I Am Not Queer

Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines the word “queer” thus:

1. Worthless, counterfeit (queer money); 2a. Differing in some odd way from what is usual or normal; 2b. Eccentric, unconventional – mildly insane; 3. absorbed or interested to an extreme or unreasonable degree: obsessed

The definition that reads “homosexual (sometimes offensive)” is dead last.

So, in essence, the gay community using this word to describe itself is just like a black man referring to himself as a nigger, a Hispanic referring to himself as a spic or a wetback, or a Jew calling himself a kike.  It’s the same thing.  It’s sad that anyone refers to themselves as any of these things.  “Queer” is a label I refuse to accept.

I’m not all that different.  I’m a human being; I have to breathe, eat, sleep, drink water, and scratch an itch just like everyone else.  My body gives off the same sweat and waste products as everyone else.  If I drink too much, I get drunk.  If I don’t sleep enough, I’m cranky.  If someone makes me mad, I’m probably not going to be very nice.  I work to earn my keep, pay my bills, wish I were rich and hope to spend the rest of my life with some wonderful person.  How is that so different from you?

I’m sure as hell not worthless.  I care about the other people around me and I’m fiercely loyal to those I love.  I’m not counterfeit – a fake.  I say what I think, do what I say I’ll do, and I don’t play games for my own benefit.  Even though many in the gay community might argue this point, I’m not insane, mildly or otherwise.  I believe the way I do because it is logical to me and I refuse to allow my emotions to rule me.  And I certainly don’t think it’s unreasonable that I love women, nor is it obsessive.  I just happen to feel about women the same way most straight women feel about men.  Homosexuality does occur in animals, most often when a species overpopulates an area and the population needs to be controlled naturally.  In humans, it’s often genetic.

I don’t like labels because they are often lacking facts about the person wearing them.  I don’t see myself fitting any of the labels society might give me.  Least of all do I feel like allowing anyone to label me queer.  It has always been derogatory, and like the other racial ephithets listed above, is beyond reclaiming by the gay community.

Pride means more than being okay with yourself, it’s loving what you are.  Have some respect for yourself.  You should never allow any person go give you a name that is disrespectful or insulting.  You are worth more than that.  Stand up straight, hold your head up, and look everyone in the eye.  Nobody can take your dignity or make you inferior without your express permission; never give it.

This is Why We Should Put Murderers to Death

You might be surprised to know that the crime itself isn’t my only reason for believing in the death penalty.  Then again…those who know me well might not.  😉

Today, Texas is catching up with all of the time they’ve lost.  Heliberto Chi, convicted of a 2001 slaying in Arlington (about an hour or so from Dallas), was put to death today in the same manner as Jose Medellin the other night.  His argument on appeal was the same: he was a citizen of a country other than the United States, and he was not given his rights to a meeting with the consulate of his home country (Honduras, in this case).  But apparently the International Court of Justice didn’t think his need was that pressing–they didn’t include him in their lawsuit against the US of A.

There have been articles aplenty about his crime; that’s not my point here.  His last arguments were that he had become a Christian, he “knew the Lord,” and because of that he should be forgiven–because God has forgiven him.  Since God has forgiven him, everyone else should, too.  Right?

What’s even more galling is that despite unbelievably compelling evidence, and despite Chi admitting his crime, the man had the patent nerve to walk into the death chamber and say, “God forgive them, receive my spirit.”  He talked to a friend who had worked for his release.  He looked at the family of his victims, but never–NOT ONCE–did he acknowledge them.  It’s that sort of thing that proves to me that Chi was never really a believer.  The bible teaches that God forgives, but there are still consequences for our actions in this life; there is still a law to be obeyed.  Just because God forgives your sin does not exempt you from punishment for your deeds, even if your life is required for them.

As a corrections officer, I saw people “find God” only to laugh about it after it helped get them out.  Then, they’d be back just a scant few months later (sometimes less), cursing the whole of society for putting them away yet again.  Everyone in prison is religious.  An extremely small percentage really believe.  You usually know who they are when they show genuine sorrow, either by apologizing as they’re executed or by really cleaning up when they’re released.

