Where is the story?

Dateline: Sun 23 Nov 2008

The violent murders of Milton Lindgren, 70, and Eric Hendricks, 73, are deeply disturbing, but what is almost equally troubling is the lack of in-depth, hard-hitting local media coverage regarding the case.

Many of us believe this story has national implications; it appears to meet the classic definition of a hate crime, and it strikes at the heart of life for gays in the Midwest and especially Indiana, which has no hate crimes law on its books. The two men had been partners for many years, enjoying a quiet life in the Heartland Crossing neighborhood close to Camby in southwest Marion County. Family and friends have nothing but good to say of them.

That was apparent in a memorial service held Thursday at the Indianapolis Art Center, an event that did receive media coverage. Portraits of the men hung on the walls; Lindgren had studied art at the center, as well as modeled there. Lindgren's pastor said of him, "...he was about the kindest, most gentle person you would ever want to meet."

But where is the investigative reporting this story cries out for? One community leader, in an e-mail, said she questions how the city -- in that, she includes churches, the mayor, the police department and the news media -- can (justifiably) make a big deal out of the "Peace in the Streets" rallies when a victim is murdered as a result of of drugs, child abuse, domestic abuse, etc., but completely ignore the murders of two elderly gay men. Men who, in fact, had endured a hate slur scrawled on their door and had had the cable and phone lines at their home cut shortly before the crime.

She writes: "Here one's senses are terribly accosted on several fronts: victims were elderly, one was in a wheelchair - possibly living with disabilities and gay. So we have a crime against seniors, disabled and gay! Why wouldn't this offend the sensibilities of all those living in Indianapolis?"

This same correspondent suggests that local police departments do not want to deal with "gay murders," and prefer to cop on attitude that "all murders are important."

She continues: "Yet, the real sense is that within

the police depts.. -- there's some age-old (and maybe current) belief or thought that 'blames the victim' (Can we say domestic violence mentality?). Why did someone have to be 'so out'? Why did 'they' flaunt their homosexuality and upset folks?"

The questions she poses, and the issues she raises, are fodder for serious reporting on a daily basis, yet it's not happening.

My Google search of the case yielded coverage by one blog which specializes in "news, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric." Here is the link:

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com

Also, I hear at least one local magazine-style publication is working on an in-depth story about these two men, their lives, times and deaths. Maybe the Star is as well, but the point here is: this crime was first discovered Monday Oct. 20. It's now been more than a month, and yet there's been very little attention paid in the daily paper.

Sometimes what is not said speaks as loudly about our priorities and values as what is...

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