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Witnesses Stand by as Gay Men are Attacked in Downtown Austin, TX

The Dallas Voice reports that a local activist and his friend were attacked early Sunday morning in downtown Austin, Texas:

Bobby Beltran said he and his friend had just left Rain, a gay bar, at about 1:30 a.m. When they hugged each other goodbye on the sidewalk, some men in a passing vehicle yelled, “F**king faggots, stop that queer shit!”

Beltran After Beltran yelled at the men to “get out of here,” all five of them jumped out of the vehicle and attacked him and his friend. Beltran said he fought back but suffered cuts and bruises and a black eye. His friend may have suffered a broken jaw. The attackers quickly jumped back in the vehicle, which was parked in the middle of the street, and drove off.

The attack against Beltran was the third anti-gay attack reported in Austin this year, according to the paper, but what upset Beltran as much as the attack was the fact that many witnesses were reluctant to help:

He said the attack lasted for about three minutes and was witnessed by at least 20 people, but none of them tried to help. Beltran said he yelled out the license plate of the vehicle as he ran after the attackers, but no one wrote it down and he doesn’t remember it.

“It was the most unsafe I’ve ever felt in my entire life, knowing that not even my community stood up,” Beltran said. “I’m so afraid to go back down there.”

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  1. I can understand why more LGBT people don't carry guns, but I really think that we should carry pepper spray. It is legal in almost every state, and most websites where you can buy it will tell you the laws for your state. If not, you can easily look them up yourself.

    I'm 6'3", 250, and I don't leave the apartment without my Sabre Red, even in San Francisco.

    Posted by: Mike | Dec 27, 2010 2:22:18 PM

  2. Five attackers and 20 people witnessing it. It would have made a much more interesting story if the five attackers had tried that on a couple of drag queens with 20 drag queens standing around. Drag queens would have kicked their asses.

    Posted by: rayrayj | Dec 27, 2010 2:26:14 PM

  3. I understand the anxiety of the victims in the added helplessness of
    being ignored. It just adds to the victimization. My partner and I have
    been on a Sojourn dealing with Hate. I discovered this quote from MLK
    that gave me some understanding that there is solitude in being
    Courageous, in fighting back. " the harsh words of my enemies don't
    bother me as much as the Silence of my Friends.

    Included here is a link to a blog I have created that chronicles our
    experience. Years yet to go to get it up to date.

    Posted by: Jerry | Dec 27, 2010 2:27:23 PM

  4. wow! times have changed since the days i first started going out (the 70s). we'd NEVER let our friends get beat up like that.

    i remember, specifically, one night back in the day, when someone ran into the disco saying that there was an attack going on across the street. it was like a drill, everyone got up, some of us grabbed our umbrellas, and we got out there on the street to help our friend out-gay bashing averted.

    what's wrong with people nowadays?

    Posted by: alguien | Dec 27, 2010 2:46:51 PM

  5. The tragic thing is that this is a common occurrence. If I'm not mistaken it's been shown that the more witnesses there are the less likely it is that one of them will step in. It's that whole, "Not my responsibility, someone else will do it" mentality.

    Posted by: Matt | Dec 27, 2010 2:47:57 PM

  6. I think the witness' reluctance to help is a logical reaction to the summons-happy police culture and the proliferation of blunt and armed weapons in the US. Getting involved using force could get you stabbed and/or arrested. I was attacked once outside a club, and when I called the police, they told me if I reported a crime or wanted to press charges, they would arrest and charge me as well; all my assailant had to do was claim that I attacked him

    Posted by: Mike C. | Dec 27, 2010 3:12:13 PM

  7. Wait if this was outside Rain where was Rain security or Oilcan Harry's security during a 3 minute attack? That's where I'd lay some blame. Take our money but don't provide any security for us. Hmmm.

