A passer-by found Matthew Shepard, a 22-year-old political science major,
bloody and unconscious Wednesday evening a mile northeast of Laramie. His
skull had been smashed with a blunt object.
The man who found Shepard at first thought he was a scarecrow or dummy
because of the way he was positioned on the fence, police Cmdr. Dave
I know a lot of people--gay and straight--in Laramie and in the state of
Wyoming who are walking around in shock that such a thing has occurred.
To right-wing zealots who insist that homosexuality is bad and wrong, I say,
"See what your words have wrought." The constant message of hate seeps into
people's brains and encourages them to act at the most base level that
humans are capable of. It enables them to dehumanize people in the
particular class being characterized as bad, whether it is gays and
lesbians, people of color, or people seen as different from the norm in
other ways. Jesus taught a lesson of love for all including and especially
It is ironic that this sad event occurred so close to national coming out
day, a time for gays and lesbians to take the next step in coming out in
their lives. Harvey Milk, another martyred gay man, encouraged gays to come
out in every area of their lives to raise people's awareness. Gays and
lesbians aren't depraved perverts wandering around the streets of America
seeking to seduce the young or sodomize the straights. We are the people
working at the bank, in the university, driving truck, teaching school,
flipping burgers, etc. etc. We have and care for children, we have pets, we
love our families. The more you know us, the more you will realize how
average we are. Yet the more we are terrorized, the more being ourselves
threatens others, the more we will be forced to hide, to go underground for
fear of being the next victim. As we can see, this is not a baseless fear.
I welcome any questions or comments.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln alternative crops research technician
Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society western organizer
High Plains Ag Lab
3257 Rd. 109
Sidney, NE 69162
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