Why would Chi behave the way he did as he was about to die?  Wouldn’t you think he’d be more penitent as he got ready to meet his God?  Think again…this was his way of getting back at everyone and adding to the myth that anti-death penalty proponents like to shove in everyone’s face.  Poor, poor souls.  If he really believed, then I’ll see him when I get home.  I have a hard time swallowing that, though.  It wasn’t society that needed to be forgiven.  It was he who owed a debt to society.  Not even the Holy Bible contradicts that fact.

So why is that a reason to put them to death?  Because they feel no remorse.  No remorse means that if they’re allowed to live, they will commit further crimes against innocent people.  That is the most chilling part of it all, and it’s largely ignored.

Suing the Preacher’s Wife

Wow.  There’s so much going on right now I can’t keep up with it all.  It could just be that I’ve expanded my readership to a few other online outlets, but I’m seeing the same stories everywhere.

Today it was announced that they’ve seated a jury in the civil lawsuit trial against Victoria Osteen.  She’s the wife of superchurch preacher Joel Osteen (for those unfamiliar with Houston, Joel is the son of the late Steve Osteen, who led Lakewood Church to superstardom in Texas in the first place).  Back in 2005, the Osteen family was on a flight from Houston to Vail (yep, the ski resort–where else would a rich superpreacher go for vacation?) when Victoria asked a stewardess to clean a spot on the armrest of her first-class seat.  The Stewardess, busy seating other passengers, called for maintenance and continued in her duties.  Victoria grabbed another stewardess, who went to the cabin.  Apparently furious, Victoria followed her and ran into a third stewardess, whom she reportedly shoved and elbowed in the left breast.

The Osteen family voluntarily left the plane as they were about to be removed, delaying the flight over two hours.  The FAA, after an investigation, fined Victoria $3000 smackeroos for her behavior.  But the stewardess she assaulted is now suing for medical expenses–plus ten percent of Victoria’s net worth.  That’s quite a pile of moolah.

Okay…if the FAA found that the incident warranted a fine, then yes, Victoria should pay, and she apparently has.  Does it surprise me that the outburst occurred?  No.  My family was heavily involved in another Houston megachurch, where youth pastor Randy Woolstrum and head pastor Steve Riggle regularly showed their true colors.  Suffice to say it does not surprise me in the least when a member of a prominent mega-ministry family does something that is, shall we say, un-Christ-like.

But according to the report, the “assault” was little more than a shove and an elbow in the boob.  In a compact little space like an airplane, that’s not assault, it’s a fact of life.  It’s something I’m sure that stewardess was quite used to.  I don’t just seriously doubt her claim that she needed counseling after the incident…I outright refuse to believe it.  And I sure as hell can’t comprehend why she would need so much money for it.

The only reason for this lawsuit is that the Osteens have money.  It’s that simple.  I don’t like megachurches or those who lead them, but I like those who file lawsuits over stuff like this far less.  This is silly.  I hope she not only loses, but is required to pay the Osteen’s legal fees.

The Deed is Done

The US Supreme Court made us all hold our breath today when it was announced that they would hear a last-minute argument and possibly issue a stay of execution for Jose Medellin.  His execution was scheduled for 1800 central time.  Three hours later, with the death warrant still valid and Medellin already moved from the Death Row housing unit at Polunsky to the death chamber at Walls (same facility, different units), it was announced that the Supreme Court would not issue any stay. 

So, at 2035 central, Medellin was strapped down to the table and allowed to say his last words.  At 2048 the first of the drugs, sodium thiopental, was administered, putting Medellin into a deep sleep.  Next came pancuronium bromide, a muscle relaxer given in such a high does that it paralyzes the diaphragm and renders the lungs useless.  Finally they gave him potassium chloride, interrupting the signals between the brain and heart, inducing cardiac arrest.  Essentially, the man died in his sleep.

Adolfo Pena, the father of murder victim Elizabeth Pena, said, “Fifteen years is a long time.  I wish those two girls could’ve lived that long.”  It’s sad that a man should have to say that–I wish my daughter had lived this long.  It’s sad that he’s saying it because a worthless flab of human debris robbed the world of his little girl and nearly got away with it.  What’s really incomprehensible, though, is that there are those out there who see this kind of crime and somehow still believe that the death penalty is cruel and unusual.  But since Medellin didn’t give his victims any painkillers before brutalizing them, I fail to grasp why his crime is not deserving of something far worse than what he received.

