The High Price of Hate and Ignorance

Forget “Queer Eye” and “The L Word”: It’s still dangerous to be gay or to be perceived mistakenly as being gay — even if you’re a little kid. The Tampa Bay Tribune reports that a Florida man was convicted of second-degree murder and aggravated child abuse in the killing of his toddler son. This father, to be fair, probably did not intend for his 3-year-old to die. But fearing the boy might be gay, he decided to make the toddler a “man” by teaching him to box — and by beating him to a pulp.

Ronnie Paris would shake, wet himself and vomit as his father forced him into a box and repeatedly slapped him on the head in an effort to prevent him from being gay, the child’s mother, Nysheerah Paris, told the court Monday.

The boy was 3 years old when he died from swelling on both sides of the brain on January 28. …

“He was trying to teach him how to fight,” the boy’s aunt, Shanita Powell, told the court. “He was concerned that the child might be gay.”

“He didn’t want him to be a sissy,” Shelton Bostic, the defendant’s Bible-study friend, testified.

Yeah, the reportedly religious Ronnie Paris Jr. was determined his kid would not turn into a sissy — so much so that he pummelled the child to the point where little Ronnie Antonio suffered swelling of the brain, broken bones, and three bruises between his scalp and skull.

What was the mother’s role in this?

It wasn’t until Feb. 1, four days after little Ronnie was taken off life support, that Nysheerah Paris told police of the alleged abuse. She is charged with felony child neglect and faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.

She testified that she witnessed Ronnie Paris Jr. being rough with the child several times, including once when he “slammed” the baby against a wall because the child was vomiting.

But she said she didn’t take the baby to the hospital immediately after the incidents.

“I just didn’t want my baby to get tooken away from me,” she said. “I thought he was going to make it.”

Kenn Littman, an assistant public defender, asked Nysheerah Paris why she never reported the alleged abuse.

“You thought that the cops were gonna put this on you if you didn’t say anything?” Littman asked.

“Yes,” she said.

Let’s hope that Nysheerah Paris is found guilty and gets the maximum sentence. Too bad she wasn’t charged as an accessory to her spouse’s hideous crime.

If there is any comfort to be found from this harrowing story, it comes from knowing that the toddler did know some love and care during his all too short life. Previous abuse led to the boy being placed temporarily into foster care and into a far kinder situation. What a shame the child did not stay there…

A life is a terrible thing to waste — particularly when religious intolerance and irrational fear are the cause. Indeed, what a waste.

A tip o’ the baseball cap to Ex-Gay Watch for passing on the sad news.

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