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The Color of Murder By: Larry Elder
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, March 01, 2002


ON OCT. 7, 1998, two thugs killed gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard. HBO recently moved up the airdate for "The Laramie Project," its Matthew Shepard movie, in order to beat NBC's soon-to-air movie about the same murder.

Killers kidnapped and robbed Shepard, apparently because of Shepard's sexual orientation, tied him to a fence, beat him into a coma, then left him to die. This shocking killing made international headlines.

Given Hollywood's interest in, call it, sexual-orientation murder, we might then soon expect a Hollywood feature called "The Jesse Dirkhising Story."

Who is Jesse Dirkhising?

Approximately one year after the abduction and murder of Matthew Shepard, two gay men abducted, tied up and raped Jesse Dirkhising. The Denver Post's Sue O'Brien describes the killing, "Police say the 13-year-old was drugged and blindfolded, gagged with underwear, strapped to a mattress and then brutally and repeatedly sodomized by one of his killers while the other watched. Ultimately, the seventh-grader died of suffocation because of the position he was in."

On June 7, 1998, three white racists abducted and dragged James Byrd, a black man of Jasper, Texas. This killing properly provoked international outrage. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, NAACP President Kweisi Mfume, Houston Mayor Lee Brown and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) came to Jasper to condemn the killing and express condolences to the Byrd family.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, said that Byrd's death and his family's way of coping served as an example to others. "We are diminished by this act," said Hutchison, "but from the depths of our pain, the fog of all our disbelief, we are going to emerge stronger. We have seen a family tested. We are better today because we have seen a family tested like no other family has been tested." President Bill Clinton, in a letter to the Byrd family, said, "People across our nation have been shocked and saddened by this tragedy. Violence and hatred in our society hurt us all, but few have had to endure its effects as personally as have you and your loved ones."

But how many presidential letters went out to the family of Ken Tillery?

Who is Ken Tillery?

Tillery, approximately a month ago, walked down a Jasper, Texas, road. Three men offered him a ride. But the men kidnapped Tillery, driving him to a remote location. John Perazzo of FrontPageMagazine.com, describes what happened: "When the terrified Tillery jumped out of the vehicle and tried to flee, the kidnappers caught up with him, beat him and finally ran over him – dragging [emphasis added] him to his death beneath their car's undercarriage." How much coverage did the case get? An online search of 557 newspapers found that 22 covered the story.

Why the deafening silence? Well, Tillery is white, and the three suspects in the case – Darrell Gilbert, Blake Little and Anthony Holmes – are all black. No story.

In 1995, the late Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Royko wrote about a tragedy that took place in a Chicago suburb. According to Royko, the police stopped two black men in a car and arrested the driver for outstanding warrants. They towed the driver's car, leaving the passenger to fend for himself in a tough, predominantly white Chicago neighborhood. "Please don't leave me," the black man begged the cops, to no avail. Fifteen minutes later, this same black man was found suffering third-degree burns. Just as the man feared, apparently someone in this tough neighborhood doused him with some flammable liquid and set him on fire. He later died.

But then Royko threw us a curve. He wrote that, yes, he factually described the incident, but with one small wrinkle. He reversed the races of the cops and the drivers. Royko said, "Would this create much of a public uproar? Demands by community and political leaders for a full investigation? Based on past events, yes, there could be quite an outcry. Assuming, of course, that this story is factual. But it isn't entirely true. I changed a few facts. Such as race. In reality, the two cops were black and the two men they stopped were white." Again, no story. Never mind that where violent crime takes place between blacks and whites, the cases overwhelmingly involve a black perpetrator and a white victim.

In Coloring the News: How Crusading for Diversity Has Corrupted American Journalism, journalist William McGowan exposes modern mainstream journalism's let's-emphasize-racism-while-minimizing-minority-crime bias. New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., according to McGowan, said, "If being labeled PC is the burden we must carry for offering readers a broader, more complete and therefore more accurate picture of the diverse world around us, it is one I bear proudly."

Mainstream media continue to deny their liberal bias. It's just that mainstream media consider some murder victims more equal than others.


Larry Elder is the author of the newly-released Showdown. Larry also wrote The Ten Things You Can’t Say in America. He is a libertarian talk show host, on the air from 3-7 pm Pacific time, on KABC Talkradio in Los Angeles. For more information, visit LarryElder.com.


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