    Posted by: RBearSAT | Dec 27, 2010 3:42:19 PM

  8. This situation isn't surprising or new.

    Kitty Genovese, was a New York City woman who was stabbed to death near her home in Queens, New York in 1964...The case got a lot of attention because her neighbors supposedly were fully aware but completely non-responsive to her plight. Attention to this case prompted investigation into the social psychological phenomenon that has become known as the bystander effect (or "Genovese syndrome") and especially diffusion of responsibility. It's thought that the probability of help is inversely related to the number of bystanders; in other words, the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help. Most observers in such cases assume that someone else is going to intervene and so each individual feels less responsible and refrains from doing anything. Other bystanders monitor the reactions of other people in an emergency situation to see if others think that it is necessary to intervene. Since everyone is doing exactly the same thing (nothing), they all conclude from the inaction of others that help is not needed.

    While in Texas, it's certainly possible that the perceived sexual orientation of the victims exacerbated these normal (albeit very disappointing) reactions, this unfortunately isn't a unique situation.

    Unfortunately, it would have been much more noteworthy if someone had stepped in to help.

    Posted by: Guy in DC | Dec 27, 2010 3:43:08 PM

  9. I've always wondered about this. In the past with other minority groups, it's was an unwritten rule that "if you fight one us you fight all of us". I don't know what's wrong with gay people, that we can't sack up and stand up for one another. Spend all that time working out and for what? I mean a guy gets stabbed to death in front of a crowd on the steps of a gay bar and now this. And from what I can tell it looks like this is something isolated to gay men, cause you know if that was a woman catching a beat down in front of a lesbian bar, ever single dyke up in that bar would have been in the streets.

    Posted by: Frank | Dec 27, 2010 3:45:06 PM

  10. Two words, people: fight back. Where's your outrage over such evil actions?! Arm yourself, learn how to fight back.

    Posted by: nikko | Dec 27, 2010 4:23:22 PM

  11. At the very least - someone pull out a camera phone and start video taping the assault while yelling at the aggressors you're going to turn the video over to the police.... something.... sheesh.

    Posted by: Jon Brian Blake | Dec 27, 2010 4:35:13 PM

  12. Frank is correct. Lesbians, Drag Queens, Latinos, African-Americans... all would have stepped in to protect their own.

    This is what our shallow, self-obsessed culture has led us to.

    Posted by: FrankIsRight | Dec 27, 2010 4:41:04 PM

  13. If you are dumb enough to yell a FIVE guys in a get a way vehicle,,,,well........???

    Posted by: PeterC | Dec 27, 2010 4:41:56 PM

  14. What exactly do 'Latinos' and African-Americans have to do with drag queens and lesbians, Frank? Black people and 'Latinos' are just as prone to anti-gay hate as 'white' people. You mean they're all suppose to ban together as 'oppressed' minorities to fight The Man? Good one,Frank.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Dec 27, 2010 4:51:58 PM

  15. This is really tragic. It makes me want to take up karate so I can learn how to effectively defend myself (and others!). But I'm afraid that that's not the real solution to the problem. The problem is these guys who think gay people deserve to be beaten up. And of course, the bar security which stood by and did nothing. It's really sad and makes me feel helpless. Then again, if I were trained in gay-basher-ass-kicking, I might feel a little better if I ever were in a situation where I needed to help protect somebody. Who knows?

    Posted by: nickasarbata | Dec 27, 2010 4:53:07 PM

  16. Unless I misunderstood Frank's comments, he was giving a list of minority groups who one expects would jump in, in a heartbeat, if one of their own were being attacked in a clear hate crime, especially on their turf.

    This whole thing disturbs me somewhat and I'm not sure exactly what to think. It's very UN-Austin (I'm from there), that part of 4th street is hardly isolated and very, very gay, so it's friendly territory, but also has several mixed-crowd bars around it. It's not a particularly unsafe area (all standard disclaimers about a city at night apply, just pointing it out it's not like D.C.'s old waterfront scene, before the stadium came in). It's even fairly well patroled by the police.

