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Alpha Echo
04-01-2011, 04:59 PM
So, I think I have this crazy idea. My husband's still helping me bounce ideas around and flesh out the plot. But I have a question for our fellow GLBT out there who were around in the 80's.

Well, more of a very general question - can you tell me about it?

This is the time AIDS was getting big. There were a lot of prejudices. The Hate Crime Bill obviously hadn't been passed yet.

Okay...so here's my basic premise - prosecuting attorney pays off people to committ crimes of hate (I'm thinking against GLBT) in order to work his agenda. He hates the crimes and wants a law (similar to our Hate Crime Bill) to be passed and the violence to stop, but no one's listening. So he thinks he can create crimes, prosecute the offenders, and make shit happen.

Kinda like Larry Flint.

So...for those of you around then (I was too young to remember, and I'm straight) what was it like?

PinkAmy
04-01-2011, 06:27 PM
So, I think I have this crazy idea. My husband's still helping me bounce ideas around and flesh out the plot. But I have a question for our fellow GLBT out there who were around in the 80's.

Well, more of a very general question - can you tell me about it?

This is the time AIDS was getting big. There were a lot of prejudices. The Hate Crime Bill obviously hadn't been passed yet.

Okay...so here's my basic premise - prosecuting attorney pays off people to committ crimes of hate (I'm thinking against GLBT) in order to work his agenda. He hates the crimes and wants a law (similar to our Hate Crime Bill) to be passed and the violence to stop, but no one's listening. So he thinks he can create crimes, prosecute the offenders, and make shit happen.

Kinda like Larry Flint.

So...for those of you around then (I was too young to remember, and I'm straight) what was it like?

I was in high school when AIDS came into awareness (around 1980). Back then common "wisdom" was that the illness effected gay men and Haitians. There was a horrible "joke" in school "How do you spell AIDS: G-A-Y (got AIDS yet)."
There wasn't such a thing as a hate crime--well there were hate crimes but they weren't recognized. There was still a LOT of prejudice in general, not just for gays. I lived in a small town several hours from a large city- I never met a black person who wasn't from the Islands until after I graduated from college in 1985. There were no out gay people. There wasn't much gay bullying, maybe some name calling. Obviously there wasn't an internet, so you couldn't really explore sexuality out in the open.

Are you saying the prosecutor is actually a good guy who incites hate crimes to prove the need for a hate crimes bill?

I can only speak for where I lived until I graduated from college in 1985--I just can't see it happening-- people caring enough one way or another to do a hate crimes bill to support LGBT. If anything African Americans were the group most in the spot light for discrimination and the mini-series ROOTS had just aired, heightening everyone's awareness. This was only 15-20 years out from the Civil Rights amendment.
I went to Atlanta with a friend and we encountered the KKK a few times in the suburbs. At first I thought it was a joke--I couldn't believe they still existed. (we didn't see that up North) There were minority mother and children at a daycare protesting the closing of their school and this guy who looked like Col. Saunders from KFC said, "They shoulda never freed the slaves."

I know people who lived in NYC and who were around during Stonewall, the gay awakening, and for the first gay pride parades, etc. I would think if your setting was a larger city, you'd have more overt hate crimes and this would be more likely.
San Francisco would be another good setting, while they were progressive about LGBT rights, the whole Harvey Milk campaigns, his election, and subsequent assassination was a hate crime.

Alpha Echo
04-01-2011, 06:48 PM
So...I'm not sure exactly.

This started out as my husband's idea while he watched Larry Flint. Only he suggested we have a lawyer who (and I have ideas about how he makes this happen) pays off people to committ crimes in order to make a point.

I wanted to make it hate crimes because that's something I'm passionate about. But as of now...there are laws against that, and people are prosecuted.

I also have an idea that we do make this modern time, but the prosecuter is going after a certain group for one reason or another...

Then, my idea is that, as the crimes he's paying people to do get progressively worse and out of control...well, he is teamed up with a reporter that makes him out to be a hero in these cases...until she finds out what he's doing.

Does that make sense? Is this doable?

