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By Marcus A. Scott

A Southhampton, New York, man is being held without bail after beating his girlfriend’s 17-month-old son to death on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation outside of the Riverside area in Long Island, NY. He is being charged with first-degree manslaughter.

Pedro Jones pleaded not guilty on Monday afternoon in Southampton Town Justice Court after he was accused of striking the toddler Sunday night while babysitting, according to the website for radio station in Vermont.

The child went into cardiac arrest, police said. According to WABC in New York, Jones punched toddler Roy A. Jones to death, noting that he was “trying to make him act like a boy instead of a little girl.” Police were alerted and called to the scene at Old Point Road East in Southampton around 8:25 p.m.

Jones allegedly admitted to the crime while being handcuffed and led away from the New York State police barracks, noting that he loved the tiny tot and “never struck that kid that hard before. A one-time mistake and I am going to do 20 years,” said Jones.

Jones who claimed he planned to marry the toddler’s mother, a member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, lived at the house with the child. At dusk, early Sunday night, the child had already gone into cardiac arrest before another source dialed 911 according WABC-TV in New York. The child was limp by the time the flash of crimson and blue police lights flashed outside of his Southampton home.

According to ABC news in New York, Jones was not related to the child that shared his surname. Police reports claim he struck the child with a closed fist and grabbed the toddler by the neck, in an effort to “toughen” him up.

Like many in his situation, Jones noted he did not mean to do the crime, however many aren’t buying the act.

On the reservation, many appeared at Jones’ arraignment. A person spit at him. The victim’s grandmother lashed out at Jones and told him, “I hope you rot in hell.”

According to WABC-TV, authorities said that Jones may face additional charges, possibly a hate crime charge.

These kinds of acts involving hyper-masculinity have many critics and pundits talking lately. Hate crimes against homosexuals are on the rise. According to FBI hate crime statistics, several law enforcement agencies noted that there was a hike in hate crime offenses on the foundation of sexual-orientation partiality in 2007. Outlets reported that over 1,460 hate crime offenses were reported, an increase from 1,415 the previous year. Among them, there was a 58.6 percent predisposition for anti-male homosexual transgressions, even in minority communities.

Why are these types of murders, prompted by the promotion of machismo, becoming a growing trend among young black and Latino men?

In November, 19-year-old Jorge Steven López’s gruesome fatality—that included decapitation, dismemberment and burning —wasn’t a wake up call for the general public. CNN reported that 26-year-old Juan A. Martínez Matos killed López in a “gay panic” on Nov. 13, dumping the teen’s body roadside. Martinez said he was looking for a prostitute and that the teen had presented himself as female at the time of the murder.

Vigils followed the discovery of his body which was found outside of a Ponce, Puerto Rico motel and Martinez confessed to the crime and was sentenced to 99 years in a prison psychiatric ward.

According to the Massachusetts 2006 Youth Risk Survey, bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender and questioning youth are up to four times more prone to attempt suicide than their heterosexual age group.

“Family Rejection as a Predictor of Negative Health Outcomes,” a 2009 study, noted that the 2006 statistic doubles with adolescents who were discarded and abandoned by their families. These adolescents were 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide.

Jaheem Herrera, 11, of DeKalb County, was the victim of anti-gay bullying and committed suicide in April 2009. His death occurred around the same time as another young boy, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, 11, of Springfield, Massachusetts, who committed suicide not long after intense anti-gay taunting every day at school.

WAMC reports that the victim’s grandfather, Daniel Collins Sr., blames Pedro Jones for the crime that resulted in the death of the 17-month-old toddler.

“An idiot infiltrated my family, grew our trust, through the heart of a child. And I hope the justice system turns around and steals his,” said Collins.

What can we do to stop these acts before it becomes a paint-by-numbers hazing game?

Maybe we should implement classes in public schools that showcase men and women who have gone above and beyond in advancing civil rights for oppressed groups–including those who suffer discrimination from gender bias? Maybe we should encourage our male youth to embrace differences instead of machismo?

That is, unless we’re content with the murders of several innocents.

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