acted on that same fear. We could host an entire symposium on how DADT breeds secrecy and mental anguish inside the military and, theoretically, can result in acts like these. But let’s be clear: Murder is murder, with DADT in place or not. Even if the military one day lets gays serve openly, closeted soldiers won’t disappear for the same reasons gay civilians still hide their sexuality.
Alas, we’ve got more questions than answers at this point.