This is the Finest Nerd Czarina, and I hate the news. Today, I am frustrated that being homophobic is still a valid defense for murder.
Have you heard the story of the man who murdered his neighbor one night, citing “gay panic” as his defense? The murder happened back in 2015, when the two were hanging out listening to music together. Some time during the course of the evening, 67-year-old James Miller stabbed 32-year-old Daniel Spencer to death. While no one can know for certain what happened to incite this level of violence, Miller himself claimed that Spencer had made an advance toward him, and he stabbed him (in the back, mind you) in self-defense.
“I’m not gay,” Miller said, as he thought this somehow made his actions less heinous.
Men, let me fill you in on something really quick. If someone is flirting with you, and you are not interested, there are other things you can do besides stab them to death. You can say revolutionary things, including: “I’m sorry, I’m not interested in you like that,” “I’m flattered, but it’s a no from me,” or even, “Dude, stop; I’m not okay with this.” You can walk away or tell the other person to leave. The fact that Miller took it to a fatal level suggests that either a lot more went down that night than he cares to admit, or everything people are saying about toxic masculinity is absolutely true. Even if Miller had punched Spencer in the face – which still would have been a shitty thing to do – that would have been a better reaction, as no one would have died. But I guess, to some, it’s better to be a murderer than to have another man flirt with you!
What adds insult to injury (and by injury, I mean “senseless murder”) is that a jury ultimately ruled that James Miller not guilty of murder and manslaughter, but was instead charged with criminally negligent homicide. He will serve a whopping six months of jail time, perform 100 hours of community service, wear an alcohol monitoring device for 12 months, and pay Spencer’s family $11,000. But six months of jail time, how is that okay? People are in jail for much longer than that for having cannabis on them, and that is a legal substance in some states. This former cop murders his neighbor and has a very shady story to back up his actions, and he gets a couple of months and a payout. That seems fair.