Defending Homophobic Violence
May 7th, 2008
On April 12, University of Illinois student Steven Velasquez became the recipient of some hater’s violence. While there are two sides to every story, some facts are not in dispute:
Velasquez was walking with friends at 1:00 am. Another young man, Brett Vanasdlen, saw him and made a bigoted remark.
According to Velasquez, he responded, “How ignorant was that?” and kept walking. According to Vanasdlen, Velasquez grabbed him and started screaming, “What did you say” in his face.
In both stories, Vanasdlen threw Velasquez to the ground where he was knocked out, suffered head trauma, and was taken to the hospital. He was released the next day and is fine.
Vanasdlen was arrested and charged with a hate crime. He’s been released until his trial.
It is likely that this will be a very straightforward case. There were witnesses who can make their argument and a judge or jury will either convict or acquit Vanasdlen of assault.
But the story does not stop there.
David Duke, onetime Louisiana legislator and Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, has a website where like-minded individuals proclaim their beliefs. They rant about the corrupting influence of Jews, how civil rights laws lead to black men raping white women, how European countries need to keep their ethnic identity free from the dilution of immigration, and radical hispanics want to return the Southwest to Mexico. Rev. Ted Pike is a regular writer who specializes in anti-Semitic screeds (he loves Jews in the same way that LaBarbara love gays).
On Duke’s website, Rev. Ted Pike tells a version of the story provided by Vanasdlen’s mother. He claims that Vanasdlen is only being tried because “The police department of Champaign, Illinois is reported to be under pressure from higher authorities to increase its quota of hate crimes convictions.”
Pike encourages his readers to protest Vanasdlen’s arraignment before the facts are presented at trial. And it appears that one of his peers is taking up the cause.
Peter LaBarbera, an anti-gay activist better known for his extensive collection of gay porn and his video-taping of leather and other fetish events, is now meeting the challenge on Duke’s website. In case some of his readers are not also readers of Duke’s racist website, LaBarbera invites them to join the campaigners (LaBarbera downplays the racist and anti-Semitic connection, calling Pike a “pro-family advocate”).
TAKE ACTION: 1) Urge Champaign County, Illinois State’s Attorney Julia Rietz (phone: (217) 384-3733) to drop the government’s one-sided felony “hate crimes” prosecution against 18-year-old student-athlete Brett VanAsdlen — based on the inconsistent and likely exaggerated claims of Steven Velasquez, a homosexual University of Illinois (U of I) student who may have initiated physical contact with VanAsdlen. Already, Brett is being smeared as violent “gay-basher” by Velasquez and pro-homosexual activists in the media. Pray for Brett and his family.
Now it may be that the truth is different than what Velasquez has reported. In fact, a trial might find that he was the instigater and at fault. That’s what the jurisprudence system is set up to do.
But I do know that some – David Duke, Ted Pike, Peter LaBarbera, and those who share their views – have decided that Vanasdlen should not have to account for his actions that night. They believe that good Christian “strapping, clean-cut, All-American looking young man” should be able to send a gay kid with a name like Valasquez to the hospital without question.
I think that attitude is evil.