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HIV considered “dangerous weapon”

Timothy Kincaid

August 20th, 2010

Back in October, a fellow by the name of Christopher Everett proved that the gay community is not exempt from including absolutely disgustingly foul creatures. From the arrest affidavit:

On October 20th, 2009 XXXX was interviewed at the Children’s Advocacy Center in Belton, Texas by Forensic Interviewer, Susan Schanne-Knobloch. During the interview XXXX advised that Christopher Everett invited him to “hang out” at Christopher’s home on the evening of October 16th, 2009. They arranged to meet by using their cell phones. XXXX left his home without his parent’s knowledge and Christopher Everett picked him and they arrived in Copperas Cove shortly after midnight.

Once they arrived at Christopher Everett’s home Christopher began kissing and touching him. XXX then explained that before Christopher Everett took XXXX back home Christopher Everett had penetrated XXXX anally (without the protection of a condom). XXXX also added that Christopher Everett knew his age which XXXX divulged when they first began to communicate through an internet social site called “grinder”. XXXX added that after the incident occurred he learned (through a friend who had also communicated with Christopher Everett through “Grinder”) that Christopher Everett claims that he is HIV Positive.

Everett is 26, XXXX is 16. There is no report on XXXX’s seroimmunity status but I hope that he did not become infected.

From KXXV:

Everett was in the Coryell County jail Tuesday in lieu of a $50,000 bond. He is charged with aggravated sexual assault with deadly weapon, an offense punishable by five to 99 years or even life in prison.

Now is one of those times when I’m glad that Texas is not lenient on criminals. I’ve seen too many kids who trusted a foul creature like Everett before they were old enough or wise enough to know better.

UPDATE:

Reader PR brought a follow-up story to our attention which adds additional detail (kxxv):

During an interview with investigators, Everett admitted he was infected with HIV and did not inform the teen.

He pleaded guilty to Aggravated Assault with A Deadly Weapon in June, with the deadly weapon being the virus.

Everett’s attorney argued for parole, because the victim’s blood tests haven’t tested positive for HIV. State prosecutors said the act was like “pointing a loaded gun at someone, and then it not going off.”

Everett was sentenced in the 52nd District Court to 15 years in prison and must pay a $3,000 fine.

Comments

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Tone
August 20th, 2010 | LINK

A sound argument for teaching teens what they need to know to have safer sex. In no way do I condone Everett’s behaviour.

Emily K
August 20th, 2010 | LINK

cue wingnuts using this guy as an example of all gays. It makes me glad you compile the “heterosexual agenda” posts you do.

Jutta Zalud
August 20th, 2010 | LINK

I just wonder: if XXXX had been a 16 year old girl, wouldn’t the reaction be more like “She should have known better”, “Why did she go home with him?” or “She asked for it”.
Nobody should have unprotected sex and even less so on a first date and I don’t condone Everett’s behavior, but I think it’s important that boys / young men learn to reasonably protect themselves like girls and young women had to learn for ages. – And that their parents, teachers etc. teach them!

I still remember a neighbor saying how lucky she was because she had two sons and no daughters – as teenage daughters risc to get pregnant and teenage sons don’t. That was in the early 1960es, when pregnancy out of wedlock was still very much disapproved by society but I think that too little has changed since then.

L. Junius Brutus
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

“I just wonder: if XXXX had been a 16 year old girl, wouldn’t the reaction be more like “She should have known better”, “Why did she go home with him?” or “She asked for it”.”

Oh yeah. We blame the victim when it’s a girl, so why shouldn’t we do the same when it’s a boy?

This case will evoke the wrath of people who think that HIV+ people have absolutely no obligation whatsoever to tell their sexual partners that they have HIV, or use a condom, or that they even have a right to lie about their status in order to get unprotected sex.

I hope the book is thrown at this disgusting creep (cue the howls that I’m being ‘cruel’ and ‘barbaric’). There is a special place in hell for people who do this, esp. to 16-year-olds.

justsearching
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

I think the 16-year-old had a pretty good idea what he was in for if the forum upon which he agreed to “hang out” was called “grinder.” You speak of him as a “kid” who probably was not “old enough to know better” but I don’t think that’s an accurate characterization in this case. New Hampshire, rightly or wrongly, allows individuals 3 years younger than this XXXX to marry, and almost every state allows 16-year-old’s to marry with parental consent. I’m not justifying the actions of Everett. It’s terrible that he did what he did especially because he was HIV-positive. He was abusing the trust of someone younger than him. I’m just saying that I think most minors (I hope?) would know not to put themselves in to that sort of situation. If they don’t know this, then the parents/teachers of today’s society are failing miserably at common sense education.

L. Junius Brutus
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

14-year-old “kid” brutally murders a classmate: Poor kid, he was only 14, he didn’t know what he was doing! Anyone can grab a gun and shoot a classmate in the back and the head twice! How many of you can say that you’ve never done it?!? Now you actually want to *punish* him for what he has done?

16-year-old has his trust abused by a creep with HIV: He put himself in that position. He should have known better. 16-year-olds are not kids. New Hampshire allows them to marry. I don’t know whether this is right or wrong, but this proves, PROVES that 16-year-olds are not too young to know better. The fact that Yemen and Saudi-Arabia allow 7 and 8-year-olds to marry, rightly or wrongly, also PROVES that they are old enough what they are doing. I am not justifying what he did (even though I realize that I need to include this proviso, because it sure looks like I’m mostly attacking the victim and not the perpetrator), but the victim had it coming: he put himself into that situation. He had a pretty good idea what he was in for: he knew that a 26-year old creep with HIV would have sex with him, and not even use protection. Who is to say that the boy was not a clairvoyant? He knew all along! I’ve been taught common sense by parents and teachers, so I know that!

a.mcewen
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

In Germany, there is a huge controversy over a female singer who potentially infected men with HIV – http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3098669/Pop-stars-HIV-rap.html

The repulsive irony is that I found the article on Free Republic under the section called “homosexual agenda.”

It just goes to show that people want to stigmatize, they twist with abandonment.

Auntie Dogma
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

Other than bitchslapping every HIV-positive person in the LGBT community with a heaping helping of unnecessary stigma, did you have a point? Or were you just out to further marginalize people living with AIDS?

L. Junius Brutus
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

“Other than bitchslapping every HIV-positive person in the LGBT community with a heaping helping of unnecessary stigma, did you have a point? Or were you just out to further marginalize people living with AIDS?”

Uh, how does this post ‘bitchslap’ every HIV-positive person? And how does it marginalize them? I think you are bitchslapping HIV-positive people, by suggesting that they would be offended or marginalized by a post criticizing a vile criminal who possibly infected a 16-year-old boy.

Jason D
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

“Other than bitchslapping every HIV-positive person in the LGBT community with a heaping helping of unnecessary stigma, did you have a point? Or were you just out to further marginalize people living with AIDS?”

Auntie, I had no idea that HIV positive people would classify themselves as being unethical scumbags like Everett.

It’s my impression that HIV positive people loathe assholes like Everett and wouldn’t want to be in the same room with him, much less in the same category as him.

We can criticize the unethical behavior of one person with HIV without stigmatizing the entire community, right? The post had no blanket statements about folks with HIV, so I’m not sure why you are so offended.

If we’re not allowed to discuss how HIV positive people can function constructively as opposed to destructively —we should probably just thrown all the condoms and research out the window, after all we wouldn’t want to stigmatize people with a disease by treating them like people with a disease.

justsearching you can’t teach common sense, however you can teach kids about safer sex practices and the fact that many(most?) people with HIV don’t appear outwardly to be ill in any way.

At 30, yes he should’ve known better. At 16, not so much. Maybe he knew better, maybe he didn’t.

Priya Lynn
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

I wonder if Auntie Dogma is a troll, it just seems hard to believe anyone would honestly think like her.

Ben in Oakland
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

I’m just saying that I think most minors (I hope?) would know not to put themselves in to that sort of situation. If they don’t know this, then the parents/teachers of today’s society are failing miserably at common sense education.”

That’s why they are minors and not-consenting adults. How many boys (and girls) have believed the creeps like this one?

We don’t teach responsible sex in this society, just like we don’t teach responsible drug use, lest the little ones eat of the tree of knowledge and become corrupted.

We much prefer that they die lingering deaths, instead.

In my single days, I was one of the biggest sluts around. (see what a civilizing influence marriage is?) but I knew enough not to go poking around in places that might get me a nasty disease without protection. I figured that out in 1975 when I was 25. Before then I had gonorrhea a number of times, becauase no one ever told me that sex could lead to disease. It took me 20 years to catch it again.

I also used a number of drugs in my youth, but it was very clear to me which were the dangerous ones that should be avoided after one try, and which were safe if I used them responsibly.

Responsibility if the key.