His final words, though, are worth repeating this time.  Usually, they’re not; usually, the condemned either claims innocence or says something completely off-kilter.  Medellin, in a strange turn, took responsibility for his crimes.  He said, “I’m sorry that my actions brought you pain.  I hope this brings the closure to what you seek.”

Who Invited the International Court to This Party?

In June 1993, my family was moving again, but we still watched the news.  I’ll never forget that summer watching the news in Houston that two teenage girls had gone missing.  Just a couple of days later, I watched on the news as the father of one of those girls stole a news van and rushed to the scene police had found of two dead girls.  Police had to hold him back as he cried, “does she have blond hair?”

Even then, if you called 911 the police could track you down by the phone number that appeared when you called.  They found a teenage boy who admitted that his brother had been involved in killing the girls.  Within hours, Peter Cantu, Jose Medellin, Derrick O’Brien, Efrain Perez and Raul Villareal were in custody and each was ratting the other out.  They were members in a gang called the Black and Whites, and the boys were jumping in Raul (meaning that he was being initiated into the gang).  The beating over, they started drinking, and two teenage girls tried to walk by across the train tracks that ran through the park.  They grabbed one, Elizabeth Pena, and threw her to the ground; the other, Jennifer Ertman, tried to run but came back when her friend cried for help.

They were both raped repeatedly for more than an hour.  O’Brien took off his belt to strangle one of the girls and the belt broke.  They then took the girls’ own shoelaces and finished the job with them.  They left behind part of the belt as they moved the bodies from the clearing near the tracks to the nearby wooded area.  It took four days for the bodies to be found, by which time they were decomposing in the Houston heat and humidity.  The medical examiner noted that the extreme decay around the girls’ throats, cheasts and genetalia spoke to the horrific nature of their deaths and the brutalities they suffered at the hands of their killers.

The rest of the broken belt was found in O’Brien’s home and all of them eventually confessed to their roles in the murder.  Raul Villareal was the only one to get a relatively light sentence: 40 years.  The rest were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death.

O’Brien has already been executed.  Several years after Medellin’s conviction, some hotshot attorney wised up to a little-known rule that required that all foreign nationals be given access to their home countries’ diplomats within three days of being arrested for any crime.  Medellin, you see, was brought to the US from Mexico at the age of 3.  He never told anyone after being arrested that he was actually a Mexican national and didn’t have legal status as an immigrant.  He didn’t tell anyone until years after he committed a horrid crime, when someone told him he might escape the death penalty based on this teensy little technicality.

Suddenly, Medellin took center stage in an international fight to require the United States to re-open 51 other cases in which foreign nationals were given the death penalty without having been given access to their nation’s consulate attorneys.  The same George W. Bush who picked up a sword and danced with the Saudis kowtowed to the demand, trying to use his position to force the states to comply.  Texas, bein’ the stubborn ol’ mules that they are, refused.  It went all the way to the US Supreme Court, and even the liberal judges there backed Texas law, refusing to bow to the wishes of the “International Court of Justice” (whatever the hell that means).

(Sidenote: if you go to the CCADP website, a Canadian group fighting to abolish the death penalty, you’ll see the Medellin has his own webpage.  It’s been quoted by the Houston Chronicle with no regard for the reality of what Medellin is saying.  He talks about joining the military, then says, “would have joined here, but I’m a Mexican, not a traitor.”  But the very first words he says on that profile are, “My life is in black and white, just like the old Western movies…”  In case you didn’t catch that, go back and read which gang this guy belongs to.  He’s giving a shout out to his homeboys in gang code and nobody has caught it yet.  Don’t forget, I used to work with gang crap every single day.)

Despite all the broo-ha-ha to save Medellin’s life, he’s scheduled to be executed tomorrow, August 5, in the death chamber at the Polunsky Unit in the Huntsville facility of TDCJ.  Texas refuses to recognize demands by the international community to halt the execution.  Barring an invasion by a UN force (hey, there’s a first time for everything), Medellin will be executed for his crime.

