Left In Lowell

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June 4, 2007

A Sad Week in Lowell

by at 5:57 pm.

This weekend saw a terrible incident where a young gay man was beaten and taunted, in what appears to be a hate crime, by other young men, right here in Lowell.

The alleged savagery of these men, who were all from Lowell, should all give us pause. I have twice before called for Senator Panagiotakos and Representative Nangle to vote down - or at least abstain from voting on - the anti-gay-marriage amendment. One of the reasons I have given is that the hateful atmosphere which will prevail in our state as the forces of bigotry come rushing in to support such a measure will lend itself to more incidents like this.

I’m not saying that the anti-gay-marriage amendment will cause further violence. However, if it’s fine to “vote” on denying civil rights for our own neighbors, friends, and family, to deny their families the civil protection the rest of us enjoy, what message does that send? How much further, is it, really, for some to deny those same people their very humanity, or their lives?

I hope our Senators and Representatives think very carefully on the difference between their personal beliefs, and civil fairness. I hope they decide to think like brave leaders and care about their legacy, and on which side of history they would like to be remembered for standing.

I hope they can imagine what it would be like to be twenty-two years old, walking down a street, and taunted, then beaten, just for who you are. Send those thugs a message, let’s stop the hateful anti-gay amendment here and now.

9 Responses to “A Sad Week in Lowell”

  1. waittilnextyr Says:

    And what does it say when the judge lets the 3 thugs out on personal recognizance?

    LOWELL — Three Lowell teens were released without bail but placed on a nightly curfew after they pleaded innocent to charges they beat a man, nearly tearing off his bottom lip, while shouting homophobic slurs at him early Saturday

  2. jack Says:

    Good point Lynne, we shoudlnt accept that from our democratic rep Nangle, he’s been getting away with his dinosaur politics long enough it s time we recruit a real democrat to run against him next election.

    And where is the outcry from the legal community about the judge letting these thugs out?

  3. Mike Says:

    What’s interesting is I googled the victims name to see if there were any other stories about this, and the first hit is his name on the Lowell Sun Arrest Log for an arrest warrant from just two weeks ago for “failure to appear”. For what offense, it does not say. Not that it has anything to do with this, but interesting never the less.

    Very limited information in that article on the incident. It doesn’t sound good though, at least on the face of it.

  4. Renee Says:

    Something to consider… it is something to look into. How many young men who commit hate crimes and violence in general come from broken homes? I realize I’m a guest here, but hear me out on this when young men are raised in a home with a mother and father they are less likely to commit crimes, including hate crimes. I just recently made a comment on Richard Howe’s site regarding fathers being more then child support payments.

    http://familyscholars.org/?p=6404

    “Take crime. Mothers who manage to get and stay married are much less likely to produce boys who end up terrorizing playgrounds, parks, and little old ladies walking home from the grocery store. One recent Princeton study found that boys who grew up in an intact, married family were half as likely to end up in prison as young adults. After studying murder and robbery rates in our nation’s cities, Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson observed, “Family structure is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, predictor of variations in urban violence across cities in the United States.” This is why neighbors should thank the married mothers on their block.

    Or take psychological well-being. Children who are fortunate to grow up with a married mother and father are much less likely to find themselves in serious emotional trouble. By contrast, children who grow up without their father are significantly more likely to suffer from depression. And for some children, it gets much worse than depression. In the last half-century, suicide has more than tripled among teens and young adults; one recent Harvard study found the single “most important explanatory variable” behind this disturbing rise in youth suicide was the “increased share of youth living in homes with a divorced parent.” This is why children should thank their mothers for getting and staying married.”

    Marriage is an issue of personal feelings or a civil right, it is a matter of public policy to encourage mothers and fathers to have intact relationship for the children. It is assumed that procreative activities will sooner or later bring forth a child. Both mothers and fathers play a key role in the making a child into a well-functioning non-violent adult. Yes, it may seem paradoxal, it must be taken seriosly in the debate of what is marriage. Both mom and dad are important, that is why it is the definition of marriage that is important and not any legal benefit attach to it that really matters.

    Lynne and other readers, I know it is a passionate subject thanks for letting express the opposing view point.

  5. KMM Says:

    Renee,
    Did the SUN article mention something about these three THUGS being from one-parent families? Alternatively, is this just an advertisement for Institute for American Values?

    Like any research data, it can be manipulated to provide the outcome you are looking for. I have to wonder how many of the “violent boys” you mention were raised by lousy parents? I would argue that the number of parents you have is not as important as the type of human being the parent happens to be.

    I plan to send your comments to my three happy, successful, well-adjusted siblings (two of them boys who have never shown a sign of violent behavior) who were raised from a young age by our mother, an outstanding woman. This will be there good laugh for the day.

  6. Tim Little Says:

    Renee:

    I wholeheartedly agree that a child usually benefits from a two-partent household rather than a single-parent household, but I fail to see any connection between divorce/single parenting and same-sex marriage.

    A couple of further points:

    - I am not famililar with any evidence that two parents of the same gender cannot be equal or better parents than a male-female couple. I’m quite sure there are plenty of cases in which a mother or father has not been a positive role model for a child.)

    - You also seem to discount any benefit derived from non-parental role models (e.g., teachers, extended family, etc.).

    - “It is assumed that procreative activities will sooner or later bring forth a child.” Assumed by whom and in what context?

    - “… that is why it is the definition of marriage that is important and not any legal benefit attach to it that really matters.” Civil marriage is primarily about the rights and responsibilities of the individuals entering into contract with one another as well as their right and responsibilities as parents, if there are children. This is precisely why anything less than full marriage equality is damaging to families of all kinds.

    On a tangent, you might be interested in this recent post by JoeTS over at BlueMassGroup: http://www.bluemassgroup.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=7526

  7. K-R-S Says:

    Renee..While I respect your opinion, I do disagree…There are many children who have two parents in the home, who behave terribly and wind up the worst offenders in society. So, I don’t think that children who are raised by single parents, wind up any less ambitious, successful nor more likely to commit crimes than children who are raised in two parent households. This coming from a single parent home with a tremendous amount of involvement from a non custodial parent.

  8. Marianne Says:

    The Greater Lowell Equality Alliance and MassEquality are sponsoring a vigil in response to this incident.

    “Show that Lowell is no place for hate.

    Recently, a member of the Lowell community, James Nickola, was the victim of a brutal anti-gay hate crime. He was violently assaulted by three men simply because of his perceived sexual orientation.

    This incident should be a powerful reminder to us all that homophobia still exists in our state and can lead to violent episodes like this one. We need to continue working together to create a climate of acceptance and to make Massachusetts a place where tragedies like this don’t occur.

    Please show your support for James by participating in a Community Candlelight Vigil this Thursday.

    Community Candlelight Vigil
    Thursday, June 7th
    7:30 PM
    St. Anne’s Episcopal Church
    8 Kirk Street
    Lowell, MA
    (Corner of Kirk Street and Merrimack Street)

    For any questions or for more information about the vigil, please contact Kate Tyndall from the Greater Lowell Equality Alliance (GLEA) at (978) 866-3049 or LowellEquality@aol.com.

    Thank you,

    Marc Solomon
    Campaign Director”

  9. Karen Kahn Says:

    Just discovered your blog. I think there is no doubt that if the marriage ban goes to the ballot it will increase violence against gay men and lesbians. It will create an atmosphere in which it is okay to say that LGBT people deserve to be second-class citizens. We’ve all got to be at the State House on June 14, letting the legislature know that we won’t accept being excluded from constitutional protections. BTW, if you are interested in the struggle for same-sex marriage, check out www.courtingequality.com.

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