Sunday, October 9, 2011

MATTHEW SHEPARD. . . ..3 days later.. . .

Matthew Shepard: 13 Years Ago Tonight, Was Attacked, Left For Dead

by David Badash on October 6, 2011
Post image for Matthew Shepard: 13 Years Ago Tonight, Was Attacked, Left For Dead
Matthew Shepard was brutally, savagely, and fatally attacked 13 years ago tonight, possibly exactly thirteen years ago at the very moment you are reading this now. It took a battle of eleven years to get what became the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act to pass and get signed into law. Thirteen years ago, Matthew Shepard, a gay, 21 year-​old college student who stood 5′ 4″ tall, and weighed just one hundred pounds, was lured out of a bar by two men claiming to be gay. He was robbed, pistol whipped, brutally beaten and tortured, and tied to a fence like a scarecrow and left for dead until someone came by and found him in a coma eighteen hours later. (At first they thought he was a scarecrow.) Matthew died six days after his inhuman hate crime assault. His two assailants did this to Shepard because he was gay. They are now in jail. These are facts. They have been proven many times over.
Via Wikipedia:
Shepard suffered a fracture from the back of his head to the front of his right ear. He had severe brain stem damage, which affected his body’s ability to regulate heart rate, body temperature and other vital signs. There were also about a dozen small lacerations around his head, face and neck. His injuries were deemed too severe for doctors to operate. Shepard never regained consciousness and remained on full life support. As he lay in intensive care, candlelight vigils were held by the people of Laramie.”
John Aravosis at AMERICAblog reminded me of this, as he writes tonight,
He wasn’t found for nearly a day, still barely alive in the 30 degree weather, the only part of his face not covered by blood was where the tears had streamed down. The attack on Matthew, and his subsequent death a few days later, was a galvanizing moment for the gay community. It was one of only a handful of moments I can think of, in the twenty years that I’ve been out, that something changed in all of us, nationwide, at a much larger, meta level.
Within a day of hearing of the story I set up a Web site to help coordinate news about his attack. It was called Matthew Shepard Online Resources. The site, and its accompanying bulletin board, quickly became the main organizing point for our community and our allies, and for a good year it advocated for amending the US’ already existing hate crimes law to include gender, disability and sexual orientation. The Republicans blocked legislation, and it wouldn’t become law for another eleven years.
The Republicans did block legislation, and in typical GOP style, lied about the facts.
On April 30, 2009, I wrote,
The hate crimes bill that’s called the Matthew Shepard Bill is named after a very unfortunate incident that happened where a young man was killed, but we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn’t because he was gay. This – the bill was named for him, hate crimes bill was named for him, but it’s really a hoax that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills.”
So said Rep. Virginia Foxx (R –NC) yesterday in a full session of the U.S. House of Representatives, in her bid to defeat the “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009”, H.R. 1913, better known as the Matthew Shepard Act. There was one special guest in the House too: Judy Shepard, Matthew’s mother.

For Virginia Foxx to lie to the world, and to Matthew’s mother, is not only unacceptable, it is unforgivable. And it is time for Virginia Foxx to resign.
At the time, Keith Olbermann called Rep. Foxx’s statement “The most despicable thing said on the floor of the House in decades.” He goes on to say, “She is at best callous, insensitive, criminally misinformed, at worst, she is a bald-​faced liar… She is not worthy to represent this country… she is our shame.”
A few days after Foxx’s lies on the floor of the House of representatives, The New York Times wrote, “Luckily, Ms. Foxx is part of a dwindling — if still too vocal — minority. A Hart Research poll released in February 2007 found that 73 percent of those surveyed support hate-​crimes legislation that protects gays.”
In the weeks that passed, we started a group called FireFoxx, which still exists, although we’ve moved on to covering other anti-​gay haters. On May 27, 2009, I penned this letter demanding Foxx resign. She never responded.
Rep. Virginia Foxx also never fully apologized for her out-​right blatant and hate-​filled lies. Nor has she resigned. In their “wisdom,” the people of North Carolina have seen fit to re-​elect Rep. Foxx, who since has delivered even more hate and more lies to the American people.
Despite her lies, and those of other Republicans, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act passed and was signed into law five months later, almost to the day.
Sadly, Shepard endured unimaginable torture. Sadly, Matthew Shepard died, on a cross, literally, but not metaphorically. Shepard did not die for our sins, he died by the sin of others: the sin of anti-​gay hate, the sin of lack of compassion, the sin of lack of empathy, and the sin of ignorance.

 Rest in peace, Matthew Shepard.


15 comments:

Gary Kelly said...

At the time, Keith Olbermann called Rep. Foxx’s statement “The most despicable thing said on the floor of the House in decades.” He goes on to say, “She is at best callous, insensitive, criminally misinformed, at worst, she is a bald-​faced liar… She is not worthy to represent this country… she is our shame.”

I couldn't have said it better.

Stew said...

I'm sure that the people had been distracted from her record when they reelected Ms.Fox. Unfortunately, we are bombarded with so many things at election time that we all tend to forget things. I believe people should vote. Just don't vote on things that you don't know about.
As for our elected officials voting on bills, they are being paid to learn the facts and not to just go on what their peers down at the golf club are gossiping about.

RADICALJOE said...