There’s been much ado about whether Texas should give a stay of execution because of diplomatic concerns.  Yet I fail to see why we should be beholden to anyone not in this country.  I promise you, the first time we cave in and allow international opinion to influence any decision in America, it will open the floodgates.  We’ll never get them to stop trying to dictate what we do here.  We are a sovereign nation, we adhere to our own law, and if the international community wishes to have any say in our criminal justice dealings, then they’d better damn well let us have a say in theirs.

I find it interesting, though, just how rabid the rest of the world is to force America into submission on this issue.  I’d like to know where they are every day when women in Muslim countries are stoned to death for violating Sharia law.  I’d like to know where they were when two young gay men were arrested, tried and hung in Iran within one week just for being gay.  I’d like to know where they are when girls across the Arab world are forced to endure female circumcision (if you don’t know what it is, trust me–you don’t want to).  I’d like to know where all these freakin’ do-gooders are when Palestinian children are indoctrinated with terrorist beliefs, taught to believe that blowing yourself up to kill infidels in the name of Allah makes you some kind of damned hero–in public schools.

What’s good for one is good for all.  At least when you’re talking to someone who cares about following the rules.  Randy Ertman, the father of Jennifer Ertman, had this to say about the whole thing:  “The world court don’t mean diddly. This business belongs in the state of Texas … the rest of them can go to hell.”

“Support our Murdering Troops!”

Sundays are usually the days when I tackle a larger issue that encompasses a lot of smaller incidents.  I usually like to title my blogs in such a way that I know they’ll grab everyone’s attention.  Since you’re here, I’m sure you’re interested in what I have to say.

I’ve long been a fan of P.O.D.  I was a fan before anyone else knew who they were.  Snuff the Punk was the first Christian rap/metal/thrash album I ever bought, and from there I bought every single piece of everything they sold.  StP came out so long ago that I bought it on casette tape.  It’s even autographed.  Now, however, it’s in the trash.  The band that I’ve followed and supported since I was in 7th grade has done something that has made me so angry that I will never, ever buy into anything they are involved with ever again.  I’ve even removed all of the songs I had on my iPod.  Why?  Check out these lyrics, from their song “Tell Me Why” on the new album:

The hate in your eyes
The lies on your tongue
A hand that kills the innocence who quit to do wrong
your belly is full
While we fight for what remains
The rich getting richer
While the poor become slaves


 We kill our own brothers
The truth is never told
If victory is freedome
Then the truth is untold
Surrender your soldiers
Like everyone else
If love is my religion
Don’t speak for myself

Tell me why
And why must we fight
And why must we kill in the name of what we think is right
And no more
No war
Is how do you know

In case you can’t tell, they’re singing about the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I guess I shouldn’t expect anything better from a band that emulates Bob Marley (they played a Marley song on the MTV “New Year’s Cover Song” several years ago).  But what astounds me is that they’re singing so openly against both the troops AND the mission.  It’s a trend that’s becoming more and more chic with musicians and moviemakers as times goes on. 

P.O.D. are certainly not the first guys to ever put a piece of “art” out there that is anti-war and anti-military.  Recently, a lot of movies have been released as well that espouse the notion that the military is evil and our troops are murderers.  Redacted, Lions for Lambs and In the Valley of Elah paint an incomplete picture, as does Stop Loss.  Some of you may have never heard of these films–reason being, they’re not getting much popularity.  In part it gives me hope that the entertainment industry hasn’t completely hijacked reality the way they did back in the ’60’s over Vietnam.

War is unpopular.  Who in their right mind wants to go to war?  It doesn’t just cost money, it costs lives.  Those who come back alive are never the same.  The surviving relatives both at home and in the other affected countries are left with holes in their lives that will never be filled again.  War truly is hell, and nobody can honestly say that they enjoy it.

My favorite bands and artists aren’t politically involved.  They may support the troops, but they don’t make comments on the politics involved in the wars that our troops are fighting.  They don’t come out in support of one candidate or the other–they make their music and sell albums without the courtesy political involvement you see from Bon Jovi, P. Diddy (or whatever he’s calling himself now), Green Day and U2.  I have a very hard time enjoying music put out by someone who has actively campaigned for any political candidate.

