As Mark Carson walked through Greenwich Village with a companion early Sunday morning, another man taunted him with vile homophobic slurs. Then, with no warning, Mr. Carson was fatally shot in the face. Mark Carson was murdered because he was gay.
This is the sort of crime we associate with locales far removed from the Village, the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement. Here in New York, we believe, gay people can live and love as they please, thanks to the pioneering activism of those who demanded an end to bigotry, discrimination, and hate decades ago.
Then a shot rings out, and we are reminded that even in Manhattan, even in the Village, hatred has not been banished. Gay people still put themselves at risk by being who they are.
The Police Department reports that bias crimes are up significantly. At this time in 2012, the department had registered 13 bias-related incidents. This year, the number is 22.
That figure should be zero. Until it is, New Yorkers need to bear in mind that intolerance remains a hazard, deadly at times, that confronts gay people and other traditionally marginalized individuals in this city, no matter its reputation for acceptance.
Mark Carson ought to be alive today. But he died at the age of 32—because he was gay.