The Other McCain

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Mass Murder in Texas: Can You Guess Why National Media Have Ignored This?

Posted on | August 8, 2021 | Comments Off on Mass Murder in Texas: Can You Guess Why National Media Have Ignored This?

Jeffrey Jack “Jeff” Gerla was a 47-year-old psychologist who had taught at Kilgore College and more recently worked as a mental health specialist at Rusk State Hospital, which is about 15 miles from where Jeff lived in a trailer behind his mother’s house in New Summerfield:

He was highly creative in everything he did. He loved making Aquariums and getting freshwater fish, he was a devout Christian who cherished his job, and he loved his dogs and horses. Jeff never met a stranger. He was a people person. He was always helping others and everyone that knew him loved him.

Have you noticed the use of past-tense verbs? Because whatever Jeff Gerda was — and I think “devout Christian” may be a bit of stretch — he is no more. Gerla went to his final reward last month, along with three other people. The other victims in this July 20 mass murder were Gerla’s 18-year-old boyfriend, John Clinton, Clinton’s mother Ami Hickey, 39, and Hickey’s lesbian partner, Amanda Bain, 38. And while you puzzle over that, can you imagine the national media headlines?


How could the media resist such a story? But the details of the case aren’t conducive to a media crusade against homophobia. To begin with — a 47-year-old man with a teenage boyfriend? Not necessarily ideal from the perspective of public relations for the LGBTQ community, which is always foremost in the minds of journalists reporting on such stories. This has been my main beef on this issue for decades, going back at least as far as the 1998 death of Matthew Shepard, who was portrayed as a saintly martyred victim of homophobia, for which the “Religious Right” was scapegoated, as if his killers were Republicans who had just attended a Pat Robertson rally. In fact, they were a couple of dopehead punks who had hung out with Shepard in a local pub and lured him to his death with promises of supplying him with meth. All that got buried in the posthumous celebration of Saint Matthew, who became the gay-rights poster boy, even though nothing about his life or death could be construed as relevant to such issues. Hanging around dopeheads is dangerous — that was the most obvious lesson of what happened to Matthew Shepard, but the media didn’t want to talk about that.

We can’t expect CNN or the other national news operations to notice this mass murder of four homosexuals in Texas, because not even the most mendacious media liars can ignore the sordid facts. You see, while Jeff Gerla — “a devout Christian,” according to his obituary — was “in a relationship” with 18-year-old John Clinton, it was not an exclusive relationship. Gerla’s teenage boyfriend had matched on the gay dating app Grindr with 20-year-old Jesse Pawlowski, who then joined Clinton and Gerla in a “polyamorous relationship”:

In an interview with detectives, Pawlowski said he met Clinton and Gerla, who police confirmed were in a dating relationship, on a dating app and entered a sexual relationship with them.
During this relationship, Pawlowski visited Gerla’s residence multiple times and noticed several firearms, including a handgun that Clinton wanted to sell for $500, according to the affidavit.
Pawlowski told investigators he introduced [Billy] Phillips to Clinton, and an agreement was made for Phillips to facilitate the purchase of Clinton’s handgun. However, Pawlowski said he never intended to buy the gun. Pawlowski, Phillips and [Dylan] Welch made a plan to steal the gun from Clinton, the affidavit stated.

Two of these characters had criminal records:

In a records request to DPS and TDCJ, KLTV has learned Billy Dean Phillips, 37, was released from state prison in December 2020. He had just served a 15-year sentence for Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child. The conviction centered around a case involving a female under the age of 13 in Dallas County. Prior to that prison term, TDCJ records show Phillips served a separate 2-year prison sentence in September 2002 on a Controlled Substance charge (cocaine) also out of Dallas County. . . .
Both DPS and Cherokee County court records show in 2019 Pawlowski accepted a plea deal offered by the prosecutor in a case involving two counts of burglary of a habitation. The terms of the plea bargain required Pawlowski to serve 10 years of probation and pay court costs. He was also ordered not to own or possess a firearm as part of the agreement. The Cherokee County District Court confirms Pawlowski was on probation at the time of the killings.

In yesterday’s “Violence Against Women Update” we discussed what can happen when people get involved with convicted felons. But when you’re a 47-year-old man with an 18-year-old boyfriend, and your boyfriend offers to add a 20-year-old to your “relationship,” probably you wouldn’t bother to do a criminal background check on your new partner.

Does anyone else see how this relates to the media’s dishonest role in acting as publicity agents for the LGBTQ community? See, if you actually know gay people — and I majored in drama in college, OK? — the distance between reality and media-generated image is remarkable. We are expected to believe that gay people are all suffering from bigotry and discrimination. The media thus avoids reporting anything that might reflect negatively on the LGBTQ community, in the belief that such information would incite homophobia. However, media bias in favor of a particular group results in coverage that is neither fair nor accurate.

We may suppose that it never occurred to Jeff Gerla that his teenage boyfriend’s trolling on Grindr represented a deadly risk. Why would anyone suspect that gay men might be capable of violent crime? The news media go out of their way to pretend this is impossible, that membership in the LGBTQ community is synonymous with secular sainthood. So the fact that Jesse Pawlowski was on probation for burglary — and that this might be indicative of a general criminal tendency — was never even a blip on Gerla’s radar. Everybody on Grindr is awesome! Everything is always sunshine and happiness beneath the rainbow flag!

Jeff Gerla “was a people person . . . always helping others and everyone that knew him loved him,” except maybe the dude who murdered him:

Pawlowski said he went to Gerla’s home late Monday when Gerla, Clinton, Bain and Hickey were present. He texted Phillips to come to the residence to pick him up so they could steal the handgun.
Phillips and Welch arrived at the home, and Pawlowski and Clinton walked to the end of the driveway to meet Phillips and Welch. Phillips took the gun from Clinton and then shot Clinton “in the back of the head,” Pawlowski told police, according to the affidavit.
Pawlowski said he, Phillips and Welch then entered the residence. Phillips then shot Gerla, Bain and Hickey. The three men stole two shotguns from the residence, and Pawlowski said he removed the key fob for Gerla’s car from Clinton’s pocket, the affidavit stated.
Pawlowski said he drove the car from the residence and left it near a metal building in Jacksonville to try to sell it later.

No, the national media won’t report this. Wouldn’t be good for the LGBTQ community image. Too much of an “East Texas white trash” vibe, what with the teenage boyfriend, living in a trailer in mom’s backyard, the “polyamorous relationship” with a convicted burglar, and all that.

Four gay people killed in a Texas mass murder, but you won’t see this story on CNN or MSNBC, because “equality” or something.



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