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Archive for December 2006

Hate In Our Community

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Hate In Our Community – Marengo Illinois

Last week, two 18 year old high school students sneaked into a yard to tepee what they thought was a friend’s house at 3 in the morning. One of them was shot three times in the back by the owner of the house, Jerry Sweat, who then went back to bed without calling the police. The teen was badly injured. Two bullets hit him in the back, one in the hand. He will require multiple surgeries on his hand and has been home in bed ill and in pain. Jerry Sweat was arrested for the shooting.

What has been the response in our community to this incident?

Our county newspaper, the Northwest Herald, was quick to write an uninformed article about the incident, which had many glaring errors. One of these was that they were unable to get in touch with the family in question, which wasn’t true. They never tried. Another of those was that the two teens attempted to break into the car, also untrue. Neither the teens nor Sweat gave this information to the police originally, though Sweat might have tried to change his story later after he acquired a lawyer. The paper also stated that the Marengo Police might seek charges later against the two teens, but the incident occurred outside of Marengo and was handled by the Sheriff’s department. It was not in the Marengo Police jurisdiction. Based on this article, filled with glaring errors, the columnist Brian Sepulski wrote an essay further condemning the actions of these young men and glorifying what Jerry Sweat did.

Needless to say, this article was glaring and shocking to the family of the injured young man. It came at a bad time, when they already had a lot of stressful occurrences. Combined with the glaring lies in the article, it added to their pain and stress.

This was bad enough in itself. But it gets worse. The Northwest Herald has an online discussion area that is visited by the whole of McHenry County. The above article was put in this discussion area, and people from Marengo and beyond started posting their comments and opinions.

What was going on at this time? Well, the young man in question had one of several surgeries on his hand, to remove the bullet. He will require more surgery to fix torn nerves, broken bones, and muscles. Currently he is unable to move the fingers on the hand that the bullet went into. After the surgery he became very ill and this was reported by friends of the family on the Northwest Herald discussion board. Not to arouse sympathy, but so that the people who have been making commentary would know what is going on. The response has been truly amazing. Here are some of the hate filled comments from that site:

barbara wrote on December 16, 2006 9:54 AM: "I would rather pay 30% of my childs medical bills than for his funeral……he was wrong to frighten Mr. Sweat at 4 a.m. I hope he has learned his lesson, but I doubt it. With all these adults condoning his behavior and painting him as a blameless victim, they are basically socializing him to become a reckless and irresponsible adult.”

braveheart wrote on December 16, 2006 8:59 AM: "You can paint Patrick as a poor, defenseless victim as much as you’d like. While we all specualate as to whether or not he broke into Sweat’s car, or was merely up to mischief, there is one fact to this case that is completely UNDENIABLE.Patrick Gaughan was shot by Jerry Sweat while in the middle of committing a criminal act. Try to refute that. CGBear hit the nail on the head. He had no business being in Sweat’s yard at 4AM, whether breaking into the car or simply vandalizing the property. Understand that Patrick’s careless behavior and lack of respect for the property and belongings of others are in direct correlation with his now being seriously injured. Can you get that trough YOUR thick head?"

CGBear wrote on December 15, 2006 8:21 PM: "Why does everybody from Marengo make it about poor Patrick??! I don’t care who it is! If you are on my property at 4 am I will call the cops, I will let the dog out to say hello, and I will come out and say hello."

I have not printed these comments in full, and there are many more. When some of Patrick’s friends from high school went on the discussion board and bravely stood up for his defense, not only were they accused of being ME, but here is what many people replied to them:

braveheart wrote on December 15, 2006 6:09 PM: "Leave her alone, Mom, you’re confusing her by presenting actual facts……. She’ a clueless, semi-literate little snitch. I’m sure her parents are very proud of her. Maybe her tune will change once charges are also filed against Patrick……..and they will be filed against him."

Needless to say, we have taken action against this. We have not only gone on the discussion board in question and attempted to respond, but have contacted the Northwest Herald. They have decided that their discussion board is much more important to them (for publicity purposes, I imagine), then the fact that the family in question has lies, slander, and hate directed against them. One of the people posting on that discussion board has in fact contacted us after signing up on our Marengo Message Board and being banned for slander (she accused me of being a pedophile because I wanted to help the Gaughan boys). Her name is Barbara Behnke, the Barbara who posted the comments above, and here is what she wrote to us:

“How on earth is stating my opinion slanderous? You have just reaffirmed my opinion that this message board seems to be run by a bunch of lunatics. I hope you all enroll in some classes at the local community college and educate yourselves about what exactly slander is and also take a class in ethics.”

and

“Please do the world a favor and take some classes at the local community college and educate yourself on what exactly slander is and what ethical behavior is……..”

