Cultural Revolutions

The Dirkhishing Case

Jesse Dirkhishing was a 13-year-old boy living in Rogers, Arkansas, who in 1999 hooked up with two homosexual men named Davis Carpenter and Joshua Brown. Maybe, possibly, he agreed to engage in sex games with them, but matters soon went far out of control. First, Jesse was wholly immobilized: He was drugged, and tied up with rope and duct tape. Then, for a long, agonizing night, he was subjected to every form of rape and sodomy his tormentors could devise. When they had finished with their new pornographic toy, Brown and Carpenter left him to die from suffocation.

There are echoes here of another young man tortured and left to die, though we certainly have heard of that case. I am referring to Matthew Shepard, left to die on a fence in Wyoming in 1998. The difference between the two cases is, of course, the matter of celebrity. In death, Matthew Shepard became a worldwide martyr for gay rights, the subject of numerous television news specials and movies, and the case provoked general heart-searching about anti-gay hate crimes. Matthew's death, you see, was typical of how homosexuals are treated by an evil and prejudiced world. Jesse Dirkhising, on the other hand, was a total embarrassment for the media, because the event totally contradicted the required stereotypes. The case showed homosexuals as brutal killers, reviving the old linkages between homosexuality and pederasty, child molestation, and sadomasochism. One could easily...

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