In This Country, the Testamony of Two Women is Worth Less than the Good Conscience of the Community

by damnedhippie

According to the newspaper, this is what happened.

Late Thursday night, 19-year-old Marcellus Richard Andrews was hanging out at the home of his friend, Nakita Wright. At about a quarter to one in the morning, Nakita and her cousin, Tudia Simpson, decided to take a walk. Marcellus stayed behind on the porch.

The two women hadn’t even walked a block when trouble started back at the house.

They ran back to the sound of shouting to find thugs in a truck calling Macellus “faggot” and “Mercedes.” The taunting escalated to blows, with Tudia throwing the first punch.

During the fight, Nakita found Marcellus on the ground and tried to help him up. One of the thugs ran up and kicked Marcellus in the face.

After the fight ended, Nakita again tried to help Marcellus stand up. He collapsed. She called 911.

Marcellus did not make it. He was treated for severe head trauma at the University of Iowa Hospital. On Saturday, his family took him off life support. On Sunday, Marcellus was declared dead.

“Obviously the murderers knew their victim, now surely his friends could  recognize them as well.”

“Every one is wondering who did this, we don’t have to wonder these girls come up  with this story why dont they tell who was all involved. that’s why i think  there is more to this story, sounds like they are trying to cover there  butts…..”

“Now, I have to wonder WHY these girls decided to go for a walk at 1am in the  morning?  Also, this young man wasn’t on his porch, he was visiting a friend.   Sooooo, this leads me to believe that there is far more to this than a hate  crime based on his sexuality or implied homosexuality?  I feel these 1 girls  know alot more than they are saying and could very well be knee deep in this  situation and provoking it all along.  They should be held accountable for their  actions also and they should be telling the police everything they know  including whoever did do this.  You KNOW they know who did it. ”

“While it would seem that sexual orientation may have been brought up, since one  of his friends through the first punch it would be hard to define as the cause  for the violence. I find it extremely difficult to believe that the friends of  the victim don’t know who the other party was, or how did the other party know  anything about the victim? Either way my condolences go out to his family.”

“the friends know who the boys was and they seem like they are covering there own  butts because they don’t want to go to jail…. I think when you hold some  evidence then you should be charged with the rest of them.”

“I think that the boys that did this must be one of the young ladies boyfriend or  something why they are trying to protect him.. waterloo police need to call 48  hours or put them in the LITTE ROOM AND THEN I BET YOU SOMEBODY WOULD TALK  THEN….”

“I wonder the reason they are not talking is because maybe they was involved and  now there spooked and ran to the courier and made up a story… like some of us  readers will not fall for that! we are smart we no when we smell some fish”

“Sounds like it wasn’t a hate crime. The witnesses are recanting and the hype is  evaporating like smoke in the wind. So far, it’s just a case of stupid  punks…sorry it doesn’t help anyone promote an agenda.”

In most cases, someone seeing their friend beat to death would be cause for sympathy and condolences. Obviously that is not the case if that someone is a woman from the bad part of town with a name that is difficult to spell. And if two such women go for a walk together on a brisk August night, forget about it. They have no business walking the streets at night like that. You KNOW they were up to no good. They must have been in on it. They must be protecting their boyfriends. Yeah, that’s right, because all the young women from the bad part of town with difficult names to spell have murderous loser boyfriends. Everybody knows that.

I read these comments, and I think I must be reading an entirely different news story. The updated version contains no facts that are materially different from the original story, certainly nothing that would amount to a recantation on the part of the witnesses. There is no indication that the women are hiding anything, that they didn’t tell the police everything they might know about the thugs. It could be that these commentors know something I don’t, that they are reading other news sources that apparently don’t have hyperlinks, or that all of them personally know the victim and his friends.

I doubt that is the case. I think that something else is going on.

In order to atone for the injustice in their society, the ancient Israelites had a ritual. The head priest would confess all the inequities, transgressions, and sins of the people of Israel and lay them on the head of a goat, which would be sent into the wilderness- the scapegoat (Leviticus 16).

It is uncomfortable to think that the society that one depends upon for survival and identity is unjust. When confronted with inequities that trace their roots to the culture, the first instinct is to rationalize, to lay the problem anywhere but at our collective feet. In this comment thread, the usual suspects were trotted out as scapegoats: the thugs, the thugs’ parents, punk/gang culture, and of course, Marcellus himself. Of course, the murderers themselves bear the primary responsibility for this tragedy, and luckily, blaming the alleged gay kid for his own murder is no longer fashionable. Comments that implicated Marcellus were quickly taken to task.

However, arrests have yet to be made, and the people are impatient for atonement. In the same breath in which Homophobia is whipped, its older, more respectable half-brother Misogyny takes the floor.

The thugs in that truck beat Marcellus Richard Andrews to death because they perceived him to be gay. The brawl they provoked Tudia to start was simply a pretense to kick the shit out of a “faggot.” That is why the fight left a full-grown man dead while it left the woman who threw the first punch with no injuries worth a mention in the newspaper. That is why one of those monsters kicked him in the face when he was already down. Wild speculation aside, there is no reason to implicate these women. If anyone can show me otherwise, I will eat my words.

One last thing- Marcellus was a Baptist, the captain of the drill team sponsored by his church. He may not have been gay, and if he had, he may not have been out. Spreading the idea that homosexuality is an abomination doesn’t just hurt the flaming queens in the cities and on the coasts; it also hurts “good christian” kids who never take part in such “abominations”, yet still get harassed because of an affect or interest or hobby. Being part of a conservative christian denomination did not save Marcellus from homophobic bigotry, nor did it temper the sadness and outrage expressed by the atheist and LGTB communities over his murder. Us firebrands in the atheist movement, we are often accused of being divisive and intolerant. What this incident shows is that it’s not us against them. It is good ideas against bad. We are all in this together, and bad ideas can hurt any of us, no matter what the shape of the fish on our bumper.