David
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

Auntie Dogma has a point, poorly expressed, that everyone has missed so far.

Texas is trying to make having sex while HIV+ a criminal act – as the headline itself reads “HIV considered a deadly weapon”.

As heartless as Everett’s actions were, the response by Texas would lead to a precedent that targets all people living with HIV.

People are worried that Everett’s case will be used to threaten GLBTQ people, but, currently, Texas is using this to create a precedent that threatens everyone living with AIDS.

As PWA, what is really offensive is the particular comparison that L. Junius Brutus, Jason D used to dismiss the very real concern that Auntie expressed poorly.

Their interpretation – that we’ll be perceived as abusers – rather than the criminalization of our disease implicit in Texas’s actions, indicates that on some level, these three do stigmatize HIV positive people as irresponsible and worse. Nothing in Auntie’s remarks supports that particular claim, while Texas’s act of essentially classifying HIV as a deadly weapon does indeed stigmatize PWAs.

Texas is essentially going to argue that having sex while HIV+ is “aggravated sexual assault with deadly weapon”. That is a serious threat to all people living with HIV, not just the rare individual, gay or straight, HIV+ or HIV-, who commits sexual assault.

Before you protest – HIV stigma is alive and well in the GLBTQ community – and the slap in the face here lies in BTB recognizing in its headline how Texas intends to stigmatize all people with HIV, only to focus on the abusive context of Everett’s actions.

Priya – one of the calling cards of a troll is that they rely on derogatory dismissals in place of substantive contributions.

Priya Lynn
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

David, Auntie Dogma didn’t make the point that Texas is trying to make having sex while HIV+ a crime. Her point had nothing to do with that. Her point was that Timothy’s post was a “bitch slap” to every HIV + person and that his post had no point. Auntie Dogma’s point was total BS.

And you have no point either. Timothy has no involvement and no responsibility whatsoever for what Texas is trying to do so both you and Auntie Dogma can take your BS and stuff it.

David Farrell
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

I think the point TX is making is that this person was HIV+ and had unprotected sex with a minor. If 2 consenting adults want to engage in sexual acts and one is HIV+ and lets the other know then it is fine; however, if the person who is HIV+ fails to notify the other person then I have no problem with them being charged criminally.
After all, HIV is still a terminal disease.

L. Junius Brutus
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

“People are worried that Everett’s case will be used to threaten GLBTQ people, but, currently, Texas is using this to create a precedent that threatens everyone living with AIDS.”

Exactly how does this threaten everyone living with AIDS? They can’t go around having unprotected sex without telling that they have a terminal and chronic disease that their partner could easily catch? They have to… use condoms, so that other people don’t get infected?

“Their interpretation – that we’ll be perceived as abusers – rather than the criminalization of our disease implicit in Texas’s actions, indicates that on some level, these three do stigmatize HIV positive people as irresponsible and worse.”

These laws do not stigmatize anyone as irresponsible, and even if they did, they would be justified because they protect innocents from predators who are willing to give those innocents diseases out of neglect or malice. Use a condom and everything is alright. What is wrong with that?

“Priya – one of the calling cards of a troll is that they rely on derogatory dismissals in place of substantive contributions.”

Yeah, like “slap in the face”. If you think that HIV+ people have an absolute and inalienable right to have unprotected sex with others without telling those others about their status, and without using protection, be my guest. But don’t hide behind “slaps in the face”, or attack Texas because you know that it will play well with us.

justsearching
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

Brutus, I’m saying two pretty simple, and, in my opinion, uncontroversial things: 1. XXXX probably knew some sort of sexual contact would happen when he agreed to meet up 2. Children at the age of 16 hopefully have been taught by that age not to meet up with strangers, and not to have unprotected sex. That’s all I’m saying. You do well at misconstruing what people say, and trying to make their statements more extreme than they actually are.

Priya Lynn
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

Justsearching, your points go without saying and for you and others to bring them up implies you are placing some of the blame on the victim when it rests 100% on that scumbag Everett. Children have a right to be naive and no one can be surprised that any 16 year old should act that way. What you think a 16 year old “probably knew” and should “have been taught” is utterly irrelevant.

Hazemyth
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

“Exactly how does this threaten everyone living with AIDS? They can’t go around having unprotected sex without telling that they have a terminal and chronic disease that their partner could easily catch? They have to… use condoms, so that other people don’t get infected?”

Certainly poz people should be and usually are responsible about their sero-status. That’s not the same as criminalizing misbehavior.

If seroconversion is classified as a dangerous weapon it does set a troublesome precedent. What level of care is required. There’s no clear indicator. Similarly, what is required of the rest of us. Are we legally at fault if we don’t know are status? What if we don’t know but we’ve been tested? And when and how often do we need to be tested? What about unwitting transmission. Might lesser charges apply?

I would be troubled by but might consider a law that adds additional penalties to rape charges, based on STD status. But it would be necessary . That HIV+ status creates an entirely new crime, assault instead of rape, is a problem.

L. Junius Brutus
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

justsearching: “You do well at misconstruing what people say, and trying to make their statements more extreme than they actually are.”

I do very well at that, thank you very much. I point out that you spend most of your time attacking the victim and blaming him for what happened. I don’t care what you think people should know. As it happens, this 16-year-old unfortunately did not know not to let disgusting creeps to take advantage of him. Maybe he trusted someone. Good judgment is hardly common among 16-year-olds – of course, another avenue of attack for you. Everything is fodder for your cannon, isn’t it? Disgusting.

Hazemyth: “seroconversion ”

Are you talking about infecting someone with HIV?

“There’s no clear indicator. Similarly, what is required of the rest of us. Are we legally at fault if we don’t know are status? What if we don’t know but we’ve been tested? And when and how often do we need to be tested? What about unwitting transmission. Might lesser charges apply?”

That is really irrelevant at this point. Are you saying that you think that HIV+ people who KNOW about their status should not be prosecuted for purposefully infecting other people? I don’t care if this causes inconvenience for people who have HIV. You just don’t go around having unprotected sex when you know you can give another person a terminal disease.

Scott P.
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

Just something I’d like to point out. AIDS is no longer considered a “terminal” disease, but a chronic condition by most physicians.

AJD
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

I’m of the opinion that if you know you have HIV and you have unprotected sex with someone without telling them, then you should be prosecuted.

As for the kid, he lives in Texas, which has become a major center of abstinence-only “education,” so it’s quite possible that proper use of a condom was not part of the curriculum in health class.

And people should remember what it’s like to be 16. Kids that age let their emotions get the better of them and do stupid things without thinking. They’re also often desperately horny, especially if they’re gay and living in a small town. So, I’m not inclined to blame XXXX for what happened, and I hope they throw the book at Everett.

justsearching
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

The site (app) is “Grindr” not “Grinder.”

Priya Lynn
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

AJD said “I’m of the opinion that if you know you have HIV and you have unprotected sex with someone without telling them, then you should be prosecuted.”.

Absolutely, they should be charged with attempted murder if the victim is HIV- and murder if the victim ends up being HIV+

Scott P.
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

Again I’ll say it, a diagnosis of AIDS (not merely being HIV+) is no longer considered a “death” sentence! It is considered chronic, in the same way that diabetes is! Please, please, PLEASE stop equating HIV with DEATH!!! People with AIDS are now living normal life spans. So long as they manage their medications properly there is no reason to fear having a shorten life!

Hazemyth
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

“Are you talking about infecting someone with HIV?”

I’m talking about classifying HIV as a deadly weapon.

“Are you saying that you think that HIV+ people who KNOW about their status should not be prosecuted for purposefully infecting other people?”

I thought it was pretty clear that I was talking about all sorts of instances of transmission. The variety and ambiguities of such instances are precisely what make this so problematic.

Moreover, knowing that you have HIV is not the same as purposefully infecting someone. Conflating these things is exactly the sort of thing that will lead to the prosecution of innocent people.

“You just don’t go around having unprotected sex when you know you can give another person a terminal disease.”

Again, there are more permutations for this than you’re allowing for.

Concealing one’s status is recklessly dishonest — but partners sometimes lie. Failing to volunteer one’s status is also reckless — but so is failing to ask.

Sleeping with someone involves trust and trust is a risk, in all sorts of ways. When you sleep with someone, you assume that risk. If you fail to establish trust, you’re accepting more risk.

Safety is not solely the onus of those who know they are positive. They are not solely responsible, let alone criminally so.

(None of that applies to cases involving minors, as the above, which constitutes statutory rape. My comments are solely directed to the overly broad interpretation of status as a weapon, which is a separate issue.)

Even given the above, there are many immoral
things that people shouldn’t do, some with dire consequences. That doesn’t mean that those things are criminal.

“I don’t care if this causes inconvenience for people who have HIV.”