PinkAmy
04-01-2011, 07:08 PM
I love your idea, I too am passionate about hate crimes.
Maybe you could make your guy a visionary who thinks crimes against minorities solely because they are minorities deserves special sentencing--all the WASPy people don't see it necessary so he's got to find a way to prove it--no matter what it takes. That could work in the 80s.
Or have it set now and he's from a southern town with a lot of residual prejudice---it's a very interesting premise.

Alpha Echo
04-01-2011, 08:25 PM
I'd rather make it set now, just because that's a bit easier.

The tricky part is figuring out what crimes he instigates...and how that progresses out of control.

lexxi
04-01-2011, 08:38 PM
If he's a good guy, could he also be paying off the victims to go along with it?

Otherwise he's just victimizing them unnecessarily.

Alpha Echo
04-01-2011, 08:43 PM
You're right, lexxi...

Mods - could you please move this to the Sandbox? I couldn't for the life of me figure out which forum that was today, on April Fools...

Once you do, I need to change the title...

Alpha Echo
04-01-2011, 09:57 PM
Sadly, there have been instances of 'staged' crimes against minorities, including gays. I recall--only too vaguely--when a couple in the Northwest trafficked their house with hate, to draw attention to bigotry. And there was the Tamara Brawley case here in NY State-- a young black woman who claimed she was raped by a group of white men--a big embarrassment for Rev Al Sharpton.

I can't wrap my head around how any guy who cares about victims of hate crimes, would perpetrate them though. Are you really saying he pays people to beat up/kill gays? Politics is dirty, but I'm not sure I buy that dirty. Maybe of he was gay himself, he'd have that extra motivation to do something desperate and reckless, but you risk a really ugly, defamatory portrayal of gay activists. (and I personally feel we have quite enough of those).

Well, see, that's why it has to be in a time/place where we didn't necessarily have all the laws we have now. This guy wants to bring it all to light to make the laws happen.

Sheesh...I think this can work...just not sure how yet.

AyJay
04-02-2011, 12:27 AM
Ok - after botching a post (sent from my iPhone), I'll try to be more coherent this time.

("trafficking" should have read as graffiti-ing, damn iPhone auto-correct)

I think you have a provocative topic, Alpha, but I'm still not placing how this would work. The attorney wants to pass a law about hate crimes, because hate crimes are real, they're happening in the world. So why does he have to create them?

Hate crimes happened in the 1980's. They continue to happen today. The laws that exist now are a good idea, in my opinion, but the benefit comes after the crime--longer jail terms for the perpetrators communicate to the community that attacks on minorities won't be tolerated--so I don't know that it deters criminals from attacking minorities so much, i.e. how many bigots are worrying about getting a few extra years in jail while they are beating someone up and chanting ugly slurs?

Anyway, your scenario brings up the question: why choose this method to get a hate crime law passed? Even for a different era, it doesn't make sense to me. If he knows that hate crimes are a rampant problem, wouldn't he want to bring attention to the ones that are happening? Address police inaction...advocate for victims...get media attention on the subject...start his own database of hate crime incidents, etc.. That's what LGBT advocacy groups did in the 80's (and continue to do) to fight hate crimes.

IceCreamEmpress
04-02-2011, 01:28 AM
I think that what AyJay says makes good sense.

Unless.

Unless the attorney and a GLBTQ person who's the adult child of a prominent homophobic politician get together to stage a mock crime that will shame the politician out of his or her public opposition to including sexual orientation and gender identity in hate crimes laws.

For instance, if one of Sarah Palin's children was GLBTQ (none of them are, to my knowledge, but I am using her hypothetically to illustrate the level of public visibility) and that person had been discovered by the media to be the victims of a hate crime during the Presidential election season, when there was non-stop media focus on the Palin family--well, that would be a public relations coup for gay rights advocates.

So it could work, but it would have to be really focused, and the pseudo-crime victims would have to be active parts in the planning otherwise the attorney looks cruel and callous and uncaring about fellow GLBTQ folks.

MeretSeger
04-02-2011, 03:03 AM
Full disclaimer first: I'm not gay. But I grew up in the SF Bay Area in the right time period.

AIDS was originally called GRID: Gay Related Immune Disorder. It was that closely locked to the gay community, and you have no idea the fear. Restaurants closed down if it was thought gay waiters worked there. People threw away silverware if guests used it. Paper butt gaskets appeared in the bathrooms. My grandmother refused a blood transfusion...

