[oasis][columns]

'Secret Admirer' gunman getting away with murder

by Kevyn Jacobs
July 1996

It's one thing to blow off someone you aren't interested in. It's quite another to blow them away.

That's exactly what happened to Scott Amedure March 9, 1995. He was blown away -- shot twice in the chest at point-blank range by a man he had a crush on.

Amedure, and the object of his affections, John Schmitz, had both appeared on the "Jenny Jones Show" three days earlier. The topic of the talk show that day was "Secret Admirers."

Schmitz didn't know about Amedure's affections when he agreed to be on the show. "Jenny Jones" producers told him he would meet his secret admirer during the taping, but they never told him the gender of his admirer. Apparently, heterosexism had led Schmitz to believe that the admirer was a woman.

Schmitz maintained his composure when it was revealed to him during the taping that his admirer was a man. Embarrassed, he said that he was heterosexual, and in no way interested in Amedure.

Fair enough. That is the proper way to behave when you are the object of unwanted affections -- you politely tell the person, "Thank you, but I'm not interested." That should be the end of the story.

Unfortunately, it wasn't. Three days later, Amedure lay dead, and Schmitz confessed to the murder.

Schmitz's lawyer said Schmitz did it because of embarrassment and public humiliation. Apparently, the lawyer is expecting a jury will go easy on Schmitz because they will sympathize with his humiliation.

Public humiliation? Because someone found you attractive? Come on. Embarrassed, sure, maybe even a little uncomfortable. But embarrassed enough to murder?

What is even more interesting is the media's response to this whole mess.

Headline after headline took aim at "The Jenny Jones Show," and editorial columnists asked the question, 'Have Talk Shows Gone Too Far In Their Quest For Ratings?'

In all the hubbub about how far "Jenny Jones" went, everyone seems to have forgotten about the real issue here -- a man lay dead because he told the truth, and a lot of people seem to think the murderer's motives were understandable.

Give me a break! "Jenny Jones" wasn't out of line here -- Schmitz was. "Secret Admirers" is a pretty tame subject compared to most I've seen on daytime talk shows.

The truth is, there is a big dose of heterosexism at work here. There seems to be an message of, "It's OK to hate gays."

Straight men seem to have the inexcusable attitude of, "if a man hits on me, and I'm not interested, it's OK to get violent."

Of course, if women took that attitude, there would be a lot of dead straight men.

Let me illustrate how ridiculous this notion of "It's OK to get violent when a gay man shows attraction" really is. Lets rewrite the show, and instead of Schmitz's secret admirer being a male, let's make the secret admirer an African-American woman.

Schmitz is not interested, and says so. But he's embarrassed and humiliated that a non-white woman would dare be interested in him. And three days later, that woman lay dead at his hands because she humiliated him.

Would the media be screaming about "How Far Will The Talk Shows Go For Ratings?" Would there be a kind of sympathy for Schmitz, widespread understanding how awful he must have felt, even if the murder itself was reprehensible?

NO WAY! He'd be labeled a racist, and no one would be looking at the talk show for a scapegoat.

So why isn't the media calling Schmitz a homophobe? Why is it that only homosexual columnists like myself are questioning the heterosexism, instead of the irrelevant tackiness of talk shows?

This just goes to show the level of heterosexism in this culture. Gays and lesbians in this country are still an acceptable group to be bigoted toward. People understand Schmitz's motives -- even if they find his actions unconscionable.

It is, unfortunately, still very acceptable for males in this culture to get offended and upset -- often to the point of violence -- when another male shows an interest in them.

Men haven't learned to politely say no.

Maybe it's just that the guys don't like experiencing what women have experienced for a long, long time -- being the object of unwanted affection.

In any case, "The Jenny Jones Show" and Scott Amedure didn't do anything wrong.

John Schmitz did.

This article was originally published on Monday, March 27, 1995.


Kevyn Jacobs is a sophomore in art at Kansas State University. From January to December 1995, Jacobs wrote a queer-themed column in the Kansas State Collegian. The columns are being reprinted in Oasis in chronological order with permission of the author.
©1996 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.