Mark Carson was shot in the face because he’s gay.
His alleged killer, 33-year-old Elliot Morales, is said to have confronted Carson, 32, and a companion, in New York’s Greenwich Village last Friday night, yelling anti-gay slurs. When Carson walked away, Morales reportedly followed and shot him. Morales was arrested by police after a foot chase.
In pondering this tragedy, it is worthwhile to consider a couple things: where it happened, and when.
The “where” is just a few blocks from the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar where a 1969 police raid (“act of ongoing police harassment,” would probably be the more accurate description) led to a violent uprising. It is regarded as the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement.
The “when” is now, in the post-Jason Collins era.
He is, you will recall, the 34-year-old NBA journeyman who made history a few weeks ago when he became the first active player in one of the big four professional sports to come out as gay. While most of us were applauding, a few of us affected to treat the event with a collective shrug, sought to minimize it by pretending it was unimportant.
“Who cares?” wrote conservative blogger Crystal Wright.
“It means less than nothing to me,” said Mike Francesca, a New York radio host.
“I do not care about Mr. Collins’ sexuality,” wrote columnist Armstrong Williams.
Methinks they doth protest too much.
Why does this matter?
Yours truly attempted to answer that question in this space when Collins came out. Sadly, Mark Carson provides a more viscerally convincing answer in the fact and manner of his dying.