SDGLN exclusive report
EVANSTON, Illinois – “Eddie 777,” the author of rambling and threatening hand-written letters sent to at least two gay-owned businesses in San Diego, has now gone after a wedding minister in the Chicago suburbs and apparently a gay bar in West Hollywood, California.
San Diego Gay & Lesbian News broke this story on June 24, days before local television stations and other media picked it up.
The Rev. Marian Hale, known in the Chicago area as one of the first ministers to perform same-sex weddings long before they became legal this year in Illinois, told SDGLN that she too got a lengthy letter from Eddie 777 in June, about the same time that Baja Betty’s and Flicks got their homophobic letters.
The envelope containing the letter was hand-written and sent to her home address, complete with the full nine numerals of her ZIP code. She found that troubling, since she does not include her home address on any of her print or online information showing that she is an interfaith wedding minister who caters to all people, gay and straight, who want to marry.
The Rev. Hale does not mince words when asked what she thinks about this threat. “I’m pissed off, man!” she said, forcefully.
But the kindly minister, who prefers to be known as "Rev. Marian" and describes herself as a senior citizen, said she also put herself in Eddie 777’s shoes, showing a tiny bit of compassion.
“I’m feeling a little sorry for him,” said Rev. Marian, who thoroughly enjoys the unbridled joy associated with the weddings of loving couples. “The world is changing and leaving him behind. He is probably feeling lost right now, and is angry and acting out.”
For the record, it is not known if "Eddie 777" is male or female, although the signature of "ED" seems to indicate the author is a man.
Rev. Marian contacted the Evanston Police Department, and said they treated the situation with care and concern. But she came away a little disappointed when she was told that there was little they could do about the threatening letter. “They kind of put the ball in my court,” she said. “They told me to carefully watch my mail, and if a similar envelope came in, not touch it with my fingers and to put it in a plastic bag and bring it in to the police station.”
Staff at Baja Betty’s and Flicks contacted San Diego police, and got similar treatment. All of the victims seem to think that police are not too concerned about the threats spelled out in the letters.
The minister also contacted the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
Mark Pitcavage, the Ohio-based director of investigative research for the ADL, told SDGLN that he is taking the matter seriously. While investigating the Illinois incident, he discovered SDGLN’s reporting on the San Diego hate letters and contacted us for more information. He talked off the record with SDGLN and said he could only speculate at this time about whether this was an individual or a group behind the letters.
In our own investigation, SDGLN has learned that Mickey’s gay bar in West Hollywood, California has apparently received a similar letter. Mickey’s has not yet confirmed that with SDGLN, despite receiving two emails seeking comment. Mickey's is mentioned in the San Diego letters, as if "Eddie 777" was copying from another letter that was sent to Mickey's. The two San Diego letters and the one sent to the minister are almost identical in nature, down to copies of memeographed pages written to "Dear my brother and sister Christian" and signed by "ED" and memeographed "Biblical Verses (about Israel people. These verses written by St. Paul. Topic, DEATH from rejecting God Yahweh."
By talking with the ADL and examining the letters, SDGLN is noticing some common patterns. The letters are long, rambling, anti-gay, homophobic and threatening, and the tone is both polite and angry. The fact that each letter is handwritten seems to indicate that "Eddie 777" has a whole lot of free time, and that the author appears uncomfortable with typewriters or computers. This could indicate that the author is older, more rigid in a belief system, and unwilling to embrace a world that is rapidly changing on social issues, especially concerning LGBT rights in the U.S.
The self-description as “Eddie 777 Servant and messenger of the God Yahweh” could also be an identifying factor, perhaps suggesting a cult religion or a fringe faith group such as the Sacred Name movement within the Church of God (Seventh-Day). "Eddie 777" makes several references to the Sabbath being on Saturday, which is common with the Sacred Name movement that has embraced a number of ancient Jewish traditions.
Rev. Marian thinks "Eddie 777" is intelligent, based on the vocabulary used in the letters, but she and other victims remain concerned about the possibility of mental health issues.
“I think it’s going to be a long, hot summer,” the minister said, due to the dozens of court victories for the LGBT community. “I think it’s bringing out the haters. They’ve been hiding their anger for a long time, and I worry that it’s going to spill over before too long.”
And because "Eddie 777" has expanded his reach beyond California, and is starting to get some media attention, the minister wonders what the next step will be?
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Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.