Monday, July 02, 2007

David Ritcheson is Dead

I recall quite vividly the reverberations of fear and anger that shook through my body when I first learned of this hate crime last year.

In a case that drew national attention, Ritcheson, a Mexican-American, was severely assaulted last April 23 by two youths while partying in Spring. One of the attackers, a skinhead named David Tuck, yelled ethnic slurs and kicked a pipe up his rectum, severely damaging his internal organs and leaving Ritcheson in the hospital for three months and eight days — almost all of it in critical care.

In an hour-long interview at his home with his parents on Monday, Ritcheson agreed to be photographed and have his name made public. He reflected on his life before the attack, described the lengthy recovery that followed and looked forward to wresting something positive from the experience.

David used his horrific experience as an example to urge the House Judiciary Committee to renew Hate Crimes Legislation with his testimony earlier this year.
I appear before you as a survivor of one of the most despicable, shocking, and heinous acts of hate violence this country has seen in decades. Nearly one year ago on April 22, 2006, I was viciously attacked by two individuals because of my heritage as a Mexican-American.

Less than three months later, his family will have to endure yet another tragic episode to this nightmare.

An 18-year-old was observed by "a bunch of people" jumping over the railing of the upper deck of Carnival Cruise Lines' Ecstasy around 7:35 a.m. Sunday, said Coast Guard spokesman Adam Eggers.

A written statement from the cruise line also said an 18-year-old appeared to jump from the ship.

Carnival Cruise Lines officials would not confirm his identity, but Rick Dovalina, head of LULAC in Houston, said Sunday night that he learned through the family's attorney, Carlos Leon, that 18-year-old David Ritcheson has died.

This whole thing has so many ugly facets that its hard to even begin to articulate my thoughts on it. We have an obvious hate crime that was carried out in an environment of potent xenophobic outrage by the likes of Rush, Lou and Tom; but on top of that is the stigma that is oftentimes attached to victims of abuse.

My heartfelt condolences to the Ritcheson family. No one deserves to experience the hell they have had to endure since August 2006.

(thx to mariachi mama for the heads up)

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