Tuesday, March 31, 2009

On the murder of George Weber by John Katehis

Last week there was a flurry of news stories about the death of WABC (New York) news reporter George Weber at the hands of 16-year-old John Katehis of Elmhurst, Queens.

I'm very sorry to hear about this. I feel bad for the families of both. Also, of course, I'm concerned about possible repercussions for gays and for BDSM people, and, even more so, the possible repercussions for Satanists and various religious minorities that have been popularly confused with Satanists.

According to various news reports, Weber paid Katelis for "violent sex," having contacted him via an ad on Craigslist. For whatever reason, the scene got out of hand, and Katelis ended up stabbing Weber. Katelis claims to have freaked out when Weber got out a knife first. The cops don't believe his story because of the large number of stab wounds. Katelis admits that both he and Weber were on drugs, and blames the drugs for his alleged freak out.

On some GLBT sites, such as Tips Q, there are articles about how the religious right wing is using this tragedy to vilify gays in general. Alas, when members of unpopular minority groups commit crimes, they are too often seen as reflecting on the group as a whole, whereas, when other people commit similar crimes, they're seen as just aberrations.

Some though not all news stories brought out a "Satanism" angle. The New York Post and WPIX said he was a fan of Anton LaVey. The New York Post article even mentioned the Church of Satan, yet also called Katehis a "Satan worshipper" - a bit of a contradiction, because the CoS emphatically does not believe in "worship" of anything but oneself. We were not given enough details to determine what kind of Satanism Katehis actually believed in, if any.