Rip the lid off…..

I don’t know if I should even be writing this really. I just don’t know what else to do, and I don’t think I can sleep at the moment.
I don’t have the right to cry really, and yet I do. He’s a friend of a friend, from San Francisco. I’ve never met him. Don’t know him. Don’t have any connection. But my friend knows/knew him well.
24 years old. A young, beautiful gay man. Filled with joy de vivre, a true lust for life, perhaps to the point of naiveté about his own safety. Mexican born, he liked to dress up in drag and go out. Not the flamboyant over-the-top kind of drag queen, but just transsexually; to dress up so he looked like a young Mexican girl. He would go out and have fun, mostly at a local club, where he was known for being fun and flirtacious.
He has been missing now for 2 days. The FBI have come by to talk to the family. They have recovered a burned body found in a garbage bag. The body fits his description, but they have to do dna tests because of its state to identify it.
The family is religious, and hopeful, but it doesn’t look good.

Despite my distance from the situation, it rips my fucking soul out. Absolutely crushing. I want to cry, and scream, and wail things like what is wrong with this world, but that’s not enough. Maybe they will catch who did this. Maybe they will even go to prison. However that won’t change the fact that a large percentage of the people in power, in the very system that might actually put the perpetrators in prison, right down the line to your average Joe, from top to bottom in society, will still either not give a shit at all because of this persons gender, appearance, and sexual preference. Some will even laugh and joke privately with each other, saying things like one less queer, or he got what he deserved, etc, etc.
To say it infuriates me is a massive understatement. The people who do these things walk among us. Live among us. Ride the bus with us. Okay, put them in prison, but don’t let it stop there. Post their pictures, and their whole life stories publicly. Let people know who they are, where they come from, where they worked. Spread the information in everyway possible about what kind of people do this. Show that they are not just freaks and outsiders and good ole boy rednecks. They are connected to segments in society and that should be shown, and magnified, put under the goddamned microscope and examined. Go further than that. Where are the massive public education programs that emphasize the right to be different, and show the cowardice that the fear of that difference is based on? Where is the public outcry?

This is a hatecrime, a pure and simple bald-faced disgusting hate crime. Every such crime should be thrust into the light. No secrets. When people murder because they are just afraid of anyone who is different, society needs to react with its full force. But it does not. Not by a long shot.
We need to rip the lid off.

WOTD: justice

I just read on The Local: Sweden’s News in English, that Ephrem Yohannes, the man convicted of the brutal rape and murder of Elin Krantz, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for his crimes, after which he will be deported from Sweden. He’s also been ordered to pay 600,000 SEK to the victim’s family as compensation, as if mere money could possibly “compensate” her family for her loss.

This is how he has been ordered to pay for his crimes. Whether or not this sentence can be considered “justice” is a another matter entirely.

It seems a rather lightweight sentence to me considering the degree of brutality and ruthlessness of the crimes. Then again I was born and raised in the highly punitive culture of the United States, where citizens demand that lawmakers be as tough as possible on crime. In America, a violent rapist-murderer would receive no less than a life sentence. In some states he might even be sentenced to death. The idea of a violent criminal being sentenced to a mere sixteen years in prison would seem ridiculously lenient to most Americans. Including me.

Still, this is Sweden, where it is believed that every criminal no matter how far gone has the potential to be rehabilitated. I’m not so sure.

I happen to have a different perspective on this particular crime because it occurred practically in my backyard. Elin Krantz’s body was found in the woods next to the public tram stop that I use every single day. I remember like it was yesterday the morning that I walked to the tram stop like usual and noticed that the whole area was cordoned off with blue and white police tape. There were several police cars in the area and my first thought was that they must have found a body.

It didn’t occur to me exactly whose body until I boarded the tram and remembered seeing the notices posted on the inside of the tram stop shelter and on the door of the nearby supermarket. “Have you seen our sister?” the notices read below a picture of Elin Krantz. She went out on Friday night and never made it home. It was then Monday morning. I saw a man on the tram reading a newspaper with the main headline, “Body Found in (my neighborhood).” They hadn’t yet identified the body.

That’s when it hit me. Oh my god. Oh my god. It’s her! The body they found. It’s got to be her.

And sadly, it was.