Sunday, November 24, 2002
Everyone can hate: In a story that has not made the national media (and may never get much national attention), a 19-year-old homosexual man named Nicholas Gutierrez has been charged with the murder of a 51-year-old woman. The woman, Mary Stachowicz, was a Christian who reportedly questioned Gutierrez about his sexuality.
Chicago Police Cmdr. Lee Epplen said Gutierrez, who has no criminal record, said in a videotaped confession that while quarreling with Stachowicz on Wednesday afternoon in his apartment he was reminded of debates with his mother.
Gutierrez "said he has issues with his mother and the way Mrs. Stachowicz talked to him gave him flashbacks to his mother," Epplen said.
Gutierrez told police he became enraged after Stachowicz questioned him about his sexual orientation, said Cook County Assistant State's Atty. Nancy Galassini during a bond hearing Sunday.
"He got upset with her," Galassini said. "The defendant punched and kicked and stabbed the victim until he was tired. He then placed a plastic garbage bag over her head and strangled her."
National Review's Rod Dreher, who called my attention to this story, noted that it was unlikely to make the major media because the victim and the perpetrator don't fit the typical stereotypes -- Christians aren't victims, and gays aren't perpetrators.
You may believe Mary Stachowicz was quite wrong in her convictions, but it is anti-Christian bigotry to believe her death should be ignored, while the death of Matthew Shepard should be marked (as I believe it should have been). The media shouldn't be allowed to get away with this. Somehow, I doubt talk radio and the blogosphere will let them.
So, I took Dreher up, and checked out the blogosphere, using Mary Stachowicz's name as the search term and discovered the following posts.
From James Wagner:
The woman who did such great evil is dead, but unfortunately the evil and the church and the society which creates it is not, and it will continue to destroy Nicholas Gutierrez and many others. I shake, safely sitting here at home, fully understanding, and fully familiar with, the horrible impact her words must have had for a man already so terribly damaged by his society, and his own mother.
Damaged by society? It reminds me of the old Monty Python skit where a man who has been murdering Catholic bishops is found out and says: "It's a fair cop, but society is to blame."
The police officer says: "Right, we'll arrest them instead."
And, lest you get the wrong idea, it doesn't appear that Mary Stachowicz was one of those Christians who emit more hate than the love that Christians are directed to show to everyone -- regardless of their sexual orientation, race, creed, etc.
Friends and family said that it would have been in character for Stachowicz, who has a lengthy list of volunteer work to reach out to someone she thought needed help.
"Those of us who knew her immediately hear her soft voice saying something like, 'God wouldn't approve of the way you're living your life,"' said Mary Coleman, a friend and neighbor. "That's how Mary did things."
I wouldn't have blamed Gutierrez for being offended by being asked about his personal life -- I don't make it a practice to volunteer my views on homosexuality. If asked, I'll tell you what I believe, but the fact that anyone can justify Mary Stachowicz's murder troubles me.
I'm always hesitant to compare anyone to the Taliban, but I think it's pretty safe to put Wagner in that class. For Wagner, it's OK to brutally murder someone who disagrees with the way he conducts his personal life.
And Wagner isn't the only one who feels this way. Barry has this to say:
Is this good for the gays?
Probably not, but maybe it will strike fear in the hearts of a few fundamentalists:
Where do I send a check for his defense fund?
Gay leaders need to speak out against this sort of attitude. It's pretty easy dismiss Gutierrez's actions as those of a mentally unstable individual, but Barry and James Wagner shouldn't be the only online gay voices on this subject.
I think Andrew Sullivan carries the most weight -- a condemnation from him would go a long way.