My favorite movies have been written and filmed so that they reach the denouement without offering a guilt trip for not believing in some moral that the filmmaker wishes to foist on me.  We Were Soldiers tells the story of the battle at LZ X-Ray and ends without giving commentary on whether Vietnam was right or wrong.  Black Hawk Down does the same with the battle of Mogadishu in 1993.  The Brave One was even able to do it, much to my surprise, even though the filmmaker has the opportunity to push the anti-gun argument. 

We do have the freedom to speak, the freedom to express how we feel and what we believe.  But the freedom to do a thing does not mean you should, wherein lies the question: should fame be used to popularize a political ideal?  I’m not suggesting we make it illegal, just to answer those who may accuse me of such nonsense. 

I’m suggesting that we stop going to the movies, stop buying the albums or single songs on iTunes, and stop caring about those people in the entertainment industry who use their considerable clout to push their politics on the rest of us.  P.O.D. asks, “how do you know you’re right?”  I’d ask you the same question.  How do you know that you’re right and everyone else is wrong?  Are you really asking a question, or are you making an accusation?  How do you know that with your limited view of what’s going on that we’re not doing the right thing?  Have you talked to the people who are directly affected by this?  Did they tell you to beg us to stop killing them?

More importantly, are you acting out what you know intelligently to be right, or are you merely doing something to make yourself feel better?

I can say, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that America is NOT the cause of all the world’s ills.  That’s not what Code Pink, World Can’t Wait, and other such groups would have you believe, though.  They display pictures of dead bodies and call our troops murderers–then they turn around and say, “support our troops, bring them home!”  Hysterical politicians like Jack Murtha condemn our troops before the whole story is known, then refuse to retract their remarks when the truth is revealed.  And the entertainers who make more money than Allah latch onto these attitues, spewing them back at us in an effort to make us follow them.

Tell me why we should follow you.  How can you tell us to be individual when you’re demanding that we be like you?  You’re no better than those you’re pointing the finger at.

The Spectre of Rodney King

By now, I think we’ve all seen these videos.  Just for good measure, watch them again.



They look pretty straightforward, right?  Simple.  Police officers abusing their authority and assaulting innocent people.  We’ve seen it before.  It needs to stop, doesn’t it?

If that’s what you think, you need to dig deeper.  The media would love to have you believe that’s the truth about these two incidents, and they’ve played it that way (particularly the New York Post).  What you don’t see could change everything about what you think of both incidents.

What about this one?  It came out some time ago:


Seems just as straightforward as the other two.  This one was the LAPD, the same organization involved in the Rodney King beating.  But what really happened with Rodney King?

In 1992, I was living in Houston and I remember to this day watching the news of the LA riots on TV.  I didn’t know much at first, but pretty soon Rodney King became the name that rolled off the tongue of every black kid in my school that made trouble.  Rodney King became a social icon, and if you’d asked him before it happened if he wanted it, he’d likely have been too keyed up on crack to give an intelligent response.

LAPD officers tried to pull King over for speeding one night and King refused to pull over.  After some time, several cruisers finally got him pulled over; the man was so high on different drugs that he was behaving erratically.  Nearby, a man named George Holliday–who’d never used a camcorder and was playing with a brand new one–was watching everything go down, trying to get the thing working.  He caught 81 seconds of footage.  We only saw 68 seconds: the part where King was being beaten.  The shortenend video galvanized a nation into believing that the LAPD was staffed entirely by thugs bent on strongarming the public into submission.

What you didn’t see, though, could have changed your perception.  And the media knew it.

Holliday called the LAPD, and they blew him off.  So instead he took it to local news station KTLA; they showed it to police and the police said it was authentic.  So, doing what reporters do (because they’re sooooo un-biased, right?), they clipped the first 13 and final few seconds of the video and played the part that they knew would earn the ratings.  They knew it would create an outrage, and it was something they were quite well-versed in.  They got their wish.

But before the tape rolled, King fought the officers at the scene.  He charged and tackled several and was tazed twice.  At first, LAPD officers (along with the CHP officers who originally tried to pull him over) asked him to submit, but he wagged his ass at a female officer.  Four officers ended up trying to put handcuffs on him, but he effortlessly threw them off.  He was well over six feet tall–he was a big dude.  Then he was tazed, and that did nothing.  Finally, while he charged Officer Powell, Holliday turns the camera on.  But you didn’t see the part where King attacked Powell.  That would’ve cast doubt on the rest of the video.  And yes, the original video did catch that sequence, but you’re hard-pressed to find the whole thing now.  And you never see the beginning when King shook off everything else they threw at him in a concerted effort to take him into custody without harming him.

