Monday, May 31, 2010
Troubling Questions About Aaron Vargas
20/20 recently did a story about Aaron Vargas [pictured], who shot to death a man named Darrell McNeill who had allegedly sexually abused Vargas since he was eleven.
Vargas did not go to the police [although other alleged victims did] but went out to McNeill's trailer and shot him dead. No matter how heinous McNeill's acts, he would not have gotten the death penalty for them, but that's what he got from Vargas. [Vargas claimed that he was afraid McNeill would molest his young daughter.]
However, let me say upfront that I have little sympathy for pedophiles. I am tired of the confusion they cause in that some people mistake men who molest little boys for gay men, who are only attracted to adult males.
But here's where this case gets interesting. Vargas and McNeill apparently continued the sexual relationship long after Vargas became an adult.
A psychologist -- Dr. Michael Welner, I believe -- interviewed on the show seemed to have very little knowledge of this sort of thing, but suggested that Vargas was somehow under McNeill's sadistic control or something along those lines which is why he continued to have sex with him. Maybe.
I don't know. Maybe this is true. On the other hand I think people tend to have sex with other people they're presumably not attracted to for some kind of gain -- monetary or something.
In other words, I think 20/20 only touched the surface on this story. There's a whole lot more going on here that the program didn't reveal. The motive seems to be cut and dry: Vargas killed the man who molested him for years. Yet why now? What was the true reason behind his sudden actions?
Reporter Chris Cuomo asked Vargas about the adult sex he had with McNeill and what that might indicate about someone, and Vargas responded that you might think that someone who did that was "'a fag." [So right away we know what Vargas thinks of gay people. And sadly, maybe of himself? Self-hatred 101 anyone?] Cuomo immediately said/corrected him: "they might think you were gay." Italics mine.
One might also wonder why it was necessary to murder McNeill to supposedly keep him away from Vargas' daughter [assuming he had any interest in molesting her in the first place]? It seems Vargas could just tell the guy to stay the hell away from his home and his daughter -- I mean he had the gumption to shoot him [in front of his wife] -- and tell the child's mother to lock the door if she saw him coming.
Again let me make it clear it's not that I have sympathy for McNeill, but more that the 20/20 program raised so many red flags and other issues. Many of the citizens of Fort Bragg rallied around Vargas but I got the sensation that it wasn't so much they were glad he'd killed a molester, but that they might as well have been cheering that he'd killed a "fag," that to these conservative people there was little difference between the two. The shame for Vargas and for other boys abused isn't so much that they were victims but that they "indulged" in homoerotic activities.
That's another problem I have with predators like McNeill. They are not "gay men" but they like sex with males. But they are not part of the Out and Proud Healthy, Accepting Gay Community, but rather are closeted hypocrites who victimize children who can't defend themselves. McNeill portrayed himself as a married heterosexual pillar of the community, while he had sex with men and boys. Was it more about power than anything else? Untouched by gay liberation these sad, pathetic creatures fuck up their own lives as well as others. One man reported that his younger brother committed suicide due to McNeill's actions, or at least that was what he felt had happened.
I've no doubt that some of the boys McNeill allegedly molested were born gay. But their first homoerotic experience was not a healthy, positive, mutual one, but one of rape and molestation. One man interviewed on the program who claimed to be McNeill's victim was such a positive portrait of self-loathing that it was hard to look at him. [I wanted to say to this guy, okay, being molested by a man doesn't make you, or mean that, you're gay, but if you are gay, it's okay! Not okay to be molested, of course, but okay to be gay.] It may be possible that some heterosexual victims of male-male child abuse can become confused about their orientation -- maybe -- but I've no doubt that some gay victims may find it impossible to ever feel good about being gay.
I can't quite bring myself to cheer for Aaron Vargas, however, not only because he circumvented the justice system and prevented some of his fellow victims from getting the closure they may have gotten by seeing McNeill on trial and facing his accusers, but because I have this nagging doubt that it wasn't [or at least wasn't just] his alleged molestation that drove Vargas to murder McNeill. There's something else going on here.
We may get the answers someday, but we probably won't get them from 20/20 -- or Aaron Vargas.