Well, that’s burying the lede now, isn’t it?
First of all, kudos to Nicholas Beadle for reporting the story behind the story on his blog at the Jackson Sun, Motion Carried. You probably have already heard that basically candidates Ron Kirkland and Randy Smith said that while they were in the military, homosexuals were “dealt” with.
Kirkland, a Jackson physician, referring to his training while serving in the Vietnam War era, told the crowd: “I can tell you if there were any homosexuals in that group, they were taken care of in ways I can’t describe to you.”
Smith, a chef from Mercer and a Gulf War veteran, responded: “I definitely wouldn’t want to share a shower with a homosexual. We took care of that kind of stuff, just like (Kirkland) said.”
I caught up with Kirkland after the event and asked him about his comment, noting that it could be interpreted as him condoning violence against gays. “It’s a joke,”
Dr. Kirkland, tell that to Matthew Shepherd. Tell that to the countless victims of hate crimes.
Tell that to the family of Allen R. Schindler, Jr. It wasn’t a joke when these people’s families had to bury them.
Beadle didn’t let Kirkland get away with it and continue to ask if he was condoning violence against homosexuals. Kirkland backtracked with this gem.
“Things don’t go well in military barracks when you have 50 guys sleeping on top of each other,” he said.
Kirkland said he does not want to infringe on a gay person’s right to serve in the military, but they should not live their lifestyle openly while in service.
After letting him take a few minutes to shake hands with people who watched the debate, I caught up with Kirkland again, and he said his comments should not be interpreted that he condones violence against gays.
“It was just the reality of the way things were,” he said. “It’d be the same as having men and women in the same barracks.”
He added: “I don’t even like unisex bathrooms.”
Smith said he had friends that were quietly “gay” in the military.
No Dr. Kirkland or Mr. Smith, you can’t have it both ways. Subtle or not, you still said they were dealt with.
Condoning violence doesn’t mean you have to use the word violence in the sentence. And you know that.
UPDATED from Michael Silence with the headline When Neanderthals Speak.