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Jun 26 2012

Not Lesbians, Murder Victims

From the DallasVoice.com:

Nineteen-year-old Mollie Judith Olgin was found dead, and 18-year-old Mary Christine Chapa was rushed to the hospital, where she underwent emergency surgery and is now stable and able to communicate.

Olgin and Chapa, who had been together for five months, were found by visitors to Violet Andrews Park in Portland, Texas, at about 9 a.m. Saturday. Their bodies were in tall grass beneath a scenic overlook deck, both with gunshot wounds to the head from a large-caliber handgun.

There is a lot of talk about “hate crime” being thrown around the internet right now. The victims are lesbians, they were shot execution-style. There are no suspects or motives currently known to the public. If this turns out to be a hate crime, then let the perpetrator be tried as having committed a hate-motivated murder and attempted murder.

But before we lose our shit about this potentially being a hate crime, let us grieve that someone has stolen the life of one young woman and irreparably harmed the life of another. It makes me sad and angry to see this crime given more or less weight by the public based on the fact that the women were lesbians. The most grievous offense is that people were murdered; it becomes more horrifying if it turns out that the murder was motivated by homophobia. But first, let’s catch the murderer and not be distracted by ZOMG lesbians.

I hope the murderer is quaking in his or her boots that Chapa is stable and able to communicate.

12 comments

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  1. 1
    Alverant

    I feel that “hate crimes” are just a soft way of saying “terrorist attack”. The purpose of both is to create fear in a community, not just the individual victims. If this crime was done to intimidate the LGBT community then it should be treated worse than if it was a random crime.

  2. 2
    left0ver1under

    On another FtB blog this past week, it was pointed out that we should be saying “Don’t rape!” but instead society is telling women “Don’t get raped.” The onus of responsibility is being shifted to the victims, not the perpetrator.

    “Hate crime laws” as superfluous as saying “Don’t get raped”. Existing laws are sufficient to punish people who commit crimes, and a civilized country would prosecute regardless of who the victim is. The real problem is that some/many police, prosecutors and courts refuse to properly investigate crimes, they refuse to charge the guilty because of their own personal bias. Bigots will only enforce such laws when forced to, not because they agree with them.

    1. 2.1
      Brianne Bilyeu

      I don’t agree with you, Leftover1under. Your analogy in the first paragraph is off – I don’t see the relationship it has with prosecuting hate crimes.

      Hate crimes are those crimes committed against someone based on a certain characteristic that the victim possesses or displays. A hate crime is bigotry that is expressed in a criminal manner. The way I’ve understood hate crimes legislation is that it’s a way for a society to explicitly state that it does not condone violent bigotry. As I understand hate crimes legislation, I do support it.

      Bigots will only enforce such laws when forced to, not because they agree with them.

      This statement is sounds to me like “it’s not going to work, so why bother trying?” Bigoted law enforcement personnel who do not enforce hate crime legislation are breaking the law. It doesn’t matter if they agree with the law in question; if they are caught violating the law they can be prosecuted.

      1. Chris

        The problem is though Bri how do you determine in the general case? In some instances it is blatantly obvious to a blind spiel snake. In others it is not. The temptation that many fall to is to label every case where a minority is harmed by a majority a hate crime. We both know this is not true. Crime is crime. It is horrible and needs to be punished fully EVERY TIME regardless of who the victim is. An honest discussion can be had about what constitutes a crime and I think my answers might surprise you. However when a crime is committed the fullest extent of the law should be prosecuted. Whatever the make up of the victim. But really how do you step up the punishment in a case like this? It’s Texas whoever did this is going to the chair. That’s what happens there. What you gonna do kill the perp twice? Whoever did this deserves the chair not because the victim happens to be a lesbian or a woman but because a murder occurred. This was not an accident or wrong place wrong time. This was a murder pure and simple.

