Hiding In Plain Sight

I waited a few days to write about this story but it’s something that’s bothered me all week. Exactly a week ago, a newsman by the name of George Weber was viciously murdered in his apartment by a person he met online through Craigslist. This murderer probably misrepresented himself to Weber because it turned out that he was 16 years old. It’s not just the facts of the case that has me thinking but some of the comments I’ve read over the last week as details emerged and the killer was caught.

George Weber was gay, although that’s not something that was known in the business or to his listeners. Like many people here, he led a somewhat double-life, working in the vanilla world during the day and pursuing his desires and proclivities when out of the public eye. It also became known that Weber was kinky, primarily into certain BDSM practices during which he liked being choked. Now, I don’t pretend to understand all kinks but I certainly do respect the rights of people to do whatever they like as long as they do it safely and consensually. I don’t even care about the fact that there was drug use. I don’t do drugs at all but really don’t involve myself with what other people do as long as they do that as safely as possible. Personally, I don’t think any drug and BDSM go together but that’s my own belief.

Two things got to me about this, both related to one another. First, Weber comes across as having been a bit to unsafe in meeting with this person. It’s entirely likely that the killer, although relatively young, was a damned good liar and charmed his way into Weber’s bedroom. However, the fact that no one close to Weber knew about the meeting seems to me a very cavalier way to engage in these practices. He may have done the same thing the same way in the past but it only took one maniac answering his ad to end his life.

The other thing that has gotten under my skin about this story is the reactions of, frankly, sanctimonious people in and around the industry that he worked in. There have been many heartfelt tributes to his life but an equal (if not more) number of folks too easily condemning him as sick or as a pedophile (even though there is no indication that he knew the person he was meeting was 16). It seems that this anger towards him stems from the fact that he was not the squeeky-clean person they thought he was when listening to him deliver headlines — that he dared be something that they don’t agree with. I wonder if the focus on his kinkiness by these folks isn’t a cover for the fact that they can’t criticize his homosexuality in a way that wouldn’t come across as bigoted.

Aside from the fact that a tragedy like this occurred, what stuck in my head was related to what I had written in the recent past about feeling uncomfortable in my vanilla life and how it all felt like a front covering the kinkiness beneath. That uneasiness is what makes me feel terribly sorry for George Weber because he must have felt it doubly so as he hid his homosexuality as well as his desires for BDSM. Did he feel desperate for some release? Is this why he reached out in such a haphazard way? Did he not join a club or go to a pro because he was afraid for his career? All questions we’ll probably never know the answer to.

The fate of George Weber makes me feel anger at a society that forces people to hide their desires for fear of recrimination or retribution. However, it does make me feel unbelievably lucky to be a member of the BDSM, and primarily, the spanking scene. I’m very grateful to have the luxury to explore what I enjoy in a way that’s safe and filled with people who understand one another for the most part. The one thing in the scene that I’m especially fond of is the way that people reach out to help newcomers, teaching them not just about safe play but about staying safe in the scene. This is an important aspect of the BDSM community that makes being part of it so worthwhile. Although terrible things can and do happen to people who are trying to be safe, I’d like to think that having the ability to be around people who are just like you helps. I certainly would not want to live my kink locked up inside of myself.

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9 Responses to “Hiding In Plain Sight”

  1. and luckily..you don’t have to.

    I often forget to “give thanks” for the fact that I discovered the bdsm community lo these many years ago.

    It STILL amazes me ..almost on a daily basis ..how easily I can discuss and explore my kink..and with some actual real FRIENDS too..not just random partners found through an ad..like poor George.

    How very tragic ..and what a sad social commentary..that the man can’t even rest in peace–have some dignity intact. It’s a hypocritical world, alright. People throwing stones all over the place.

  2. mildlyinappropriate Says:

    As a newcomer myself, I feel lucky enough to have gotten to know people that encourage safety and consent, people who help me and are there for me and my multitude of questions!

    Unfortunately I don’t see things changing for people like George anytime soon; too many narrow minded and unaccepting people unwilling to be educated – or, as Lisa says, hypotcritical people (possibly hiding their own secrets).

  3. I agree; and before I “came out” in the scene, I met partners through ads in the local alternative newspaper (no Craig’s List back then…) I didn’t know about “safe calls” and I’m not sure I would have used one if I did. I wasn’t about to tell a vanilla girlfriend what I was up to. I did my best to use good judgment, we usually met in public first, and nothing bad happened. But I can identify with having to hide, and, I still don’t tell my vanilla family and friends what I do on my vacations. They would CERTAINLY judge.

  4. Rad, this is a beautifully written and poignant post. I didn’t know about the George Weber story. Both the initial event and the aftermath you describe are disturbing and inexpressibly sad.

  5. Who in the industry condemned George? Didn’t read any condemnation in Post, News, Times, or LA Times. Curtis Sliwa focused on the positive.

    George didn’t deserve this. He should be left in peace.

  6. It’s fair to say that the on-air reactions to this murder and the facts surrounding it have been low-key and mostly focused on his work and public persona. That said, it’s sad to hear people behind the scenes and out of the public eye condemning a person because they don’t agree with a lifestyle. The most disturbing things I’ve heard are certain moralizers and their intention to blame the victim by portraying him as a predator who somehow got what he deserved. If you just look at the facts of the case, this is a position not backed by what is known.

  7. *sigh* This is very sad…and what is more sad is that it happens moreso then not. One would think that being gay in this day in age would be accepted…it is still barely tolerated. Then add another type of kink and people go crazy. It is sad that anything a little to the left of what “someone” considers normal and then it becomes an issue…and of course if you are doing anything kinky you aren’t consider moral.

    It is sad to me and it is no wonder that people hide.

  8. sandy richards Says:

    Sadly, I’m no longer surprised by how quickly people can turn on someone. And I think the more that people don’t understand or are threatened by something, the more vicious they become in their condemnation of it.

    I’ve found that people don’t like anything random and they feel better if they can find a “reason” for bad things happening.

    I think the on-air and in-print coverage of the case has been, from what I’ve seen, professional. But I think if Weber had been a more “traditional” victim, there would have been more heartfelt remembrances.

    Much of the coverage I saw about his career came before the circumstances of his death were known. The vanilla world will make you pay for being different, which continually reminds me to not let down my guard where privacy is concerned.

  9. radagast Says:

    sandy richards: People seem to hate what they fear and fear what they don’t understand. I think that it’s much easier for them to find reason to banish a person from their lives than accept that they were not what others thought they were. Very sad commentary on intolerance.

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