What I found fascinating is that other than the two brave kids from the high school, who have posted despite being ridiculed and demeaned, is that people have allowed their hate of the family in question to fill page after page of the discussion area. As you see, they have no sympathy, empathy, or caring in their hearts. Someone is sick this Christmas, a family’s peace of mind has been destroyed by a reckless gunman, but who do these people care about more? Why the gunman, of course. Poor Jerry Sweat! Someone was in his yard in the dark, he got frightened and had a frightening experience, he was “forced” to shoot someone because of his fright, now he has all these legal fees and, God forbid, might even wind up going to jail. There should not be any people out there who want to defend the boy who is now sick and in pain, they need to be put in their place because of their misplaced sympathy. Why, I have heard that there will even be a fundraiser in town to help pay Jerry Sweat’s legal fees! And this is a person who shoots a person, sees he hit them, doesn’t call the police or the ambulance, but goes right back to bed and falls asleep.

What else is really scary about the way the discussion in the NW Herald is being handled?

Well, I imagine that the newspaper can one day be held responsible for promoting the death of teenagers. Yes, the death of teenagers. There is post after post detailing that people should have the right to shoot anyone on their property and ask questions later. That teenagers who are out late at night deserve to get shot. That the teen in question is a “dog” and should be “shot like a dog”, which was thankfully removed from the site after several days. It is not only sickening, it’s scary. Here, people are advocating that homeowners shoot whoever is on their property in the middle of the night, for the whole county to read. One day a police officer, a mother whose car broke down at night, or a neighbor coming to a house for an emergency may well get shot. Many posts are also spreading hate of the family in question, which might lead to violence against them. No one at the Northwest Herald at this time took any responsibility for these issues or taken any actions to correct the misinformation in the original article.

As a last word, here is what a famous novelist, Peter Senese, thinks about thisMcHenry County matter. Here is an article from his personal website:

December 15th, 2006: "Friendship" One of my closest friends, Brian of the Chicagoland area continues to deal with some of the strangest behavior by a growing group of radical right-winged idiots. As I shared a few days ago, Patrick Gaughan, Brian’s son and my pal, was shot three times while walking on a neighboring property of his friend he was intending to play a youthful trick on (tee-peeing his house, something I did often enough in my youth). Patrick is a teenage boy who possesses qualaties others should hope to obtain: he is respectful, honest, considerate to others, and good natured. So less than two weeks ago, Patrick gets shot by a rifle, has his body riddled with bullets, and a group of idiots out of McHenry County, Illinois have stated on a handful of websites that the shooter had the right to fire his rifle at anyone on his property! Where in the world are we going as a society if this thinking pervails! I mean, last night I was watching a group of Christmas Carollers strolling a jazzy little neighborhood, and I said to myself, ‘what if the home owner doesn’t want these festive singers on his property?’ The use of firearms in most any circumstance is simply wrong.

More can be found here: The Official Site of Peter Senese – On My Mind

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Written by mchenrycountyilpress

December 16, 2006 at 4:35 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Jerry P Sweat, No Hero, Just Psycho

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Jerry P Sweat, No Hero, Just Psycho

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Jerry Sweat from Marengo Illinois, I noticed, had beenenjoying a lot of support. People think that it is all right for Mr. Sweat toshoot to kill two young men, both 18 years of age, who were passing through hisproperty on the way to tepee a friend’s house. Mr. Sweat originally told thepolice who arrested him that the reason he shot one of the men was because hethought he was one of the people he had a dispute with, since he had many enemies.

So, what did he do? He emptied a whole clip of his .22, sawhe hit “the enemy” in question, then he went back to bed without so much ascalling the police. This is the story he gave the police when he was firstarrested. Later on, he thought of a better story, and decided that the kidswhom he shot were going to break into his unlocked car. However, nothing wasstolen out of the car and the two kids dropped rolls of toilet paper on the wayout of his yard while fleeing. So, it seems unlikely to me that someone wouldgo drive to steal things from someone’s car while carrying rolls of toiletpaper with them. Would be rather inconvenient, wouldn’t you think?

Jerry Sweat is a coward. He shot a person who was fleeing inthe back. He is cold blooded. After he was done, he went right back to bed, noteven caring for the welfare of the person he shot.

Now, what has happened afterward?

People have come out of the woodworks to make accusations ofthe victim. He was in the wrong place and the wrong time, so that is why he gotshot. He deserved it. ALL of his family are evil, they don’t deserve people’srespect. I have noticed that people do not care about the damage they cause,spreading false information, making false assumptions, or just talking garbage.Why?

Because it is not them. By attacking someone else, someonewhom they can hold as example, they then can then feel good about themselves.They can assure themselves that their own kids would never cross someone’s yardin the middle of the night, or argue with someone at the carnival, so it wouldnever happen to them. It can’t. It only happens to the Gaughans. Therefore, itmust be their fault.

To me, this kind of thinking is evil. It can causeimmeasurable harm, and in fact is doing just that, to the Gaughan kids, totheir family. Rather than making yourselves look good by accusing someone else,sometimes it might be better to mind your own business.

Marengo Illinois

"They didn’t know the guy [who did the shooting] and weren’t there to do anything to his house," O’Reilly said. "They were just cutting through his yard."The early-morning toilet paper raid is what "high school kids do," O’Reilly said. "Should they get shot for it? No."

Marengo Message Forum – NW Herald Gets it Wrong Again

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Written by mchenrycountyilpress

December 9, 2006 at 1:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized