A revenge attack?

Mother writes that seven gay Edmonton men murdered a 'good Christian boy'

Rumours of murderous homosexuals bashing and killing straights have been circulating the Internet in the wake of Matthew Shepard’s murder – including the urban myth of the vicious killing of a “good Christian boy” in Edmonton.

“Apparently David got into trouble with some fags at the university,” writes the grieving mother of her 22-year-old son in a message sent around the world, claiming he was murdered by seven gay men in Edmonton. “David is a good Christian boy (man) and he told some queer about how such was a sin to God.”

The supposed victim then rejected the advances of one of the gay men and was killed after being raped repeatedly.

The e-mail has even fooled a US rights organization, the Magnus Hirschfeld Centre out of Upper Montclair, NJ, which forwarded the e-mail asking for help from anyone who might be able to disprove it.

Edmonton police say the e-mail is a hoax. Says officer Kelly Gordon: “It’s all bogus, we’ve spent far too much time on this already.”

But the story has sucked many people in. The victim is a good Christian boy who was standing up for his beliefs. The attackers are sex crazed “perverts” who strike without provocation. And the parents are kind people who work in an AIDS centre.

The tale progresses over three letters from the mother and ends

with the list-moderator’s intonation that “David Shaw” had passed away.

Like other e-mail urban myths that play on fear or sentimentality, this one has just enough detail to sound real. “I am sitting at Divine Mercy Hospital in Edmonton, outside of Davey’s room. His brother and sisters just left to refresh themselves.”

There is, however, no such hospital.

This e-mail appears designed to incite hate.

“The instigator than [sic] proceeded to undress my struggled [sic] son, and then they took turns raping him in the rectum.”

Why would anyone forward this kind of information without double-checking it first?

The Hirschfeld Centre bills itself as a gay human rights organization, “a centre for human rights” that is a non-governmental, non-profit, voluntary organization engaged in the promotion of human rights and civil liberties under international law.”

As executive director William Courston says in his request for help, “It appears as though in the wake of the December 1998 homophobic torture and murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student in Cheyenne, Wyoming (USA), several accounts (thus far, baseless) have been given rise to, purporting to relate the murders of heterosexual student(s) by homosexual persons. Thus far, all of these accounts (which have attained a degree of currency in rightwing political and fundamentalist religious circles) have proven to be without substance.”


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