    The fact that the attack happened, no security from any of the surrounding bars stepped in, and the fact that there appears to be no coverage in the Austin newspaper disturbs me even further. For a city with so few gay-related attacks (this is the 4th in a year) and has a significant part of its identity positively defined by it's gay friendliness, I'm finding the whole thing very, very strange.

    Wondering if it happened further down by the Austin Music Hall or the other direction where people sometimes park, which could explain the inaction of the security folks...and if the facts are at all in dispute. Otherwise, the whole thing is profoundly disturbing as it signals a shift in the police attitudes, press attitudes, gay community attitudes, and the approach taken by and security surrounding several gay and straight establishments in that area. And it really says that the college students, who are quite often much more passionate and activist that adults, have changed.

    Looking to see how this plays out...and hoping it will generate a kind of outrage in the Austin community that will shame us back to our former selves.

    Posted by: breckroy | Dec 27, 2010 5:05:24 PM

  17. Why don't more gays carry weapons to defend themselves.

    Posted by: Name: | Dec 27, 2010 5:27:16 PM

  18. Not trying to stereotype but you've got 3 black men, one latino, and probably a thugged out white guy attacking 2 gay men. You witness this and you want to help but you've got 5 obviously angry men and your fear of minorities kicks in. What if the scary black men have guns? What if the latino or white guy have a knife? I'm not excusing the bystanders but this is the inner conflict that might had led to paralysis. Even as a black woman, I would still be scared and not wanna get involved. I've heard too many horror stories of good samaritans killed trying to help.

    Posted by: TishaFromDallas | Dec 27, 2010 5:27:24 PM

  19. The sad fact of the matter is that the vast majority of gay men are simply cowards. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Posted by: Nanny McBone | Dec 27, 2010 5:52:17 PM

  20. Sadly, too, this did not make the Austin newspaper - at least not on-line. Had to read it here.

    Posted by: John | Dec 27, 2010 5:55:59 PM

  21. So you're telling me that the next time you see a brawl outside a gay bar you're going to
    1. Automatically assume that it's a gay-bashing
    2. Make a flash judgment as to who's straight and who's not and
    3. Immediately jump in the brawl.
    I'm sorry, folks, but we weren't there, we didn't see how it went down, and it may not have appeared as black and white as it does on paper. Don't judge the samaritans who may have been confused as to what was actually going on.
    That being said, the license plate thing really pisses me off. Just remember the number and write it down. It's the least you can do without putting yourself in physical harm or making an incorrect judgment.

    Posted by: Nathan | Dec 27, 2010 6:04:38 PM

  22. Calling BS on tishafromdallas. nice try

    Posted by: Jay | Dec 27, 2010 6:21:34 PM

  23. "The sad fact of the matter is that the vast majority of gay men are simply cowards. Nothing more, nothing less."

    You can't be more honest than that. One of the Marxists/Liberals' goals is to emasculate gay men and make them dependent on government for protection. Texas DOES have a hate crime law but obviously most of the Marxists/Liberals won't recognize the obvious fact that hate crime laws DO NOT in essence PREVENT them.

    The second amendment comes to mind when you read stories like these, but we all know that the Marxists/Liberals HATE the second amendment and people having guns to protect their lives and property (because Liberals and Marxists disregard life and property). Had I been in this particular incident there would have been 5 dead homophobes lying on the street.

    Posted by: pepa | Dec 27, 2010 6:40:41 PM

  24. "Why don't more gays carry weapons to defend themselves."

    As stated above, the gay liberals/marxists that have monopolized our community (and government) DO NOT want you to carry weapons. They have already stigmatized people who do carry.

    Hence why I believe liberals will end up destroying our community from within.

    Posted by: pepa | Dec 27, 2010 6:43:29 PM

  25. "This is what our shallow, self-obsessed culture has led us to."

    What makes you think we even have a culture? It is being destroyed and diminished left and right by those who pretend to be our allies and/or activists.

    The gay-tards who run Gay Inc, have done what they wanted from the beginning: Making gays victims instead of self-sufficient, independent survivors.

    Posted by: pepa | Dec 27, 2010 6:47:47 PM

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