    2. 2.2
      Gregory in Seattle

      The US legal system — and the British legal system it is based on, and the Saxon and Danish legal systems it is based on — has long recognized that motivation is an aggrevating factor. We make a distinction between different types of killing people, such as first degree murder (a willful, planned out killing), second degree murder (a killing of opportunity, such as might occur during a robbery), voluntary manslaughter (a “heat of the moment” killing, committed without planning and under circumstances of unusual mental state) and involuntary manslaughter (a preventable accident that leads to someone dying.) We give these crimes different punishments, because of their differing motives.

      Hate crime legislation is based on this same theory.

      The US legal system has long held that a single criminal act that targets multiple people is more severe than if the same criminal act targets a single person. Since the Nuremburg Trials, the US legal system has also held that a single criminal act that is intended to terrorize an entire community is more heinous than the same criminal act without that intent.

      Hate crime legislation is based on those theories, too.

      Rather than create scores of new laws that parallel the murder/manslaughter continuum, many legal jurisdictions in the US have created a single, omnibus enhancement law: if a criminal act is motivated by hate, and is intended to harm or terrorize a group or community even when the act is committed against a single individual, then the offense is more severe and thus carries a more severe punishment.

      If you wish to argue against hate crime enhancements, we should start by discussing whether there is any difference between killing your spouse to collect a fat insurance check and killing your spouse because he was an abusive drunk who was beating you at the time.

      1. ButchKitties

        if a criminal act is motivated by hate, and is intended to harm or terrorize a group or community even when the act is committed against a single individual, then the offense is more severe and thus carries a more severe punishment.

        Telling my parents to think of hate crime legislation as a type of anti-domestic-terrorism legislation is what finally brought them around.

  3. 3
    tynk

    This.. Has affected me greatly. Not just becauae I could have been them, almost was, but because, I have been through close to this terror!

    I may be over emotional but fuck you for saying so. We just had two, literal teenage women, in a state known so much for its bigotry that the Feds have to agree to their election law changes, gunned down in an executtion!

    During pride week!

    So I am sorry if I am over emotional, but fuck you for thinking I shouldn’t be!

    1. 3.1
      Brianne Bilyeu

      I’m not saying that we shouldn’t rage if this turns out to be a hate crime. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be emotional about the attack.

      I’m saying we don’t know what it is yet. It feels like a hate crime, but *we don’t know*. People are jumping to conclusions. The fact that Molly and Christine were attacked in Texas doesn’t indicate motive. The fact that they are lesbians doesn’t indicate motive. And because Christine Chapa in stable condition and able to communicate we have a chance to find out why she and Mollie were attacked.

      1. tynk

        This is all very true, and I apologize for attacking.

        Your points are very true. We do not know the “reason” for what happened.

        With the few bits of information we currently have, I jumped to what I thought was a logical conclusion.

        Either way, it is disgusting what this person did to these two women, no matter the reason.

  4. 4
    Gregory in Seattle

    I am a very strong supporter of hate crime enhancements, but I agree with your main sentiment: hate crime or not, one person was murdered and a second person was almost murdered. Assuming the person responsible is found and convicted, a hate crime enhancement would be little more than documentary.

    After all, this took place in Texas, and we know how Texas treats murderers. There is not much you can do to enhance capital punishment.

  5. 5
    Grimalkin

    At first my response to reading just the excerpt you posted was “Yay, they didn’t flip their shit over them being lesbians!”

    Then I read the full story and of course, their sexual orientation is in the title.

    Goddamit. I can’t say much here that wouldn’t be echoing you. Report this as a trajedy, for fucks sake. This report sounds less like it’s reporting a possible reason for a murder and more like an attempt at othering these victims. Rather similar to how death reports on trans victims consist primarily of speculation on their lives as trans people instead of the actual fucking murder, though admittedly trans victims get much worse treatment than this.

    But goddamn.

  6. 6
    Barrie Wipfli

    My boyfriend and I were talking about our encounters and life in general. It was then when I felt how much devoted to him and how he feels exactly the same way for me. It was then when we decided its time for us to get married. I was on my way to see a pal who is in a coma at the hospital subsequent to a car accident. While travelling a couple of kilometers I was able to think about how relevant it is to tell your loved ones every single day how much they mean to you and the relevance of life in general.

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