The problem is that everyone saw it with their emotions rather than their intellect.  So many people saw this short video clip and saw what the editors wanted them to see; they saw something that angered them, a gang of police officers beating a man for no reason.  They never saw what lead up to it, and never thought there might be more to it than what they were given. 

So before you pass judgement on the videos above, ask a few questions.

In the first video, all you see is an officer and a bicyclist–who, by the way, was part of Critical Mass, which was carrying out a protest and causing massive headaches for NYPD–colliding.  What happened before that?  Did another officer up the road radio down to fellow officers to arrest him for assaulting someone?  Who is the bicyclist, and was he wanted for something?  Did he flash a weapon at someone? 

In the second video, you can’t claim racism; both the offender and the baton-wielding officer are black.  So what other motivation would the officer have for doing what he did?  If he’s not a racist, why is he beating the guy?  Take a very close look: the officer’s partner is trying to handcuff the man, and the offender refuses to put his hands behind his back.  He might not be fighting violently, but he’s struggling against arrest.  The officers are trained to protect their weapons, so they have to get this man in handcuffs.  They are both repeatedly ordering the man to stop fighting, and the man is refusing.  And while the bystanders are shouting, “take pictures of his legs!”  The guy is moaning about his ARM.  That wasn’t what was hit. 

And in the LAPD video, it’s the same type of thing.  They’re trying to take a criminal into custody, and he’s fighting them.  He’s refusing their repeated orders to stop struggling and give them his hands. 

What is an officer supposed to do in these situations?  Are they supposed to just say please, as if the bad guy is gonna give up to someone who’s being nice?  Should they simply allow the bad guy to beat and/or kill them, so we can spend millions of dollars later on to cry about it and say it should never happen and give the scumbag more rights than we have in a farce of a trial where he can get off on a technicality and continue to commit crimes?  Maybe kill someone else?

People don’t think clearly when they see these things.  There’s always two or three sides to a story.  One person might describe a situation as calm, and another might say it was chaotic.  I see things like that happen in my daily life, and it has taught me to approach these things very cautiously, reserving judgment for the whole picture.  And we all know the media will never give us that.

So before you allow these snippets to paint a picture for you, think carefully about what else might answer the questions you have.  You may very well cause more problems than you solve by allowing your emotional gut response to rule your reaction.

Arizona DPS Officer Puts a Little Chlorine in the Gene Pool

First of all, thanks be to Steve and Phil for inviting me to join them…I’ve been reading the blog for a while, and I always enjoy the entries.  What’s different here is that even when folks don’t agree I rarely see the same type of name-calling that comes with a lot of other blogs.  I see more people here who are capable of agreeing to disagree than I see anywhere.  Who knew that a couple of politically-conservative gay men could really live out the openmindedness that the gay community can’t serve?

Sundays I usually post something philosophical, something that doesn’t have much to do with any one news story or incident in particular.  The rest of the week I’ll post as I see something that grabs my attention.  Without further ado, here’s my first offering.  I will get deeper into politics in the next few days.

News buzzed across the wires today of a crime that is deserving of entry for an honorable mention in the Darwin Awards.  Everyone, and I do mean everyone, does something stupid once in a while.  There is a certain sect of society, however, that is so stupid that one can only hope that when they do something dangerous, nobody else is around to be affected by consequences of said stupidity. 

At an Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS, or state troopers) office in Phoenix, 12 police officers were getting ready for a training session when a civilian walked in and announced that the liquor store across the street was being robbed.  No kidding.  Azcentral has the initial report:


The officers went to see about it and the perp turned the gun on the cops.  Of course, the cops shot him.  There’s no word yet on the guy’s condition other than his wounds are life-threatening.

That DPS office is a little conspicuous.  There are signs outside proclaiming exactly what it is, and there are cop cars all over the place.  There can only be two reasons for somebody to be unforgivably dumb enough to rob any business near a police station: 1) he has an IQ of two (when it requires at least a rating of 3 to grunt), or 2) he has a death wish.

Armed robbery across the street from a police station.  Classic.