Hate Crime in Oz?

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A 35-year old Australian national named Gerard Fleming lost his life last week after an unidentified assailant stabbed him twice in the chest.

Police discovered his body on a forested footpath, but later found his blood in a bathroom stall at a popular Narrabeen Lake cruising spot called The Beats. The find, of course, leads them to believe the attack came in the bathroom. And they may even have a suspect.

Before he died, Fleming breathed a name, “Chris”. So, maybe a crazy repressed homosexual named Chris went up in there and stabbed Fleming. Certainly a believable scenario.

Things get a little more complicated, however, when you delve deeper into the details surrounding Fleming’s unnecessary death.

Fleming wasn’t like the other boys cruising The Beats. The man police described as “gentle-natured friendly kind of bloke,” had Asperger Syndrome, a controversial form of Autism characterized by unrefined social skills, clumsiness and obsessive repetition. Fleming stuck out like a sore thumb.

One cruiser told police, “He was not as discreet as other users and tended to draw a lot of attention to himself”. That said, Fleming may have attracted the attention of a local gang called “The Lads”. The Daily Telegraph tells us more about these teenage rebels:

The Lads are considered part of a counter-culture, more than a gang, and are generally identified by their rap-style clothing. Narrabeen residents say the youths hang around the Tramshed and get drunk.

Resident Michelle Clendinning said hooliganism was more their style than murder…”They’re hoons and they get drunk but they wouldn’t have it in them to kill. None of them are around now. They’re absolutely scared to death.”

As we all know, teenage boys aren’t always the nicest bunch, especially to queers and even more so when a queer may seem to be “retarded,” as the kids may say. So, even if the gang’s non-violent, one of the derelicts could have taken his angst out on poor Fleming. That’s what police suspect, so they’ve been questioning the gang members. The Lads, however, aren’t talking. Of their obstinance, Detective Inspector Luke Arthurs said, “We believe there were people in the area at the time who have not come forward.”
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Aside from the name “Chris,” police don’t have much to go on. The murder weapon’s missing. The motive’s unknown. They do have a surveillance tape showing someone running away from the scene, although they can’t be sure it’s the killer. And no one’s saying shit.

Margaret Fleming’s mother, however, did have something to say:

I want the culprit found so he doesn’t destroy anyone else. I want to appeal to the public to come forward with any piece of information they have that can assist.

She also lamented, “I have lost my beautiful boy.”

Hopefully coppers can find his potentially hateful, definitely disgraceful killer.
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(Editor’s note: We’ve been thinking – obviously hate crimes are worse, but are random psychotic killings even worse? Discuss and we’ll get back to you in tomorrow’s Queerty ReBUTTal.)