Justin,
Didn't Jesus die, for the sake of
hatefullness of His Own People?
Pretty hard to say that Matthew Shepard died for the sake of People whom are expected to Love Him!!!
Ms Fox would be a Devil to carry on
any type of Hate. So I think we
cannot think of her as a Human Being. Human Beings are a temple of the Holy Spirit, whom she never knew of. Amen What a Beautiful Human Being Matthew is and a Saint in my Book.

J said...

The hate crimes act was primarily opposed by people who didn't see the need for such an act. The killers of Matt Shepard and James Bryd were tried under existing state laws. The Shepard family did not want prosecutors to seek the death penalty, so his two killers received two life sentences each. Despite similar opposition from one of the Byrd relatives, one of his killers has been executed, another awaits it on death row, and the third, who turned state's evidence, was given life without parole. There simply was no need for a Federal law. What is obvious to me is that this columnist has been enlisted in the effort to whip up the Democratic Party base in preparation for next year's election, which is well underway. The vehicle he uses are the rantings of a misguided congresswoman, spiced up by a quotation of a demagogue like Olbermann, who was so bad he was fired by MSNBC like Glenn Beck was at Fox.
The Hate Crimes Act was passed and signed into law two years ago. I blieve the waving of poor Matt's bloody shirt is now being used to smear all Republicans as liars and bigots, in service to the Obama Administration's desperate attempt to retain power and divert our attention from the national financial bankruptcy.

NCART said...

Unsuprisingly, J is as wilfully misinformed as Rep. Fox. Such is the rigidity of positions which do not recognize reality-ever. Roo many of them still roam the world.

MCArt said...

Ignorance and closed minded bigotry make for dangerous elected officials. Calculated use of those gifts seem to work well for Rep. Virginia Fox but not for decent society.

jimm said...

The republicans are being 'smeared' as bigots? Why don't they stand up for the rights of all Americans?

Gary Kelly said...

No fair minded person would believe that all Republicans are liars and bigots. The problem is that some of them are. And you can't blame the Dems for targeting the opposition's weakest links.

I'm not all that familiar with the US political scene but, so far, I've not heard of any Democrats accused of bigotry.

J said...

You're right, Gary, that Democrats are entitled to trumpet the Republicans' weakest link, which has always been the so-called Christian Right. I can't stand those people, and it pains me to see our national candidates cater to them. But they have a way of marginalizing themselves. The latest is when a prominent supporter of Perry called Romney and the Mormons members of a cult. Fact is, all religions started as cults and stayed that way until they got old and established enough for sane people to accept their crazy "holy" books as the revealed word of god. This year the Republicans as a whole are acutely aware of the need to nominate someone who is electable and will beat Obama, and they are now coalesing around Romney. He is being pilloried because of his religion just as Jack Kennedy and Al Smith were condemned because of their Roman Catholicism. I would have preferred Chris Christie, but have decided to back Romney because Christie isn't running and Romney is a proven manager, which this country desperately needs. I wince whenever Romney throws out some red meat to the Christers, but the last thing gays should become is a single issue claque that votes with its heart or groin rather than its head. There is only one compelling issue in this election, and that is the economy. When it comes to fiscal policies, democracies are too undisciplined to refuse their interest groups. We do need a balanced budget amendment, and a period of profound austerity, to keep our becoming another Greece, and we will never get that from the "spread the wealth around" Democrats. If we don't do this America will kill itself as a nation.

Coop said...

I'm very happy with the way Perry has been nose-diving in the polls lately. All those jobs to illegal immigrants. I think people need to vote for issues... not the political parties. I'm beginning to wonder if politicians give themselves lobotomies so so-called party leaders can run their lives.

Hate crime laws still make no sense to me. What happened to Matthew Shepard was wrong. It didn't matter if he was attacked for being gay, if he was robbed, or if he was wearing a New York Jets jersey. Why does society need a special law for that? We shouldn't. {:
Every once inawhile the death penalty starts to look attractive. This is one of those times.
I admire Matthew's parents.
And yeah... if those idiots just wanted to rob him why did they tie him to a fence? Huh??

JustinO'Shea said...

Yep. . .and why did they pistol-whip and bash his skull?

Cruising in a bar, a public place can often be risky and dangerous. . .seems to me. . . particularly if you are a "groupie". . .two or three are harder to deal with. . .so I've heard. . .

JustinO'Shea said...

Yepper. . .at election time we tend to forget too many things. . or convince ourselves "it will be different this time". . .yepper, and sign into more insanity.

As for remembering what happened to that c-sucking queer kid. . "shouldn't been doing that anyway", tsk...tsk...tsk. ."f--ing low-life!"

Coop said...

His face was covered in blood except where the tears left their mark...
I never knew that until today. And that's what provoked my thoughts about the death penalty.
How could anyone make a person suffer that much?

God has way more compassion than Coops.

Gary Kelly said...

The only good thing about the death penalty for criminals is that it's cheaper than keeping them locked up and fed.

Otherwise, it doesn't make sense to me to put human trash out of its misery.

Coop said...

If I make it to heaven I'll invite Matthew for a coffee or a drink.

I've been in Laramie more than once. The university of Wyoming dominates the town. Drive too far West and there's NOTHING. I can't shake that scenery when I think of this tragedy.