Being subject to criminal penalty is more than an inconvenience.

It’s contradictory to regard people who may be or recently have been infected with HIV as victims, yet not sympathize with those that carry the disease. They’re one and the same.

Lynn David
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

Apart from an HIV status, sex with someone (the victim) under 18 when the person is 4 years or more older than the victim (as Everett is) is statutory rape in Tennessee. I’m guessing that the aggravated sexual assault with a deadly weapon is just a ploy to have Everett plea bargain down to the statutory rape charge.

L. Junius Brutus
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

Scott P.: “Please, please, PLEASE stop equating HIV with DEATH!!! ”

Yeah, people might take steps to avoid it. Instead, let’s tell them that HIV-people have normal lifespans, while neglecting to mention the more burdensome aspects.

Hazemyth: “I thought it was pretty clear that I was talking about all sorts of instances of transmission. The variety and ambiguities of such instances are precisely what make this so problematic.”

Give me a straight answer (no pun intended). Should it be legal for a HIV+ person, who knows about his status, to:

1. have unprotected sex with someone who is or may not be HIV-?
2. lie about their status to get unprotected sex?

“Sleeping with someone involves trust and trust is a risk, in all sorts of ways. When you sleep with someone, you assume that risk. If you fail to establish trust, you’re accepting more risk.”

Crossing the street involves some risk. While people accept that risk while crossing the street, this no more justifies deliberately hitting someone with your car than the risk that someone takes when sleeping with someone justifies deliberately infecting someone.

“Safety is not solely the onus of those who know they are positive. They are not solely responsible, let alone criminally so.”

You are – to my disgust – arguing that HIV+ have NO responsibility to avoid infecting healthy people. Thankfully, in the real world, reason prevails, and people are held criminally responsible for deliberately or recklessly infecting other people.

“(None of that applies to cases involving minors, as the above, which constitutes statutory rape. My comments are solely directed to the overly broad interpretation of status as a weapon, which is a separate issue.)”

Nah, you’re just defending the right of HIV+-people to deliberately or recklessly infect healthy adults, not healthy minors. What a relief.

“It’s contradictory to regard people who may be or recently have been infected with HIV as victims, yet not sympathize with those that carry the disease. They’re one and the same.”

One can sympathize with the people who carry that disease without defending their “right” to deliberately or recklessly infect healthy people – apparently something that you are unable or unwilling to mentally grasp.

L. Junius Brutus
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

I can’t believe that this is an actual argument. Thankfully, most people on this thread seem to be on the side of sanity.

Scott P.
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

L. Junius, please enumerate these burdensome aspects. For the most part it requires taking ONE pill to suppress the virus. Yes, cholesterol must be checked about twice a year, and viral levels are checked 3-4 times a year. That’s “burdensome???

A few years ago there was this HUGH scare about a new SUPER strain of HIV. The media went into a frenzy, Law & Order (tv) had an episode about a person carelessly infecting others. Turns out there was no super-strain waiting to consume a new generation of gay men. All I’m asking is that we quit equating HIV with automatic death or endless suffering. It’s not a realistic portrayal of AIDS and HIV.

True, it’s best to avoid it, but don’t make it out to be worse than it actually is.

Scott P.
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

I meant that to be one pill a day, not one pill only.

L. Junius Brutus
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

“L. Junius, please enumerate these burdensome aspects. For the most part it requires taking ONE pill to suppress the virus. ”

I wouldn’t know what those burdensome aspects are. However, the New York Times has reported on it: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/06/health/06HIV.html

“True, it’s best to avoid it, but don’t make it out to be worse than it actually is.”

“Best” to avoid it? Is that an understatement, or what? With a prevailing attitude like that, no wonder that some people are rather blasé about infecting other people (note: I’m not suggesting that you are like that). Example: “Even given the above, there are many immoral
things that people shouldn’t do, some with dire consequences. That doesn’t mean that those things are criminal.”

Scott P.
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

L. Junius, and I could say that attitudes like yours are the reason so many people hide their status, or worse, refuse to find out!

HIV is NOT a walk in the park, but let’s stop calling it a DEATH sentence. Is that really too much to ask?

L. Junius Brutus
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

“L. Junius, and I could say that attitudes like yours are the reason so many people hide their status, or worse, refuse to find out!”

Really? Why would anyone hide their status, simply because I say that HIV is a terrible disease to have? I don’t see them as any less human, unless they go around recklessly and deliberately infecting others, or defend people who do. So there’s really no reason to hide one’s status, not because of me or people like me, anyway.

You’d be surprised at the number of people who engage in safe sex only because of their fear of HIV.

“HIV is NOT a walk in the park, but let’s stop calling it a DEATH sentence. Is that really too much to ask?”

This contradicts what you said earlier. “It’s best to avoid HIV” sure sounds like a walk in the park. Usually, when someone is talking about something horrible, one does not say that it is “best” to avoid it.

Moreover, I never said that HIV is a death sentence. I called it a terminal disease. Eventually, it will get all the people whom it has infected, even though it may take longer because of recent advances.

L. Junius Brutus
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

Oh, and regarding it being a walk in the park, you said earlier that having HIV wasn’t even “burdensome” (“That’s burdensome???”) – which is still rather mild. Apparently, now you do think that it’s burdensome. We’re making progress here.

Scott P.
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

L. Junius, please don’t treat me like some ignorant troll, or try to read meanings into my posts. You’re the one who called being HIV+ burdensome, not I. I asked you to enumerate the ways you felt it was “burdensome”. Nothing from you personally, just a link to a paper that is noted for it’s AIDS hysteria. I never implied that be HIV+ was not a bad, unwanted condition. All I’ve asked is that people stop referring to it as a DEATH sentence. Guess that’s too much for you.

Scott P.
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

*being, not be

Joe
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

If one is HIV + and has unprotected sex with someone without disclosing one’s HIV status (or worse, lying about one’s HIV status), then you should be prosecuted.

It’s that simple.

For those who think this marginalizes HIV + folk, I don’t see how. No one is saying that HIV + people should be prosecuted, but attempted murder is definitely something that is illegal and should be penalized.

Sympathy stops when a person with HIV gives it willingly to someone else.

Joe

Joe
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

I find it odd that some of the comments include arguments such as, at sixteen he should know better.

This misses the point. The person who owns the gun is responsible if he shoots someone. It doesn’t matter if the person stood in front of him willingly; shooting someone is still murder.

Same thing with Everett. He was the one with the HIV. He was the one responsible for informing his partner. It doesn’t matter whether or not the partner should have known to act better. The person holding the gun or the HIV is responsible.

It really isn’t too difficult to comprehend.

Priya Lynn
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

It concerns me that there are people like Hazemyth who instead of making the obvious answer, equivocate when asked ““Are you saying that you think that HIV+ people who KNOW about their status should not be prosecuted for purposefully infecting other people?””.

The only acceptable answer to that is a firm and unequivocal “NO!” but Hazemyth waffles and doesn’t answer – that’s scary.

Hazemyth said “It’s contradictory to regard people who may be or recently have been infected with HIV as victims, yet not sympathize with those that carry the disease. They’re one and the same.”.

No one here has said they have no sympathy for those that carry the disease. I have sympathy for all innocent people with HIV but I certainly have no sympathy for scum like Everett who hide their HIV status from sex partners and it greatly concerns me that people like you seem to be saying he deserves sympathy. He does not.

Hazemyth said “Safety is not solely the onus of those who know they are positive. They are not solely responsible, let alone criminally so.”.

If someone knows they have HIV and fails to inform a sexual partner of that they most certainly are criminally responsible.

The idea that prosecuting people like this somehow will conflate having HIV with purposefully infecting someone and lead to prosecutions of innocent people is preposterous and no one here has conflated the two. Condemning the hideous actions of Everett in no way reflects badly on responsible people with HIV

Jim Burroway
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

I just want to weigh in on the “Death sentence” aspect. People with HIV today can expect to live nearly normal lifespans — one recent study pegged the difference at only about half a year on average. Becoming HIV-positive is not a death sentence!

As someone who is in a serodiscordant relationship for more than seven years (I’m negative, my partner is positive), I’m extremely impatient with people who display such ignorance. HIV/AIDS is no walk in the park. I certainly want no part of having to take the meds, dealing with side effects, etc. But it’s time we ended the hysteria once and for all.

I think it is entirely appropriate to condemn harshly Everett’s heinous actions. But I think calling HIV a “dangerous weapon” does inflict egregious stigma to everyone living with HIV/AIDS. It’s something I see all the time. I wonder how many HIV-negative people are truly able to walk in the shoes of someone who is HIV-positive and deal with the constant crap they have to put up with, not just from straight society, but from the gay community as well.

xxxx was “only” sixteen, and so I will not comment on his culpability at that age. I have no idea what his maturity level is. But I think we ought to agree that any adult who doesn’t play safe because either of 1) assurances of his new partner that he’s negative or 2) an assumption that his partner is negative is a complete idiot.

