I'm plagiarizing myself, but after commenting on this story on various blogs, I kept thinking about it so figured I should post my thoughts here as well.
The above is a Craigslist ad—not by Weber—posted as a curiosity on Weber's blog last year. Deceptively, in his intro, he writes of Craigslist as if he is not overly familiar with it.
Killer Katehis brandishes cutlery on his MySpace page.
New York journalist George Weber placed an ad on Craigslist seeking rough sex in exchange for $60. The ad was answered by John Katehis, who turned out to be a sadomasochist (a plus for Weber) but also a murderous Satanist (surprising minuses)—Katehis stabbed Weber over 50 times, slaughtering him in his own home.
Just a guess, but Weber might have been HIV+—if so, I wonder if the killer's attorney will use that?
Since this story broke, one detail has gotten inordinate attention—the perpetrator's age. Katehis is only 16, a fact that seems to have given lots of commenters on TV and on blogs the ammunition they needed to feel that this was not such a great loss to humanity. After all, anyone who has sex with anyone else under 18 is a "pedophile." The fact that Weber invited a stranger into his home for sex has given the same commenters ammo to blame him for his own murder. The line goes that what Weber did was unbelievably stupid. In fact, CNN's biggest non-right-wing douche Rick Sanchez and his guest Lisa Bloom almost CHEERFULLY made this argument:
"Are you kidding me? You mean this, he ended up inviting someone to his house who had a, uh, picture of himself on the Internet with knives that he was holding to his own throat. I mean, you know, there couldn't have been a better warning, right?" Sanchez says incredulously.
Keep in mind there is NO EVIDENCE and NO SUGGESTION that Weber knew Katehis's real name, let alone that he could have seen this MySpace page. Why is this very simple fact ignored by these people who are tripping over themselves to condemn his "terrible" judgment?
It's the same reason why so many gay men in blogs' comments sections are tripping over themselves to say the exact same thing—these wildly unsympathetic, tongue-clucking replies are just human nature driving these people to think, "This could never happen to me, right?" They try to recite the rules we all know about safe behavior to keep reassuring themselves the tragedy at hand could never have befallen them.
This could have happened to anyone who's ever met a stranger for sex. That's why some random straight chick on TV feels comfy judging the man—she might be thinking, "I've had one-night stands but puh-leez, meeting someone strange for rough sex??? I'd never."
Thats her excuse, what is yours, as a gay man, to judge another gay man so harshly?
Meeting in a bar first is negligibly safer than meeting online. You might pick up on warning signs in a bar pick-up, you might not.
This commentary is percolating with "he fucking deserved it, next case."
The man was stabbed 50+ times. How can anyone think this is not shocking? People fuck anonymously with strangers all the time and it almost never results in murder. That's why this is news-making. It goes without saying that sex in your home with a complete stranger is risky and that advertising for rough sex is fraught with more risk than looking for something more vanilla. But we all have taken risks. Where is the sympathy? Forget sympathy, be honest—where is the empathy?
This reminds me of when I was a teenager watching a Phil Donahue show about rape. I was listening to I think three different women's stories. One of them was a woman who became drunk at a frat party and was raped. I was shocked as shit when an audience member stood up and openly told her that her case was not the same because getting drunk in that setting was tantamount to asking for it. I remember people on the show being surprised, but I just could not believe it. I realized more and more from that day that "blaming the victim" was a very real thing, especially in cases of rape. Or, as we see from the sad case of George Weber, in any case involving sex.
This could never happen to you? I have doubt.
P.S. Completely different topic—I was amazed to read in Joe.My.God.'s comments an accusation that Weber was a conservative Republican who supported John McCain. Now that, I am happy to blame him for...if it's even true. Even more interestingly, Rick Sanchez—who seems so comfy ridiculing the late Mr. Weber's judgment—"fled the scene after drunkenly running over a man" in 1990. The man died and Sanchez pled guilty to DUI. Isn't that a perfect parallel to what I'm saying about "NOT ME!"?