Steve's Soapbox

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Domestic Bullies & Terrorists ? "Kharma is something" !

Accused eBay Bully Allegedly Terrorizes Online Users

Station Investigates Threats, Calls

UPDATED: 1:11 pm EST November 8, 2005
SAN DIEGO -- Some consumers are discovering that when they bid on eBay, they're opening a portal to problems.
Tina Schimke and her husband, Dwayne, began having trouble with eBay when they placed a bid on a bike from what looked to be a legitimate seller, San Diego television station KGTV reported.
"He had quite an ad on the site -- it had lots of bikes. I admit, I didn't completely read the ad," Tina Schimke said.
When the Schimkes e-mailed back with a question about the shipping cost, the seller allegedly blasted them with a nasty e-mail.
"As soon as he got my e-mail, he was pounding the keyboard and venting," Tina Schimke said.
The anger didn't stop there, she said.
The seller allegedly left her a message that said, "Hey there, schmuck boy -- not answering the phone now?"
The alleged eBay bully was on a roll.
"I know exactly where you f---ing live. E-mail me again and see what happens to your little b---- a--," the accused bully said in the message.
"I was afraid this person was a maniac and was going to show up on our front door," Tina Schimke told the station.
The Schimkes aren't alone. This eBay bully had struck before, the station said.
He allegedly called the Burleson household 37 times.
Cindy Burleson and her daughter, both from Dallas, were also hammered over their questions about comic books the man was selling.
Cindy Burleson said the accused bully threatened her life.
"(He said,) 'I'm going to kill you. Scumbags like you shouldn't be allowed to live.' (He said) stuff like that," Burleson said.
These women and the Schimkes filed police reports but got no results.
So, the station went looking for the accused eBay bully and tracked him to a home in Cleburne, Texas, near Fort Worth, Texas. It's not only where he lives, but also where he does business.
Frank Esquitin, the name of the alleged eBay bully, also goes by the following eBay aliases: Old School Riderz, Cool Cat Cycles and Cool Cat Biker, the station reported.
He's been arrested on charges related to drugs, weapons violations and harassment, police records show.
A Dallas TV station tried to get a response from Esquitin, but no one answered his door.
Esquitin later told KGTV by phone that his accusers are deadbeats and sociopaths. He said that if he threatened them, they must have threatened him first.
Despite complaints, Esquitin is still on eBay.
The company said it assumes no responsibility for any encounters outside its Web site.
"I think I'll use eBay again, but I'll hesitate," Tina Schimke said.
Burleson and her daughter said they will tread more carefully after their experience with the alleged eBay bully.
"We were terrorized. He terrorized us. If he wanted to terrorize us, it worked," Burleson said.
10 Tips For Surviving eBay, from "eBay For Dummies."
Don't exchange personal information.
Read all of the information about the seller.
Verify recommendations from other buyers.
Read all of the information about the listing.
Be patient. Allow sellers to respond to your question.
Let eBay know if you receive racist, obscene or harassing language.
Report invalid e-mail addresses.
Tell eBay if you start receiving spam after a transaction.
Tell eBay if someone tries to intimidate you by threatening to post negative feedback about you.
Beware of anyone asking for your passwords to eBay or PayPal.
Posted on Tue, Nov. 08, 2005

Gay-bashing turns deadly, attacker slain

Lucas Dawson had just returned from an audition for "American Idol," and planned to tell his friends all about his experience on Oct. 29.
But while walking to the bus stop to catch a ride downtown, around 10:30 that Saturday evening, Dawson ran into four teenagers less than one block from his East Mount Airy home.
"They started calling him 'faggot,' saying 'You're gay,' stuff like that," said David Dawson, Lucas' stepfather.
Lucas Dawson crossed the street, near Upsal and Musgrave, to avoid trouble, but he later told his family, the group threw a basketball at him, rushed him, and started pummeling him.
"One of them punched him in the mouth," David Dawson said. "They knocked him to the ground. They kicked him. They stomped him. They called him faggot."
Dawson, 21, of Upsal Street near Magnolia, managed to get to his feet, and he pulled out a small pocket knife. He waved it at the crowd a few times, David Dawson said, trying to push them back.
Then, he ran.
Gerald Knight, 17, allegedly followed and then reached out to grab Dawson, who still had the knife in his hand.
During the ensuing struggle, Dawson plunged the knife into Knight's chest.
Knight, of Hortter Street near Chew Avenue, died at Einstein Medical Center less than an hour later, police said.
Dawson, an aspiring singer and performer, faces a preliminary hearing today on voluntary manslaughter charges in the slaying. He plans to plead not guilty, his family said.
"There is nothing else to plead here," said Lisa Dawson, Lucas' mother. "Four guys attacked him... You're going to do whatever you have to to protect yourself."
Lucas Dawson spent last week at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility because his family has been unable to raise the $30,000 for his bail.
"Because somebody died, I can understand he might have to do some jail time," David Dawson said. "But at the same time, let the truth be told about what really happened."
David Dawson believes his stepson is the victim of a hate crime.
"That's always been my biggest fear," Lisa Dawson said. "That someone would attack him just because he is gay."
Knight's family declined to comment.
The day before the attack, Lucas Dawson had performed in front of the American Idol judges. He was cut after the third round.
"He and Randy (Jackson) got into a little argument over something," Lisa Dawson said. "But it was all just show business."
Lucas, who temps as a clerical worker, dreams of performing, his mother said. After attending Lincoln High School and graduating through the Job Corps program, he attended modelling school in Philadelphia.
He told his family he was gay nearly four years ago.
On the night after the audition, he regaled his family with tales of his brush with fame during dinner, then changed into a pair of slim-fitting jeans, a T-shirt and leather jacket, and dashed off to meet friends.
Within 15 minutes, his mother said, Lucas, bloodied and frantic, had returned to the house through the back door.
"I think I cut one of them," Lucas told his family.
One of the other teens told him, "Now we're going to have to shoot you."
Lisa Dawson said that even if the charges are dropped, she fears for her son's safety.
"I don't feel like he can come back home," she said. "There are three people out there who already made a threat."
Their East Mount Airy neighborhood, where they have lived for seven years, is full of long-time residents, many of whom know each other, some of whom are related.
"Its pretty much a good neighborhood," David Dawson said. "You hear about stuff happening but not around here."
Since word of the killing spread, Lisa Dawson said that she has received numerous calls of support.
"Lucas is a really positive person," she said. "No one believes that he did this."
Friends have been stopping by and donating money for his defense. One friend said she didn't have any cash, but she would bake pies to sell as fund-raisers.
Meanwhile, Lucas, who faces 30 years in prison if convicted, is waiting.
"He's scared to death," said David Dawson. "But he's more hurt by the fact that he killed somebody."
"Kharma is something," he added. "Because if they had just let him go on his way and get on that bus, none of this would have happened."
Posted on Thu, Nov. 10, 2005

Gay man freed in killing


LUCAS Dawson began carrying a knife after being attacked while kissing his male lover in a South Philadelphia Park four years ago.
Now, after a second assault by gay bashers - one of whom he killed in self-defense - Dawson's thinking about getting a gun.
The 21-year-old was cleared yesterday of charges in the fatal stabbing of a 17-year-old boy who was among a group that attacked him near his East Mount Airy home on Oct. 29.
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