Rick -- I read your earlier response to the messages posted on this board regarding the late October Halloween incident aboard RCCL's Monarch of the Seas, and was a bit disturbed. The folks who made the original posts had DONE their research into the incident that took place. They have no "agenda" against RCCL. The use of that word, actually, infuriates me because of what did take place aboard this vessel and how it was handled and is still being handled by both RCCL and the US FBI, which unfortunately is limited in prosecuting because there is no federal hate crimes law that protects people on the basis of sexual orientation.
The folks involved in the attack as victims, who are the ones who personally brought light to the incidents originally, are well respected inside of the field. They are veteran cruisers and certainly not rumor spreading trouble-makers.
A violent attack did indeed take place, not once, but TWICE aboard that ship -- the incident has now been reported in three major publications that serve the gay community in Seattle (Seattle Gay Times), Express Gay News and in Washington DC (Washington Blade).
These are not small time, propoganda newspapers (though, they do of course carry a heavy liberal slant on the news) but major publications with distributions covering the entire metro areas of Seattle, Florida and Washington DC, Northern VA and MD. In other words, they are news sources that can be trusted in terms of fact verification and real news reporting. And, being an individual with plenty of broadcast journalism experience, I believe I am at least somewhat in a position to make that claim.
If you would like a detailed account of the incident, I would suggest visiting the following link:
Now, onto my personal feelings on the topic...
The gay media *is* turning this into an event that appears to be negligance aimed at the gay community. Turn a blind eye on the gay victim that was attacked, but help out the straight ones?
If any of these "reporters" had bothered to research the history of the cruise industry, they would see it littered with reports from MAJOR news sources that are readily available (IE, New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, etc.) detailing numerous (we're talking HUNDREDS) incidents of violent attacks, assaults, etc., on cruise line passengers who were straight or gay.
And, in each of the cases being reported, the cruise line in question (whether it be RCCL, Carnival or whoever) did virtually nothing to aid the victim. In fact, one story I read regarding an assault that took place involved the cruise line attempting to persuade through threat of embarassment not to press charges.
So, while everyone on these boards is certainly correct in stating that something unjust has taken place here, it is not just an assault on the rights of those in the gay community. It is an assault on the rights on any passenger aboard a cruise ship, which is just as alarming; though, it may relax some to know that gays don't appear to be getting singled out in any way.
The only thing that gay folks should be fighting is the fact that the FBI doesn't have the power they need from the federal government in this country to go after these attackers because of the lack of hate crime bills. If it weren't for the lack of laws, those attackers on the cruise, who TWICE assaulted others causing serious injury, would be in jail right now or very soon.
Might I suggest the following link for more reading on all of these reported incidents over the years involving passengers:
I hope this helps everyone make an educated decision :-)