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Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Groff Family Story and Blog

by @ 7:57 pm. Filed under Joe's Rants, Nonviolence, Nonviolent Communication

The family of the late Russell Groff have started a website about their son’s life and death.   The site is a blog describing the pain this family has experienced during the lawsuit with Russell’s partner Kevin Olive, who was sued by the Groff family after Kevin’s death appeared.   I won’t go into the details of that story, as I don’t know them.

What I do know, is that I wrote a post about how Peter LaBarbera was using this young man’s death and the subsequent lawsuit to further his own agenda.   I talked about the lawsuit and I asked my readers to support Kevin Olive’s legal attempts to keep his partner’s wishes.    You can read my original post here.

You will notice in my post, I mention nothing about Russell’s parents attending a gay pride event. Yet, in the article by Carolyn Groff, she accuses me of writing “stupid” comments about them attending a pride event.   To my knowledge, I have never written about these folks going to a pride event.  Carolyn Groff writes:

Your comments on the gay parade, we attended after our son died, was very stupid. You were not there, you only took the words of gay activists, who knew you would stretch the truth to fit the occasion. All you activists, just try to stir up trouble.

Again, to my knowledge, I have never written about these folks going to a pride event.   I did a search on my own blog and the years of writing for the term “Groff” and only two post show up.  The one I mention above and one where Adam mentions these folks.

I hear this mother is in pain.   I cannot even begin to imagine her pain at losing a son.   I am happy that she has found an outlet for that pain in writing.  I actually don’t mind too much that she is writing about me in negative ways if it meets her needs for attribution and release.  I do mind one comment made about me that left me feeling a little sad.

Carolyn Groff writes:

You may have a lot of writing experience, but we believe the content of your writing does not speak of very good characterization of a sensitive situation like this one.

It would seem to me, that you are a person, who doesn’t even care if he tells the truth, as with the Metro Pulse. We were slandered by this local liberal, gay newspaper.

For starters, what I hear her saying (regardless if I agree)  is that she feels dismayed reading my short article and would have liked me to be as sensitive to Russell’s family, as I was to his partner, Kevin Olive.   I also hear (again, regardless if I agree or not) that Carolyn feels angry because she believes I am someone who doesn’t care about the truth.   This saddens me as I value the truth.   I have spent many a late night writing and researching for the truth on this blog.   Find out who really said what, who really did what research listed by anti-gay advocates is peer-reviewed or validated.   My reasons for even writing this blog are because I value truth.   At anytime that I have posted something on this site that has been later revealed as incorrect, I have posted speedy retractions and apologies.    All because, Carolyn,  I very much care for the truth.

With that said, let it be said, I have no affiliation to Metro Pulse (nor am I that sure what it is but we’ll assume a paper) or have I written anything more about this family beyond my post regarding Peter LaBarbera.  I have also never had any contact with Kevin Olive.

I will invite Carolyn to contact me, I would be happy to chat with you about any concerns you may have about anything I have said or written.  Just as you have mentioned that I “…do not know the parents of this young man named Russell, you don’t realize how much pain and grief we have had to go through.” I would add you don’t know me either.

Learn more about this story, read Jeremy’s words over at G.A.Y (Good as You) as he actually knew Russell, where I did not.

UPDATE (Oct. 6, 2008)  It appears the Groff family has changed the post. A google cache version of the original can be seen here.   I have to say I am puzzled by this as I value dialogue and conversation.  I feel slightly confused what good comes from any of this as I have really been moving my life to a place where I want things to be positive and productive.   I can’t say I see these as producing anything healthy or enriching the life of anyone.   I am happy that the Groff’s have found this outlet of writing.

I am not sure how I became the target of these folks as I only wrote one article that pretty much lashed out at LaBarbera.   What I can conjure from Carolyn’s post is that she believes homosexuality is a choice we all make (it is not).  She also appears to believe we all live the same lifestyle (we don’t).   What I do hear in Carolyn’s words is pain, anger and the needs for clarity, answers and release.   I hope she finds those things and some relief from the pain she is experiencing.

UPDATE (October 16, 2008)  It appears that DL Foster has jumped onto the bandwagon of believing I have made untrue statements about the Groff Family.   The facts don’t support that, but Foster has followed that with his as usual Christian nature by saying, “his is absolutely astonishing! Joe Brummer has been spreading lies about the parents of Russell Groff, people he has never met nor talked to. Yet he slums around the internet accusing other people of lying, distorting so called science and fomenting violence. Brummer let the record reflect you are a low life scumbag to further wound and deepen the hurt of these parents by posting vicious, intentional lies about the Groffs and their deceased son. That’s evil.”

When I read DL Foster’s words calling me a “low life scum bag”, I have to say I felt curious, angry, but curious.  What goes on in Foster’s head that gives him such enemy images of me and other gays and lesbians.  He must feel strongly, one would think, to use such strong words and name calling.   As I have said before, I have been called all sorts of things in my life, some nice things and some not so nice things.   I can honestly say that I have found nothing useful in others telling me “what” they “think” I am, but in this case so be it.     I can say that anyone who would think that of me, doesn’ see me for me, but they see me for what they think I am, still not me!

UPDATE (October 23, 2008):  I see from my stats page that the Groff Family has stopped by and read this post and its follow up.  I would like to invite the Groff’s to read the rest of this site where they can learn more about me and what I stand for.  I would also invite them to contact me if they have any questions or comments.

RELATED POST:  Please take some time to read this update on my thoughts from this story.

2 Responses to “The Groff Family Story and Blog”

  1. a. mcewen Says:

    Joe, you are SO much a better man that me. My heart goes out to anyone who loses their child but what she said was totally uncalled for. You handled it with your usual dignity.

  2. Joe Brummer Says:

    Thanks A.

    I really believe the conflict is that we all see each other as enemies rather than seeing that our actions are out to meet needs. Every action we make is in the service of some human need. If we focus on the needs, we can see the human behind them. When we focus on enemy images and pain, we can’t see anything.

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