Compassion For The Boy Who Cried “Wolf!”

So, I want to take a moment to respond to the faux gay-bashing incident that swept me (and the gay media) by storm yesterday.

Yeah, I’m angry.

I think this may have set things back a bit as far as people taking the threat to LGBTQ people seriously in the state of Montana. When someone needs the help of the police because they have been a victim of  gay assault, will it be met with deep suspicion and possibly a sneer?

I’m also really worried about the kid who reported the whole thing.

I’m worried that this will ruin his life. I’m worried that this decision to report- however it was made- was possibly made under the influence. Bad decisions are made every day under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Montana is populated with an extraordinary amount of repeat DUI offenders. Our stats are not pretty. When Montana police respond to fights, domestic violence or robbery, they’re mostly alcohol related. Ask any cop. In a 2010 survey of  Montana State Prison inmates, 93% had alcohol related to their crime. 93 percent. So I’m worried that an all-too-common clouded decision-making process will become a reason for retribution.

Yeah, I’m worried that the community that so quickly rallied around him will turn just as quickly against him.

I want to argue for some understanding. We don’t know the circumstances. We don’t know the reasons. We don’t know the situation. We don’t know anything- except what the police reports and press releases have told us.

I think that the concern we all had for him can be turned in a new direction- toward trying to understand- and trying to forgive. Youthful indiscretion aside, mistakes are made- and so are apologies.

When his is made, I’m going to do my damnedest to accept it.

Because I’ve made mistakes of my own.

I also know that we’re going to need to remember the response that galvanized a bunch of people around the country into action. Because, someday, we’re going to need to rally around a victim of hate, a victim of injustice, a victim of violence- and I don’t want to have suspicion be the first voice that enters my head. I want compassion to be the first voice.

And I don’t want the memory of this or any incident to overcome compassion’s voice in my heart.

Ever.

That’s my prayer.

Displaced Anger And Civility

Yesterday’s post ended rather snarkily on my part.

I dismissed the abuse suffered by Rep Kris Hansen (R) Havre with:

That’s nothing- we LGBT people have been putting up with this all our lives.  Wimp.

I admit, I was angered by her lack of understanding of the abuse this bill attempts to codify into law and her whining about some answering machine obscenities and impassioned people in public. That kind of stuff seems to be a part of a controversial person living a public life, and the deep reality of the anger that this bill provokes.

However, I don’t ever want to convey the impression that I believe that this kind of incivility is something that I condone. No human being should ever be subjected to threats because of a political position- even when that position infringes on the rights of other human beings to pursue safety, happiness and well-being.

Having said that, the anger and other strong emotions  elicited by this legislation should not be suppressed. That’s part of the process, too. But those strong emotions should never be used to intimidate, coerce and threaten. That’s fascism.

And we’re better than that.