An individual can be newly infected and that infection may not show up on an HIV antibodies test for 6-8 months — precisely when that newly infected individual is himself the most infectious. (Viral load goes down and remains very low for the next several years before the onset of AIDS symptoms if left untreated, when viral load goes back up again.) So someone in good faith may believe he is negative, may have a test to prove that he is negative, and yet still may be quite infectious, relatively speaking.

So yeah, there are scumbags who lie, and there are people who really don’t know they’re positive. If you get infected, what difference does it make? You’re still infected.

Meanwhile, someone on meds with undetectable viral load, on the other hand, can have an extremely low probability of infecting others. Swiss health authorities recently said that those with undetectable viral load “do not pose a danger to others.”

I don’t say that to say that everyone with undetectable viral load should go out and have unprotected sex with everyone they meet. Nor do I excuse those who refuse to disclose their serostatus, even if they beleive that their low viral load makes them safe. Viral loads can fluctuate somewhat — if someone gets the cold or flu, for example. My partner has an undetectable viral load, but we are still very careful nonetheless, and I strongly recommend everyone else do the same.

But it’s time people arm themselves with the facts and stop being so hysterical. And for everyone to take responsibility for themselves and always play safe, no matter the assurances of your partner. Because in the end, if you get infected armed with today’s level of knowledge, you really have no one to blame but yourself. And, as if it mattered, you would get absolutely zero sympathy from me.

PR
August 21st, 2010 | LINK

By the way, since the post doesn’t have much research behind it… this guy was sentenced recently. 15 years in prison and $3,000 fine. http://www.kxxv.com/Global/story.asp?S=12977817

William
August 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Everett seems a vile creature, and at times like this we should be careful how we use the terms like gay community. We have no more reason to apologize for him, unless our own behaviour in some way corresponds with this.

But I think one of the best arguments for normalization of the idea of being gay is to protect children, so they feel more confident looking for people their own age, and more aware of risks. These kinds of relationships aren’t healthy, emotionally as much as physically or disease-wise. My own first physical contact with another man was with someone much older, which thankfully didn’t go anywhere, but one day we will get away from the idea that initiation by someone much older is a normal part of gay life.

L. Junius Brutus
August 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Scott P.: “L. Junius, please don’t treat me like some ignorant troll, or try to read meanings into my posts. You’re the one who called being HIV+ burdensome, not I. I asked you to enumerate the ways you felt it was “burdensome”. Nothing from you personally, just a link to a paper that is noted for it’s AIDS hysteria.”

The New York Times is known for “it’s [sic] AIDS hysteria”? Just because some paper does not pretend that having AIDS is not burdensome (like you do), does not make it hysterical in any way.

“I never implied that be HIV+ was not a bad, unwanted condition. ”

First, it was “best” not to have it (wow, who knew?). Then it was “not a walk in the park”. Now, it’s a “bad, unwanted condition”. Which is still an understatement. Getting a black eye is “bad and unwanted”. HIV is horrible.

“All I’ve asked is that people stop referring to it as a DEATH sentence. ”

I never referred to it as a death sentence, something I reiterated in the post you responded to (“Moreover, I never said that HIV is a death sentence.”) I did say that AIDS is a terminal condition, and that it eventually gets most of the people who have been infected by it.

Jim Burroway: “I certainly want no part of having to take the meds, dealing with side effects, etc. ”

Well, that was what I was trying to tell Scott P. It’s no just popping a pill in every day and you’re fine.

“xxxx was “only” sixteen, and so I will not comment on his culpability at that age. ”

Culpability? Really? I wonder how you reconcile being against the “constant crap” that you say HIV+ people take from gay and straight society, while at the same time holding people “culpable” for getting infected. You’re making the same distinction that anti-gay folks make, that people are somehow “guilty” for having the disease, while others (like hemophiliacs) are innocent.

“So yeah, there are scumbags who lie, and there are people who really don’t know they’re positive. If you get infected, what difference does it make? You’re still infected.”

What kind of an argument is this? It does not matter to a person whether he dies in an accident, or whether he is murdered. He’s still dead. Yet we punish one, and not the other. Those scumbags who lie, or who know about their status and refuse to inform their partner and use protection, should be held accountable just like murderers are, while the people who infect someone without knowing should go free, just like people who accidentally (but not recklessly) kill.

“And for everyone to take responsibility for themselves and always play safe, no matter the assurances of your partner. ”

Well, yeah. But unfortunately, 30 years after the emergence of AIDS, many people still don’t always “play safe”. I don’t like it, but it’s reality, and we have to work with reality. Some evil freaks abuse this by either lying, or not informing their partner, even though they know that their patner would never agree to unprotected sex, or sex at all, if they knew. They should be prosecuted, just like all other people who deliberately or recklessly inflict harm on others should be.

“Because in the end, if you get infected armed with today’s level of knowledge, you really have no one to blame but yourself. ”

Right. Someone who deliberately infects others by lying is not blameworthy, while a young, naive person is.

L. Junius Brutus
August 22nd, 2010 | LINK

PR: “By the way, since the post doesn’t have much research behind it… this guy was sentenced recently. 15 years in prison and $3,000 fine. ”

I can’t say that I think 15 years is enough, but I’m happy that he’s going to be put away for a long, long time. And I’m very happy that the poor boy has not been infected.

justsearching
August 22nd, 2010 | LINK

“Right. Someone who deliberately infects others by lying is not blameworthy, while a young, naive person is.”

Can you bare to hear the words you have spoken, twisted by, well, Brutus.

Scott P.
August 22nd, 2010 | LINK

L. Junius, you engage in what the rabbis call pilpul (pepper), twisting both the logic and original intent of a word, or statement, until it means what you want it to mean. An example of which is the way that Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men think that if they screw standing up they haven’t violated any Biblical prohibitions. You’re the one who called being HIV+ “burdensome”. You defended this position by citing a newspaper that is know for it’s diatribes about AIDS. It was the most vocal about the new “super” strain of HIV that turn out not to exist (thus AIDS hysteria). I never said you called it a death sentence. All I asked is that people stop referring to it as such. And you seemed to have taken up my request as if it were a personal challenge for you to slap me down and prove that I’m wrong, wrong, wrong, to even entertain the idea that it isn’t an automatic march to the grave.

Jim Burroway
August 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Culpability? Really? I wonder how you reconcile being against the “constant crap” that you say HIV+ people take from gay and straight society, while at the same time holding people “culpable” for getting infected. You’re making the same distinction that anti-gay folks make, that people are somehow “guilty” for having the disease, while others (like hemophiliacs) are innocent.

You either misread me or just want to presume that I hold a position I do not. I do not and never have used the terms “guilty” or “innocent.” 20-30 years ago, a lot of people were diagnosed with AIDS who didn’t know about the virus when they were infected. The latency period could be up to 10 years, which means that people in the early ’90’s were still getting diagnosed who here infected in the early ’80’s before safe-sex messages were widespread.

But today, things are different. But even still it’s not about guilt or innocence, but taking responsibility for your own health. We know what causes obesity, emphysema, lung cancer and HIV, and we know how to significantly lower the odds of all these things for most people. Marlboro didn’t make anyone smoke their cigarettes and get emphysema, and that hot guy in the bar didn’t make anyone have sex without a condom.

I know we live in a culture in which taking responsibility isn’t a popular option, but in the end, you can cry all you want about how other people made you do something you shouldn’t have done, but that’s a copout. But what do you expect. We’ve become a nation of crybabies.

Well, yeah. But unfortunately, 30 years after the emergence of AIDS, many people still don’t always “play safe”. I don’t like it, but it’s reality, and we have to work with reality.

That’s bullshit. Like I said, we are adults, and we are informed. Don’t come crying to me if you decide not to wear seat belts, smoke cigarettes, or you have unsafe sex with a guy who promises on a stack of bibles that he’s negative. Or that he loves you. Or that he thinks you’re the hottest guy he’s seen in years. Jesus Christ, people. These people who cry woe is me and blame the other guy need to grow the f*ck up.

You claim that I want to make everyone with AIDS guilty, when I have never said any such thing. But what you appear to want to do is make everyone with AIDS a “victim,” a label which people with AIDS do not want. Again, another label that the right likes to use against us. They also want to stigmatize people with aids as aggressors. Unfortunately, people who do not disclose or lie about their status add to that stigma, and for that and for their recklessness and selfishness they are blameworthy. But it’s stupid and irresponsible as a community if we also refuse to recognize the responsibility that we all have to watch out for our own health. Because nobody — nobody — will do that for us.

