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Chicago police may not be ready to label the December 31 shooting of a group of black men at a "gay house" party as a hate crime, but that doesn't mean the issue of antigay violence shouldn't become part of the discussion, said the chairman of the city's commission on human relations on Friday. In a press statement titled "Shooting of Six on South Side Is a Tragedy, Hate Crime or Not," Clarence Wood said he was appalled by the attack.
But even more appalling, he said, "is that some people interviewed by the media saw an attack on gay people as something that was bound to happen and was essentially only a matter of time." In a report by the ChicagoSun-Times, Wood noted that a man from the neighborhood was quoted as saying, "We always be seeing them, and they always be looking at people.... They give you that gay look, like you're a female or something. That ain't cute. People be ready to fight.... I knew something was going to happen to that house."
Six men were injured in the shooting, two of them seriously, when two masked gunmen forcibly entered a first-floor apartment and opened fire during the party early last Sunday. "They came in and started shooting. The motive is unknown, and we haven't determined if it is gang-related or not," police spokeswoman Monique Bond told the Chicago Tribune. "The difficulty is that the gunmen were masked."
"While the police have not yet determined the motive of the shooting, it is extremely disturbing that anyone could believe that the victims somehow deserved to be shot because they were gay or 'acted gay,' " Wood said in the statement. "Let's not take a step back in our thinking to a time when violence against gays and lesbians was acceptable behavior. I fear what group would become the next target if this kind of thinking becomes commonplace." (The Advocate)
Chicago gay house a "tragedy"