Justin Alesna Was Gay Bashed By A Gun-Wielding Man At a BP Gas Station. Nobody Called The Police

Detroit’s Justin Alesna, 23, says when he went to buy cigarettes at a BP gas station on March 7, the man standing in front of him in line, who grew agitated over not having enough personal space, showed off the gun he was packing during an anti-gay tirade that turned into a brutal fist fight. None of the store’s employees, nor other customers who witnessed the attack, called the police — despite Alesna asking the store clerk to call the cops. And who was asked to leave the store? Alesna. He’s since sought medical care, and may have to have surgery to fix his shattered eye socket. “What happened to decency? What happened to … what the fuck happened? … I don’t understand why this happened.”

My first instinct is to not fault the bystanders, because here was a man brandishing a gun, and even I would be hard pressed to get involved in a violent situation where I could get shot. But as Alesna tells it, the other customers weren’t scared; they were laughing.

My second instinct? If Alesna hasn’t gone to the police, and at least filed a police report, that should be his immediate next step. There is security footage (at risk of being recorded over) that could help identify his attacker. And BP, which already has its own public relations nightmare on its hands, would be wise to step up and deal with this.

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  • Francis

    So, so tragic. Justin is such a strong person. This speaks really to just how absolutely little a lot of people care about us as a community. And how little some people care about an individual who is vulnerable and in need. Doing absolutely nothing when someone is being attacked? The store clerk laughing while Justin is being beaten and doing nothing? The two bystanders are just weak. But the clerk is a real asshole. Hopefully there is a video of the attack and the attacker and store clerk are charged. Someone being that insecure to attack someone because they thought they were standing too close to them, that just screams of masculinity/sexuality/overall identity issues. Just screams it.

    Like Justin put it, we all need to speak out and be strong and make our voices heard. That is the only way things like this end. Is to make it known that it isn’t OK and we won’t allow it. Also, again, this comes back to outreach. The it’s gets better campaign has done wonders, and I thank Dan Savage so much for his efforts. However, we need to truly analyze the situation honestly. The it’s gets better campaign is all well and good in trendy New York or hip Miami. It’s great when LA celebrities join in the action and have parties. But it’s the ghettos of New York and Detroit where these two hate crimes (this one and the straight Queens kid) occurred. You think the it’s gets better message is being felt there? No, it isn’t. It’s not Chicago or WEHO where the hate crimes are happening. It’s rural areas and poor, urban communities. And if we want things to change, and things like this to stop, we need to get honest with what the problem is and where the majority of the problems are and address it, because it shouldn’t take gay men being beaten or killed to get the message through. Either our safety is of complete importance or it isn’t. And if it is, then we need to start getting our hands dirty and create change and end this shit once and for all.

  • BenFrankly

    Good thing this didn’t happen to me. The perp with a gun would have been dead in 30 seconds or less. Subhuman animals wielding guns like this moron deserve to die.

  • B

    Justin should immediately file a lawsuit against the gas station and the unnamed assailant. Then (as part of discovery) he can demand that the security tapes be made available and BP will be in a lot of trouble if the tapes are erased after the request is received.

    If the clerk was laughing or edging the assailant on in some other way, BP could be held partly responsible and have to cover some of Justin’s medical expenses.

  • Kev C

    File a full, detailed police report. Consult a lawyer to see if you have grounds for a lawsuit. Take it to court and get compensation ($).

  • Shannon

    I am sorry you went through this….SUE the gas station…PRONTO! At least you will something for your pain…also gay men…LEARN how to fight back!!!

  • TheMadHater

    I’m from Detroit and assaults happen every day gay or straight just for looking at someone wrong. I do believe this is a random act! It’s unfortunate that this happen but I personally believe that he should have been more cautious about his surrounds.

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