Jim Burroway
August 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Right. Someone who deliberately infects others by lying is not blameworthy, while a young, naive person is.

That is a deliberate strawman argument you pulled. Stop lying about what I said. I specifically said that XXXX is sixteen and I do not know the level of his maturity. At any rate, at 16 he is probably under the age of consent in Texas. As you well know, I was speaking about adults.

Jim Burroway
August 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Those scumbags who lie, or who know about their status and refuse to inform their partner and use protection, should be held accountable just like murderers are…

Murderers? Really? I can understand the logic if you were talking about assault. I wouldn’t agree necessarily. I can’t say I would be completely against the idea — I would still have some reservations, but at least I could understand the logic. But you seem to be under the illusion that getting AIDS is a death sentence. You need to stop believing the same hysteria put out by anti-gay extremists.

Scott P.
August 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Thank you, jim, those were my points exactly.

Mostly debate here is well reasoned, but certain people seem to delight in trying to shut down any opinion that doesn’t align precisely with theirs, twisting words and logic beyond what was meant or intended.

Hazemyth
August 22nd, 2010 | LINK

I think it’s important to keep in a mind a distinction between the ethical and legal issues involved here. Most of the conversation has, I think, focused on the former but there’s been a fair amount of elision with the latter.

While we certainly craft the law to further our ethical agendas, laws are complex, mercurial creatures. They have a variety of complex implications and set surprising precedents. My central point was simply that, whatever one’s narrow intent may be in criminalizing certain instances of HIV transmission, such a precedent could have a great deal of unintended consequences, criminalizing other behaviors. Some of those I postulated above.

That said, I am opposed to the criminalization of HIV transmission. I might find an exception in the case of a narrowly crafted law explicitly targeting intentional transmission (as opposed to mere awareness of status or risk) and yet broad enough that it does not single out HIV over other infectious diseases.

L. Junius Brutus
August 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Scott P.: “You’re the one who called being HIV+ “burdensome”. You defended this position by citing a newspaper that is know for it’s diatribes about AIDS.”

Please… It’s the freaking New York Times, not a local sensationalistic rag. Moreover, Jim also said that it’s not taking one pill a day: “I certainly want no part of having to take the meds, dealing with side effects, etc.”

“And you seemed to have taken up my request as if it were a personal challenge for you to slap me down and prove that I’m wrong, wrong, wrong, to even entertain the idea that it isn’t an automatic march to the grave.”

There is a vast chasm between “automatic march to the grave” and what you said it was, namely: “something it’s best to avoid”. Really? It’s best to avoid AIDS? Surely, you could find better ways to describe what AIDS is?

Jim Burroway: “I know we live in a culture in which taking responsibility isn’t a popular option, but in the end, you can cry all you want about how other people made you do something you shouldn’t have done, but that’s a copout.”

I absolutely agree that everyone should always use protection. However, I also think that people who have HIV should take responsibility. In fact, since they know that they have HIV, it only increases their responsibility to avoid infecting other people.

“Don’t come crying to me if you decide not to wear seat belts, smoke cigarettes, or you have unsafe sex with a guy who promises on a stack of bibles that he’s negative. Or that he loves you. Or that he thinks you’re the hottest guy he’s seen in years. Jesus Christ, people. These people who cry woe is me and blame the other guy need to grow the f*ck up.”

Really? People who have been lied to have no right to “blame the other guy” who lied to them and misled them into having unprotected sex?

“But it’s stupid and irresponsible as a community if we also refuse to recognize the responsibility that we all have to watch out for our own health.”

As far as I know, no one has refused to recognize that responsibility. However, I don’t see what this has to do with holding people who recklessly or deliberately infect others accountable for what they have done. We can recognize both the fact that everyone should always use protection, and the fact that predators need to be held accountable for the damage they inflict on people.

“That is a deliberate strawman argument you pulled. Stop lying about what I said. I specifically said that XXXX is sixteen and I do not know the level of his maturity. At any rate, at 16 he is probably under the age of consent in Texas. As you well know, I was speaking about adults.”

I wasn’t talking about XXXX at all. I was responding to what you said about people who get infected because someone lied to them, or refused to inform them about his status. I don’t believe that they have only themselves to blame, especially when they are young (18 is still young, 20 is still young) and naive.

“Murderers? Really? I can understand the logic if you were talking about assault. I wouldn’t agree necessarily. I can’t say I would be completely against the idea — I would still have some reservations, but at least I could understand the logic. But you seem to be under the illusion that getting AIDS is a death sentence. You need to stop believing the same hysteria put out by anti-gay extremists.”

I was only pointing out that your argument was invalid. You said that it does not make a difference to the victim whether he was deliberately or accidentally infected, he ends up infected in both cases. But this fact does not mean that we have to respond to both cases identically, and I used murder as an example. I also could have used assault as an example, or anything else.

Hazemyth: “My central point was simply that, whatever one’s narrow intent may be in criminalizing certain instances of HIV transmission, such a precedent could have a great deal of unintended consequences, criminalizing other behaviors. Some of those I postulated above.

That said, I am opposed to the criminalization of HIV transmission. I might find an exception in the case of a narrowly crafted law explicitly targeting intentional transmission (as opposed to mere awareness of status or risk) and yet broad enough that it does not single out HIV over other infectious diseases.”

Might? What can possibly be said in opposition to holding creeps accountable for deliberately infecting others? And your “exception” would let free a 60-year-old man with HIV who recklessly infects a young, naive 18-year-old boy, because he refused to use protection or to inform the boy about his status. Truly incredible.

Hazemyth
August 22nd, 2010 | LINK

My main opposition would be that intent is difficult to accurately construe, which would allow for the guilty to go free and the innocent to be convicted far too often for my liking.

As for your second point, yes that example is and should be perfectly legal. The older person’s behavior might well be reckless, unethical and otherwise objectionable, if he is, as you suggest, refusing to disclose his status. Generally, however, I don’t think that it’s a good idea for the law to shelter consenting adults from their own naivete.

More specifically, if you choose to have sex with someone whose status you cannot confirm, someone whom you do not know well and cannot reasonably trust with any conviction, then you really have made your own rather poor choice. (Given that both adults in the example are above the age-of-consent, I’m not sure what relevance their difference in age is meant to have, legally speaking.)

I don’t know why that’s incredible, even if you strongly disagree. You’re welcome to make your case for why such things should be illegal, rather than simply dismissing my case against it. It’s requisite of dialogue that you seriously consider other ideas (and not merely in your own unsympathetic terms), even if you dispute them. You can expect me to offer that consideration but don’t expect me to reply any further, if you don’t.

Hazemyth
August 22nd, 2010 | LINK

I’m very glad this entry has generated so much discussion and I really appreciate Jim Burroway’s contribution. I’d be very curious to see Steven Kincaid’s response, if he has any.

Priya Lynn
August 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Hazemyth said “That said, I am opposed to the criminalization of HIV transmission.”.

That’s pretty irresponsible of you. In Canada a number of years back there was a case of a man with HIV who knew itand had unprotected sex with dozens of women infecting I think around a dozen of them and he hid his HIV status from all of them. If you think this sort of person shouldn’t be prosecuted there’s something wrong with your moral compass.

Hazemyth said “My main opposition would be that intent is difficult to accurately construe, which would allow for the guilty to go free and the innocent to be convicted far too often for my liking.”.

Horsefeathers. By that logic no one should be prosecuted for rape either because its just as likely the guilty could go free and the innocent be convicted far too often for your liking. There will never be a perfect justice system and if we all felt no crime should be prosecuted if there was a possibility of the innocent being convicted we’d have no justice system whatsoever.

L. Junius Brutus
August 22nd, 2010 | LINK

“My main opposition would be that intent is difficult to accurately construe, which would allow for the guilty to go free and the innocent to be convicted far too often for my liking.”

Now that’s a good argument! Any law may allow some of the guilty to go free. So instead, let all the guilty go free by not having any such law.

By the way, that’s the good thing about the law as it stands. You don’t actually need to have the *intent* to spread the disease. Merely being negligent about it is enough.

“The older person’s behavior [in having unprotected sex with an 18-year old boy while he is HIV-positive] might well be reckless, unethical and otherwise objectionable”

Might be reckless, unethical and otherwise objectionable? You aren’t sure?

“Generally, however, I don’t think that it’s a good idea for the law to shelter consenting adults from their own naivete.”

They aren’t sheltered from naivete, they are sheltered from others who would recklessly and/or deliberately inflict a chronic disease on them. Nothing wrong with that, apparently. Generally, if you recklessly inflict harm on other people, you are held accountable, but you apparently want an exception for AIDS.