What if your attorney, instead of dealing specifically with the hate crime issue, was looking at helping gays who got AIDS? What better way to do it than to make prominent straight people think they were infected. Suddenly, funding would open up for research, political will would appear...but his mercenaries suddenly thought, hey, why not really infect them? Less work...

Sorry for playing with your premise. Honestly, in the early '80s, with the exception of the Dan White killings, hate crimes against gays would not have gotten tons of press outside of the Castro except for any blood that might have spattered. It was a dark time. Very. And that is also what would make it a great setting.

Alpha Echo
04-02-2011, 03:19 AM
Oh man, some great ideas....I've come up with another one.

What if a couple whose 16 year old son drove drunk and killed another minor? This couple comes to the prosecutor, and...eventually...he agrees not to press for the best punishment he can get IF they help him?

Now, someone upthread mentioned minors committing the crimes and not getting punished appropriately? What if the prosecutor has this family help him to lure juveniles? he has this family be and round up "victims" - gay and/or minorities - to be victims of hate crime by other minors?

He doesn't like that minors who commit atrocious crimes often end up with just a slap on the wrist? So he keeps this drunk driving kid's case on a shelf, stalling the case over and over but keeping it as leverage, and meanwhile, gaining notoriety and working on getting truly evil kids put in prison where he thinks they belong?

Eventually, the fame gets to him. The crimes he perpetrates get worse. Leads to murder, homicide, etc. The reporter (whom maybe he dated in the past) has been keeping his name in the news.

Then she discovers what's going on and decides it's gone too far...

AyJay
04-02-2011, 08:48 AM
Just a guttural reaction, but unless the tone was farcical, sort of misanthropic all around, like Bonfire of the Vanities, it seems to me a very callous treatment of a very sensitive issue.

Your prosecutor first exploits his minor client, takes advantage of young--typically disenfranchised--delinquents, and conspires to assault gay men. Unless I'm missing something, this situation is "out of control" from the start, and reads almost like some anti-gay propaganda for the "gay agenda."

Maybe if you mixed in other types of hypocrisy--again, a la Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities--it could work as a cynical commentary on politics, reaching beyond the movement for LGBT social justice. It's a fine line in any case, taking such a cynical perspective as a non-gay author. Christopher Bram's Gossip is a fairly balanced look at the hypocrisy of closeted gay conservatives versus the sometimes overly-strident actions of gay activists, but he's a guy on the inside.

jaksen
04-02-2011, 04:52 PM
And it seems, from my pov, that you're trying to force circumstances and events to fit an idea you can't let go of.

I think you need to sleep on this a while, (we all do that), and let your creativity find another way to express what it is you want to do or say. Forcing ideas or situations (in writing) usually comes across as contrived.

Alpha Echo
04-02-2011, 05:42 PM
Well, I am going to think about it for awhile, but I don't think I want it just to be hate crimes against gays. Any minorities. That's the prosecutor's agenda - he hates the fact that juveniles commit atrocious crimes against other helpless juveniles and get away with a slap on the wrist. He wants to make these evil minors - who already are committing evil crimes - and make sure they pay.

citymouse
04-02-2011, 06:02 PM
Let me get this straight. Your hero is an officer of the court. He's paying people in some kind of coin, to commit crimes he himself abhors.
Well, right up front there are three crimes he's committing.
Bribery
Aiding in the commission of a felony
Conspiracy to commit a felony.

Your hero needs a good psychiatric evaluation and treatment for defective reasoning.

The end never justifies the means, because the end is preexisting in the means.

PinkAmy
04-02-2011, 07:11 PM
Well, I am going to think about it for awhile, but I don't think I want it just to be hate crimes against gays. Any minorities. That's the prosecutor's agenda - he hates the fact that juveniles commit atrocious crimes against other helpless juveniles and get away with a slap on the wrist. He wants to make these evil minors - who already are committing evil crimes - and make sure they pay.

I assume he's going to have some really good motivation (not that there is one) based on something dark from his past that will give him a good mental health reason for his behavior? :D