“Print the Legend” Ethics (Again): Does It Matter If Matthew Shepard’s Death Was Really A Hate Crime?

Powerful story; moving story; useful story. Does it matter if it isn't a true story?

Powerful story; moving story; useful story. Does it matter if it isn’t a true story?

It apparently matters to a lot of people for the wrong reasons—unethical reasons, in fact. As a result, legitimate efforts to determine what really happened to the gay rights icon, then a 21-year-old University of Wyoming student, who was beaten,  tortured and murdered  in Laramie, Wyoming  in 1998, have been exploited for ideological goals by adversaries of gay rights, and attacked by the media, gay rights advocates and good progressives everywhere. Just as it is important to the civil rights establishment, the black grievance community and anti-gun advocates that Trayvon Martin be seen as the innocent victim of a racist vigilante with murder in his heart—a characterization of Martin’s murder at war with all known facts and rejected by a jury after a fair trial—thus is it crucial to gay advocacy groups and others that Shepard be remembered as the victim of a hate crime, brutally killed because he was gay.

And facts be damned. Continue reading

Comment of the Day: “The Kaitlyn Hunt Affair: Upon Further Review…”

And if Kaitlyn Hunt looked like this, would we be having this discussion?

And if Kaitlyn Hunt looked like this, would we be having this discussion?

John Garrison’s incisive Comment of the Day decisively adds Kaitlyn Hunt’s parents to the Kaitlyn Hunt Ethics Train Wreck, which has already enlisted them, the vigilante group Anonymous (itself a self-perpetuating ethics train wreck), the lazy news media, which apparently misreported the essential facts of the case, and the social media as passengers since my first post on the debacle.

Here are his comments on the follow-up post, The Kaitlyn Hunt Affair: Upon Further Review:

“There are a number of things that concern me about this case. First, I do agree that the law is very harsh in Florida. But we never seem to get the actual story from Kaitlyn’s parents. At first, they said that they were 17 when they started dating, and that the parents vindictively waited until Kaitlyn turned 18. That story seems to have changed around the time the police report was released stating that actual ages of the girls. At that time, the family claimed that the police not redacting the address was retaliation against them going to the media, even though it is not remotely unusual for the police not to redact the address of the accused.

http://www.examiner.com/article/kaitlyn-hunt-arrest-record-released-free-kate-family-disgusted-with-sheriff Continue reading

The Kaitlyn Hunt Affair

Child abuser?

Child abuser?

Once again, the ethical complexities of applying statutory rape and age of consent laws to relationships between non-adults and just barely adults has led to an ethics train wreck. The worst example in recent years has been the epic criminal system abuse of Genarlow Wilson, which if you are unfamiliar with his story and its aftermath, you should catch up here and here. The Kaitlyn Hunt case,however, has potential to be an epic of its own.

It appears that Floridian teen Kaitlyn Hunt was involved in a consensual, same-sex relationship with another girl in her school while both she and her partner were minors. They had started dating at the beginning of the school year, and the relationship had been known to both parents for months. Clearly the parents of the younger girl did not approve, for when Kaitlyn turned 18—the other girl was 15—they filed a criminal complaint with police. Continue reading