“Given that both adults in the example are above the age-of-consent, I’m not sure what relevance their difference in age is meant to have, legally speaking”

Legally speaking? You keep bringing up legal matters (or things that you think are legal matters), so I’m wondering… are you an attorney? Or a law student? I would guess that you are not, because your statements reveal that you do not know much about law (e.g., not knowing which groups of people could *potentially* be prosecuted under even the strictest of HIV-transmission laws), yet you keep bringing up legal matters. I think you need to be aware of basic legal principles, before you imagine what sort of thing can possibly happen under such laws.

“It’s requisite of dialogue that you seriously consider other ideas (and not merely in your own unsympathetic terms), ”

A millisecond of consideration is necessary for me to realize that your ideas lack any merit whatsoever: allowing HIV+-people to go around and have sex with people without using protection, and without even telling these people that they are infected? No, thank you very much.

If you can conjure up serious arguments and reasons, by all means do so, and I’ll consider them. But right now, this is what you are saying.

“You’re welcome to make your case for why such things should be illegal, rather than simply dismissing my case against it.”

What case? I don’t see any case, nor do I see any arguments. You just say that such laws are bad. Assertion is not evidence. By the way, I am not making a case for why these things should be illegal, because they are. Not only are these things illegal, but they are supported by the vast majority of people, and they have not led to the kind of things that you are “concerned” about. Your ‘case’ is for overturning these laws, and it is sorely lacking. So I’m curious. What would actually improve if these laws were repealed?

Jim Burroway
August 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Really? People who have been lied to have no right to “blame the other guy” who lied to them and misled them into having unprotected sex?

When their exact same action would have had the exact same result if the guy was said he was negative and didn’t know he was positive, then yes. As an adult who knows very well that there are risks to unprotected sex, no matter the genuine or deceptive assurances (and in either example, the false so what does it end up mattering?), then no. They have no right to blame anyone but themselves. They were the ones who chose to engage in risky behavior.

The point that I’m trying to drive home is that even if the partner says he is negative — even if he genuinely thinks he is negative — unprotected sex outside a serious long-term monogamous relationship is always risky. Adults recognize it and responsible adults take precautions.

I mean, while we’re at it, maybe we should just leave our homes unlocked and the keys in our cars ignition.

I was only pointing out that your argument was invalid.

There is nothing “invalid” about my arguments. (and really, who died and made you God to decide that your opinions any more “valid” than mine or anyone else’s.) “Just because you don’t want to acknowledge that everyone has a duty to act according to the best interests of protecting their own health doesn’t mean it’s not “valid.” I have no idea what arbitrary definition you’re trying to apply to determining “validity.” I haven’t questioned yours, but confronted with your apparently arbitrary standard I’m about to do just that.

Priya Lynn
August 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Jim said “The point that I’m trying to drive home is that even if the partner says he is negative — even if he genuinely thinks he is negative — unprotected sex outside a serious long-term monogamous relationship is always risky. Adults recognize it and responsible adults take precautions.”.

No one is disagreeing with that. What we are saying is that its criminal to lie about your HIV status and have unprotected sex with someone.

L. Junius Brutus
August 22nd, 2010 | LINK

“[People who have been lied to by a HIV+ person have no right to blame the person who lied to them, because] When their exact same action would have had the exact same result if the guy was said he was negative and didn’t know he was positive, then yes.”

No, then no. You can’t blame the other guy if he *really* didn’t know that he was positive. On ther other hand, if he *did* know that he was positive, and lied about it, it is malicious lying, leading to grave damage to that person.

Let’s apply this logic to another situation: Person B is holding Person A’s gun to person C’s head, and asks person A whether the gun is loaded. The gun is loaded, but in situation 1, person A thinks that it is *not* loaded, while in situation 2, he knows that it is loaded. In both situations, he will say that the gun is NOT loaded. In both situatios, person A unloads the gun and kills person C. Will you argue that there is no difference between the two situations, because their exact same action would have had the exact same result if the guy had said the gun was loaded and didn’t know it was loaded?

“As an adult who knows very well that there are risks to unprotected sex,”

Just about everything in life is risky. Driving a car is risky. That no more justifies recklessly or deliberately smashing one’s car into someone else’s car, damaging his property, health and life, than the fact that sex is risky justifies lying about and/or concealing one’s HIV+-status.

“There is nothing “invalid” about my arguments. (and really, who died and made you God to decide that your opinions any more “valid” than mine or anyone else’s.) “

Funny, you recognize that I was talking about your arguments (actually, that particular argument), but then you claim that I was actually calling your opinion invalid. There is a difference. One need not be God to evaluate the merits of arguments. As a matter of fact, I was talking about one very specific argument, which was clearly invalid, namely, this one: “So yeah, there are scumbags who lie, and there are people who really don’t know they’re positive. If you get infected, what difference does it make? You’re still infected.” This argument is invalid, because it conflates accidental with malicious transmission. I tried to point this out by showing that murder is treated differently than accidental killing, despite the fact that it makes no difference to the victim. You subsequently claimed that I was comparing – which I wasn’t, I was merely using murder as an example to point out that the logic of this argument is deeply flawed.

“Just because you don’t want to acknowledge that everyone has a duty to act according to the best interests of protecting their own health doesn’t mean it’s not “valid.””

And… I have more than once stated that I think everyone should always use protection, and the argument that I said was invalid had absolutely nothing to do with whether people should use protection or not. One can recognize that people should always use protection, and yet also be in favor of holding people who recklessly or deliberately infect healthy people accountable.

Priya Lynn
August 22nd, 2010 | LINK

I’ll add that once again, its unrealistic and unreasonable to ask a 16 year old to not be naive. The 16 year old bears no responsibility whatsoever, the blame is 100% on Everett.

Eric in Oakland
August 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Priya Lynn said: “I’ll add that once again, its unrealistic and unreasonable to ask a 16 year old to not be naive. The 16 year old bears no responsibility whatsoever, the blame is 100% on Everett.”

I basically agree with that statement. It is one of the main reasons for age of consent laws. Because of that, Everett is already guilty of statutory rape. I would also not oppose a harsher sentencing if he demonstrated extreme disregard for the victim’s safety.

That being said, it is not illegal for an adult to lie to another adult while trying to pick him up in a bar or on a hook up site. When both parties are legally adult the situation is completely different. Should it be illegal to withold that you are married? To withold that you are transgender? That you have a cold? That you have HPV? That you are using drugs? That you have been TESTED for HIV?

There is also a HUGE difference between being reckless and TRYING to infect someone. Some people who know that they are HIV positive may nevertheless believe that they are not contagious or that the sexual acts they are performing are without risk. To prosecute someone for intentional harm you have to prove more than just knowledge of status.

L. Junius Brutus
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

“That being said, it is not illegal for an adult to lie to another adult while trying to pick him up in a bar or on a hook up site.”

Yes it is, if you don’t use protection. Stop spreading nonsense.

“Some people who know that they are HIV positive may nevertheless believe that they are not contagious ”

Riiiiight, someone else gave that person HIV, but that person does not think that he can give others HIV. The arguments in favor of your position get more ridiculous by the minute.

“To prosecute someone for intentional harm you have to prove more than just knowledge of status.”

It need not be intentional. If you go around and recklessly infect other people, then you can be prosecuted – just like you are when someone is damaged or killed due to reckless behavior by you. Same is the case with AIDS, apparently much to your chagrin.

L. Junius Brutus
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

“If you go around and recklessly infect other people, then you can be prosecuted – just like you are when someone is damaged or killed due to reckless behavior by you.”

Lest this be misinterpreted (like so many of my comments on this thread), “you” = “one”.

Ben Mathis
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Without commenting on the case in question as it’s complex, I just want to say I wouldn’t wish the Texas prison system on anyone, not even Hitler. This man, and his crimes, are a byproduct of the society he grew up in, and as a society we have an obligation to take care of our sick, even when it means keeping them away from other members of society, in a safe environment, with rehabilitation if possible. That’s not what the US prison system, and certainly not Texas’ looks like. Once imprisoned he will face crimes far worse than possibly giving a minor HIV. Very likely he will be raped multiple times, as well as violence against his person, by inmates and guards. If you wish that on another human being, you’re a sociopath, and no worse than this man.

Jason D
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

“There is also a HUGE difference between being reckless and TRYING to infect someone. Some people who know that they are HIV positive may nevertheless believe that they are not contagious or that the sexual acts they are performing are without risk. To prosecute someone for intentional harm you have to prove more than just knowledge of status.”

Actually, being reckless is factored into our laws and sentencing.

I forget exactly where I read it, but basically it is assumed by law that all citizens will behave in ways that will not intentionally or accidentally cause harm to others. Thus “reckless endangerment” is a crime. Doing something dangerous without concern for the safety of others is not all that different than doing something intentionally to hurt others. The only way to argue against this is to convince the judge/jury that you didn’t know what you were doing was dangerous, or that you took reasonable precautions to ensure no one else was around that could get hurt.

