Gay Puerto Rican Teen Decapitated, Dismembered, and Burned

From Towerload
Over the weekend the brutalized body of gay teen Jorge Steven López Mercado was found by the side of a road in Puerto Rico. The police investigator suggested that he deserved what he got because of the “type of lifestyle” he was leading.

Mercado According to an iReport by Chrisopher Pagan: “On November 14 the body of a gay 19 year old was found a few miles away from the town in which he was residing in called Caguas. He was a very well known person in the gay community of Puerto Rico, and very loved. He was found on the site of an isolated road in the city of Cayey, he was partially burned, decapitated, and dismembered, both arms, both legs, and the torso. This has caused a huge reaction from the gay community here, but its a difficult situation. Never in the history of Puerto Rico has a murder been classified as a hate crime. Even though we have to follow federal mandates and laws, many of the laws in which are passed in the USA such as Obama’s new bill, do not always directly get practiced in Puerto Rico. The police agent that is handling this case said on a public televised statement that ‘people who lead this type of lifestyle need to be aware that this will happen’. As If the boy murdered Jorge Steven López was asking to get killed…”

Jorge Here’s a report on the murder (in Spanish) from Said activist Pedro Julio Serrano: “It is inconceivable that the investigating officer suggests that the victim deserved his fate, like a woman deserves rape for wearing a short skirt. We demand condemnation of this investigator and demand that Superintendente Figueroa Sancha replace him with someone capable of investigating this case without prejudice.” (my translation, please suggest a better one if you can).

Gay Puerto Rican Teen Decapitated, Dismembered, and Burned

Fort Hood: How many white male Christians from the midwest felt the need to "mea culpa" after Timothy McVeigh?

How many white male Christians from the midwest felt the need to “mea culpa” after Timothy McVeigh?


The tragic shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, shouldn’t have a political dimension to it. Yet within hours it was being portrayed that way.

From one side, the alleged shooter — Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist — is a victim of “Pre-traumatic Stress Disorder” who flipped out because as a doctor treating combat veterans he had to deal with the horrors of an unjust war. From the other side, he’s a Muslim terrorist, an Arab (though born in the United States) plotting and carrying out his own murderous jihad.

In his radio address Saturday, President Obama urged Americans to see beyond the ethnicity of the alleged attacker. Speaking of those serving in the US military, he said:

“They are descendants of immigrants, and immigrants themselves. They reflect the diversity that makes this America. But what they share is patriotism like no other. What they share is a commitment to country that has been tested and proved worthy. What they share is the same unflinching courage, unblinking compassion and uncommon camaraderie that the soldiers and civilians of Fort Hood showed America and showed the world.”

But WorldNetDaily was quick to trumpet a radical Islamic organization in England hailing Maj. Hasan as “an officer and a gentleman.”

And the conservative Web site even charged that Hasan had played an “advisory role in President Barack Obama’s transition into the White House” thinly based on Hasan’s having attended an event at George Washington University at which corporate executives, academic researchers, and officials from previous administrations discussed homeland security.

Others on the right have suggested that Muslim US military officers might need “special debriefings” or “special screenings.”

In a piece headlined “The massacre at Fort Hood and Muslim soldiers with attitude,” conservative columnist Michelle Malkin writes: “I’ve said it many times over the years and it bears repeating again as cable TV talking heads ask in bewilderment how all the red flags Hasan raised could have been ignored: Political correctness is the handmaiden of terror.”

Meanwhile, the debate rages over whether Hasan — aside from his religion, ethnicity, and what he’s reported to have said about two US wars in Muslim countries — himself was a victim of combat-related stress. Even though he’d never been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan himself, presumably as an Army psychiatrist he would have treated and counseled many combat veterans physically broken and mentally battered by war.

“Imagine every day trying to help young men and women somehow put their lives back together despite their night terrors, flashbacks, and chronic sleeplessness,” writes psychologist and full-time therapist Todd Essig. “While you reach out to help, they mistrust your every move and respond with hair-trigger tempers, not to mention all the physical symptoms, alienation, and hopelessness. Surrounded by thoughts of suicide — and homicide — you try and keep faith with the honor and challenge of providing care.”

On a New York Times blog site for war veterans, Vietnam vet and former Marine Joseph A. Kinney writes:

“Could it be that the psychiatrist we want to hate saw the unbearable suffering of warriors he was tasked to treat? Could it be that he identified with the suffering of those he treated at Walter Reed Army Hospital? Did he become one of us, another soul tortured by war’s anguish? I cannot forgive this man who betrayed us but I must try and understand him nonetheless.”

Many of the online comments to Mr. Kinney’s blog post expressed outrage that Hasan’s alleged attack should be seen this way. One person wrote: “You want to understand him? Here’s the explanation: at some point, he became a radical Muslim terrorist. Period. Whether that was brought on by PTSD is irrelevant….”

On Huffington Post, Kamran Pasha describes his conversation with another Muslim soldier at Fort Hood, a 22-year Army man and Iraq combat veteran who recently converted to Islam. This soldier (referred to only as “Richard”) knew Hasan. He told Mr. Pasha (a Hollywood filmmaker and the author of “Mother of the Believers,” a novel on the birth of Islam) that he now believes Hasan’s alleged murderous act was motivated both by religious radicalism as well as having worked in a situation where combat stress was always present.

As more becomes known about what happened at Fort Hood — and, most importantly, why — many Americans may be less likely to see the tragedy in the context of their own opinions about the war and those of all backgrounds called to fight it.

By Brad Knickerbocker

Fort Hood: How many white male Christians from the midwest felt the need to "mea culpa" after Timothy McVeigh?

Latinos and Education: Explaining the Attainment Gap

Latinos and Education: Explaining the Attainment Gap

by Mark Hugo Lopez, Associate Director, Pew Hispanic Center
Report Materials

Nearly nine-in-ten (89%) Latino young adults ages 16 to 25 say that a college education is important for success in life, yet only about half that number-48%-say that they themselves plan to get a college degree, according to a new national survey of 2,012 Latinos ages 16 and older by the Pew Hispanic Center conducted from Aug. 5 to Sept. 16, 2009.

The biggest reason for the gap between the high value Latinos place on education and their more modest aspirations to finish college appears to come from financial pressure to support a family, the survey finds.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of all 16- to 25-year-old survey respondents who cut their education short during or right after high school say they did so because they had to support their family. Other reasons include poor English skills (cited by about half of respondents who cut short their education), a dislike of school and a feeling that they don’t need more education for the careers they want (each cited by about four-in-ten respondents who cut their education short).

Latino schooling in the U.S. has long been characterized by high dropout rates and low college completion rates. Both problems have moderated over time, but a persistent educational attainment gap remains between Hispanics and whites.

When asked why Latinos on average do not do as well as other students in school, more respondents in the Pew Hispanic Center survey blame poor parenting and poor English skills than blame poor teachers. The explanation that Latino students don’t work as hard as other students is cited by the fewest survey respondents; fewer than four-in-ten (38%) see that as a major reason for the achievement gap.

This report was prepared for the Latino Children, Families, and Schooling National Conference sponsored jointly by the Education Writers Association, the Pew Hispanic Center and the National Panel on Latino Children and Schooling. The conference was held on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2009 at the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington, D.C.

Latinos and Education: Explaining the Attainment Gap