Lawyers, feel free to correct me on any of that.

L. Junius Brutus
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Ben Mathis: “Without commenting on the case in question as it’s complex,”

This case is not “complex”, as it is about a man committing statutory rape and possibly infecting a 16-year-old boy with HIV. There is absolutely nothing “complex” about it, I can’t imagine a case being more clear-cut than this.

“This man, and his crimes, are a byproduct of the society he grew up in, ”

Oh yeah. This man did not choose to rape a 16-year-old boy without even using protection, no, he was forced to do it by “society”. It’s all society’s fault, not his own.

“Once imprisoned he will face crimes far worse than possibly giving a minor HIV. Very likely he will be raped multiple times, as well as violence against his person, by inmates and guards.”

Can you enumerate what “crimes” you think are worse than committing statutory rape on a 16-year-old boy and not even using protection, when you are HIV+? And can you explain how they are “far worse” than committing statutory rape and possibly giving a minor HIV?

“If you wish that on another human being, you’re a sociopath, and no worse than this man.”

Funny how committing statutory rape and possibly giving a minor is “complex”. But apparently, not displaying enough sympathy for what a miscreant such as this man will go through in prison is not “complex” at all, and you feel that you have the right to make the most terrible of judgments about people who don’t show enough sympathy.

Really disturbing.

Ben Mathis
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

It’s complex in how you would deal with the results. It’s very possible the man caused the boy harm (HIV infection), and it’s criminal to knowingly have sex with an incurable disease without telling your partner. AND in the US, 16 years old is a minor. I’m not debating he didn’t break the law. I am saying it’s complex because I think he should be punished, but sure as hell not with the violent torturous system that is the US prison system. That’s not going to help society to have yet another damaged person on the streets when he’s released. And the US prison system violates numerous human rights in it’s operations. I’m not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater by condemning one act of violence to even more violence through tax sponsored torture.

I already outlined what he will face, and multiple forcible rapes plus possibility of real violence is certainly worse than possible HIV infection and possible adult predatory action. (possible because 16 is legal in several countries)

The burn/rape/kill the pedophiles that always turns up is so disturbing and points to violence fetishism. Just looking for an “ok” target to vent your violent rage.

Stan
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Jason,

You are basically correct. A crime does not need to be intentional, although intentional crimes are almost always more serious and are punished more severely than others.

There are crimes based on knowing or intentional conduct (1st degree murder), depraved indifference to human life (2d degree murder), recklessness (manslaughter), and even mere negligence (negligent homicide). There are some crimes, mostly low level crimes or violations of regulatory requirements, that have no motive element at all.

If presented accurately in the story, this case would involve charges ranging from assault/battery to reckless endangerment and possibly to attempted murder. That is in addition to the charges that would relate to the victim’s status as a minor. Conviction on any one of these charges will land Mr. Everett in prison for a long time. His future is not bright.

Some people find this to be a morally complicated case. It isn’t.

Stan
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

One other thing: This crap platform ate my comment in which I compare Burroway’s intellect unfavorably to that of Tim Kincaid. I just want it known that the disparity is glaringly obvious in each day’s posts. Here’s hoping that Kincaid launches a coup to oust Burroway.

“I mean, while we’re at it, maybe we should just leave our homes unlocked and the keys in our cars ignition.”

No, Jim, we shouldn’t. But if we do, that doesn’t mean that the burglar or the car thief who takes advantage of our stupidity is morally blameworthy, not to mention criminally and civilly liable. So your analogy disproves your argument. Par for the course.

Priya Lynn
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Ben said “I am saying it’s complex because I think he should be punished, but sure as hell not with the violent torturous system that is the US prison system. That’s not going to help society to have yet another damaged person on the streets when he’s released.”.

Its certainly not going to help society to allow people to commit crimes with impunity which is the alternative you’re suggesting.

I agree that rape and violence in prison is a grave injustice but if we take your argument to its logical conclusion then no one should be imprisoned for any crime and that would lead to a lawless society controlled by predators. The solution is not to stop punishing people for their crimes, its to take the necessary steps to prevent rape and violence in prisons. The idea that we’re going to eliminate prisons is completely unrealistic.

Chris McCoy
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid said:

Everett is 26, XXXX is 16.
[…]
I’ve seen too many kids who trusted a foul creature like Everett before they were old enough or wise enough to know better.

Yet if he were 1 year older XXXX would be old enough to know better, legally.

In every country in Europe (except Ireland), and in Canada, India, China, Russia, all of South America, and 2/3rds of Africa, 5/7ths of Australia, and even 1/3rd of the States in the US, this 16 year old made a legal, informed, decision to have sex with another legal adult.

While I agree that the Mr Everett is guilty of knowingly attempting to inflict harm on another person, to suggest that the victim’s age contributed to the heinousness of the crime is misrepresentation.

Priya Lynn
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Stan said “No, Jim, we shouldn’t. But if we do, that doesn’t mean that the burglar or the car thief who takes advantage of our stupidity is morally blameworthy, not to mention criminally and civilly liable.”.

I think you meant to say “is not morally blameworthy. As to Jim’s intellect “comparing unfavourably” to Timothys – Bullcrap.

Priya Lynn
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Chris said “While I agree that the Mr Everett is guilty of knowingly attempting to inflict harm on another person, to suggest that the victim’s age contributed to the heinousness of the crime is misrepresentation.”.

Wrong. While the law draws a sharp line between responsible/not responsible, saying in effect “Yesterday you were not responsible, today on your birthday you are responsible.” that is not how reality works. We don’t magically become informed on our birthdays, that gradually happens over a period of years. A 12 year old may be completely not responsible and a 21 year old completely responsible, but at 16 or 17 that person is going to be somewhere in between, regardless of the fairtale the law tells.

L. Junius Brutus
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Ben Mathis: “I am saying it’s complex because I think he should be punished, but sure as hell not with the violent torturous system that is the US prison system”

Oh, you decided that this was the right time to bring up your issue, which is completely irrelevant to this story, and which can be used to attack any prison sentence, given to any criminal (even Hitler, as you yourself said). So tell me, would you oppose putting Hitler in the US prison system, if the alternative was letting him go free?

“That’s not going to help society to have yet another damaged person on the streets when he’s released. ”

I agree. He shouldn’t be released – he should be given life in prison.

“I already outlined what he will face, and multiple forcible rapes plus possibility of real violence is certainly worse than possible HIV infection and possible adult predatory action. (possible because 16 is legal in several countries)”

Interesting. Are you saying that having sex with a 16-year-old is only possibly abusive, because some countries have an age of consent that is 16? Following your reasoning, would you also say that having sex with an 8 or 9-year-old girl is only possibly abusive, because Yemen and Saudi-Arabia allow it?

Oh, and did you just say that mere assault is “certainly worse than possible HIV infection”? Call me crazy, but I’d rather be assaulted.

“The burn/rape/kill the pedophiles that always turns up is so disturbing and points to violence fetishism. Just looking for an “ok” target to vent your violent rage.”

Yeah. Why on earth would people be against pedophiles?

Oh, and child molesters do deserve the death penalty, and your amateur psychoanalysis does not impress.

L. Junius Brutus
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Stan: “One other thing: This crap platform ate my comment in which I compare Burroway’s intellect unfavorably to that of Tim Kincaid. I just want it known that the disparity is glaringly obvious in each day’s posts. Here’s hoping that Kincaid launches a coup to oust Burroway.”

Jim is usually very sensible. And his analyses of scientific . He was the first to provide a refutation of most of the anti-gay lies put out by the religious right. Most simply don’t take the effort to refute those lies, but Jim recognized how damaging they are when they stand unopposed, and decided to set up this website. It does surprise me to see him make the arguments on this thread, but then again, it is obvious that it is a very emotional issue for him. It seems to me that his main issue is the fact that prosecuting such offenders gives people the idea that they can rely on the assurances that people give about their status.

Chris McCoy: “Yet if he were 1 year older XXXX would be old enough to know better, legally.”

The law does not state that he is old enough to know better at age 18. The law states that people can only be prosecuted for having sex with him until he is 18. So the age does matter, because we all know how naive 16-year-olds are: even more naive than 18-year-olds (and hell, I’m in my early 20s).

Jason D
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

I find it very odd, Jim.

What I see you saying, in a nutshell:

“When Person A puts their trust in Person B, Person B has no moral or ethical obligation to be honest or honorable in regards to Person A.
Whatever happens is entirely the fault of Person A.”

It’s a rather cynical argument.

Priya Lynn
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Jason, that’s kind of what I’m taking from Jim’s adamant proclamations as well. I wonder if that’s what he really means to say but it does seem to be what he’s actually saying.

Eric in Oakland
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Jason D: There is also a HUGE difference between being reckless and TRYING to infect someone. Some people who know that they are HIV positive may nevertheless believe that they are not contagious or that the sexual acts they are performing are without risk. To prosecute someone for intentional harm you have to prove more than just knowledge of status.

“Actually, being reckless is factored into our laws and sentencing.”

Of course it is. I never said otherwise. However, wreckless endagerment is a lesser offense for precisely the reasons I gave.

Brutus: That being said, it is not illegal for an adult to lie to another adult while trying to pick him up in a bar or on a hook up site.”

“Yes it is, if you don’t use protection. Stop spreading nonsense.”

Please cite the law that makes it illegal to lie in a pick up bar or to have sex without a condom.

“Riiiiight, someone else gave that person HIV, but that person does not think that he can give others HIV. The arguments in favor of your position get more ridiculous by the minute.”

Ummm… I never said that such people weren’t wrong. However, you must be living in a closet if you don’t know there are those who think that having an undetectable viral load means they are not contagious. And what position do you think I am arguing, exactly? Your “point” has nothing to do with what I was saying.

Chris McCoy
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Jason D said:

I find it very odd, Jim.

What I see you saying, in a nutshell:

“When Person A puts their trust in Person B, Person B has no moral or ethical obligation to be honest or honorable in regards to Person A.
Whatever happens is entirely the fault of Person A.”

It’s a rather cynical argument.

I read it more as “Caveat Emptor”.

More resources need to be expended in HIV education to highlight to young people dangers such as the one highlighted in this case.

I think Jim’s point was that, hypothetically, even if Mr Everett did not know is HIV status, XXXX took a risk in having unprotected sex with a stranger.

Mr Everett knowing his HIV status increases the crime from “criminal negligence” to “reckless endangerment.” Unless the defense can prove Mens rea, that Mr Everett sought to intentionally infect XXXX, the severity of the crime is limited to Recklessness.

Jason D
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Chris that’s a valid point. But I see this sort of bizarre, and quite frankly frightening point where people seem to be suggesting that the victim/recipient/consumer is responsible but the other person is not.

This discussion pops up about “Personal responsibility” but it would seem that people like Everett are not personally responsible or don’t need to take personal responsibility for their actions. Or that their involvement is minimal (and therefore exempt from personal responsibility) even though they hold the power to do the most damage or good in the situation.

Hazemyth
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Jason D:

“I see this sort of bizarre, and quite frankly frightening point where people seem to be suggesting that the victim/recipient/consumer is responsible but the other person is not.”

I see it as bizarre that no one has actually said this — yet you, Brutus, and others seem obstinately devoted to interpreting any statement of differing opinion in these black-and-white terms.

Brutus quoted me as saying:

“Safety is not solely the onus of those who know they are positive. They are not solely responsible, let alone criminally so.”

Then, he immediately replied:

“You are – to my disgust – arguing that HIV+ have NO responsibility to avoid infecting healthy people.”

I think there’s a pretty evident difference between saying that someone does not have sole responsibility and saying that someone has no responsibility. I don’t see how that could be more evident than the in the juxtaposition that Brutus provided. Yet he chose to misinterpret what I said, all the same.

If you expect your responses to be given an credence, you’re going to need to do the same.

Timothy Kincaid
August 24th, 2010 | LINK

Point 1:

Perhaps a bit of clarity and a reminder.

Yes, for most HIV infected persons, a lifetime of taking a drug, suffering side effects, regular check-ups, significant expense, and being in a group that can to some extent limit your dating/partnering prospects, will probably be the worst results of seroconverting. Life expectancy will not be greatly reduced, if one is careful and consistent.

And we have a decent expectancy that drugs will continue to improve and finally the medical community is beginning again to whisper the word “cure”. So there is no assumption that HIV = death. That simply is not true anymore.

But – and for me this is a big but – not everyone responds well to AVRs. Not everyone has the financial, social support, and other resources to fight this virus. People do still die from AIDS-related disease in the United States.

Timothy Kincaid
August 24th, 2010 | LINK

Point 2:

We are all responsible for stopping the spread of HIV and AIDS. But we are not all equally responsible. Whether or not you think it fair, those with HIV have a greater responsibility.

There simply is no equality in the morality of avoiding getting HIV and avoiding spreading HIV. These simply are not equal responsibilities; endangering myself is morally, legally, and socially different from endangering others.

There is a great national campaign called “HIV Stops With Me” in which they seek to get HIV positive people to commit to stopping the spread of the virus by them. Those who participate make the decision to live responsibly.

I hope that conversations of this sort don’t harm this campaign. I am troubled by any discussion that suggests that those who have HIV need not control the containment of the virus because it is the responsibility of others to always play safe.

Timothy Kincaid
August 24th, 2010 | LINK

See UPDATE above

Jason D
August 24th, 2010 | LINK

“I see it as bizarre that no one has actually said this — yet you, Brutus, and others seem obstinately devoted to interpreting any statement of differing opinion in these black-and-white terms.”

Really?

You said:

“Sleeping with someone involves trust and trust is a risk, in all sorts of ways. When you sleep with someone, you assume that risk. If you fail to establish trust, you’re accepting more risk.”

Nowhere in this quote do I see anything about the other person’s responsibility. I have a hard time finding it in anything else you write, either.

Again, personal responsibility is solely in the lap of those who take “risks”.

I get it, you think people should be careful. Valid. You think people should be personally responsible and accept risk.

Accepting risk means accepting consequences.

So should HIV+ folks who go around infecting people be subject to any consequences whatsoever?

Someone who has an aggressively violent dog would be at fault if they left their gate open and it attacked and killed a baby. Even if the kid walked right up to it. The onus is on the owner, being aware of the danger his dog represents and taking responsibility for that danger. No, it’s not a crime to have a dog, even a dangerous one. It is, however, a crime to not take reasonable precautions to prevent the animal from maiming/killing people. Even stupid people who walk right up to it.
The analogy isn’t exact, but it’s a decent illustration that responsibility is not always 50/50 between two parties.

Not taking responsibility for those you infect is no different than saying “it’s not my fault my sperm got that lady pregnant, she shouldn’t have had sex with me.”

Although that does bring me to an idea Dan Savage proposed. A sort of HIV “child support”. You infect, you get to foot the bills(at least partway) for medication and related expenses.

Chris McCoy
August 24th, 2010 | LINK

Jason D said:

Chris that’s a valid point. But I see this sort of bizarre, and quite frankly frightening point where people seem to be suggesting that the victim/recipient/consumer is responsible but the other person is not.

This discussion pops up about “Personal responsibility” but it would seem that people like Everett are not personally responsible or don’t need to take personal responsibility for their actions. Or that their involvement is minimal (and therefore exempt from personal responsibility) even though they hold the power to do the most damage or good in the situation.

I did not mean to imply that Mr Everett was innocent, or should be treated as not guilty, or that blame should be placed on the victim.

To use the previously stated example of leaving the door to your house unlocked – of course the thief that robs your unlocked house is guilty of robbery. There’s no question there. However, does that mean we should all go around leaving our houses unlocked?

Let me again state that I am in no way holding the victim guilty in either the real sexual assault case, or the hypothetical robbery I give above.

As I stated, I think this case should be used to highlight the dangers of unprotected sex. This victim chose risky behavior with a stranger who consciously failed to disclose his HIV status. I think this case, and the increasing prevalence of bareback porn, shows that we need better targeted education to sexually mature teens and young adults.

Teaching people to take steps to protect themselves from harm is not equal to advocating that people who do not protect themselves enough are somehow blameworthy should harm befall them.

Jutta Zalud
August 30th, 2010 | LINK

@Joe

“I find it odd that some of the comments include arguments such as, at sixteen he should know better.

This misses the point. The person who owns the gun is responsible if he shoots someone.”

Maybe you know much more than is reported in the newspapers. From what I take from the above article, XXXX had a date with Everett. He met him first on Grindr, then phoned with him and then went to him in his flat to have sex with him. There is no hint in the report that Everett forced him to have sex with hin or talked him into it.

While it is illegal in Texas to have consensual sex with 16 year old persons and Everett should have sent him home and while it is certainly irresponsible to have anal sex without a condome, these acts are not similar to the wilful killing of a helpless victim.

Another aspect is missing from this long and heated discussion: If knowingly HIV-positive persons who have sex are treated as criminals, people will prefer not to know their HIV-status. That makes prevention and treatment extremely difficult.

In Germany Pop Singer Nadja Benaissa got a conditional sentence of 2 years + an unconditional sentence of 200 hours of social work because she had unprotected sex with several men while she knew that she was positive and one man turned seropositive after having unprotected sex with her. This relatively mild sentence is still critisized by all AIDS-prevention activists because it gives a wrong signal.

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