Monday, October 6, 2008

Matthew Shepard, it's been 10 years

"Ten years after his brutal murder, those who knew him best -- and those who learned of him only at the end -- remember that week in October and reflect on the legacy of Matthew Shepard.

On Wednesday, October 7, 1998, Matthew Shepard was found tied to a fence on the Wyoming prairie, barely alive, his skull fractured and his brain stem crushed. Comatose, he was taken first to a Laramie hospital, then to a better-equipped one in Fort Collins, Colo., where he died five days later. We may never know what his killers, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, intended to do when they first approached Shepard at Laramie’s Fireside Lounge. We only know that, whatever their intention, they ended up murdering him.

Almost instantly, his death became a flash point in this country’s reckoning with gay people, and the cute, clean-cut 21-year-old became a symbol of the ravages of intolerance. The tragedy sparked vigils around the world and led to federal hate-crimes legislation that bears Shepard’s name, currently pending in Congress. (Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has promised to sign the bill if elected.)

Shepard’s impact can also be felt in the work of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, headed by his mother, Judy, whom we spoke with for the following oral history -- along with friends and Laramie residents; the police chief who oversaw the investigation into the murder; and artists influenced by that tumultuous week."

Click here to read more of this article from The Advocate.

Another good article - "FBI hate crimes report: disturbing trends against Hispanics and gays."

Where McCain & Obama stand on gay-marriage (Associated Press)


EastCoastLife said...

I watched this crime on a TV program. It was horrific.

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi EastCoastLife,

Yes, it was an extream case. Things are changing because of it. A new law has been accepted by some states that carry a more severe punishment for hate crimes. I hope that one day all the states will accept the law.

Deb said...

This story still haunts me. Terrible.

meleah rebeccah said...

just ONE MORE reason to vote for Obama.

hate crimes make me sick to my stomach.

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi Doc. Deb,

It's difficult to comprehend on several levels.

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi meleah rebeccah,

But Sarah might get mad at you. ;o)

Tracy said...

It does not seem like 10 years has passed since this horrible crime took place.

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi Tracy,

No it doesn't seem that long. I'm glad that they got the boys who did it.

WannabeMommy said...

Ugh... such a horrific crime; unbelievable that such a thing could still take place in this day and age.

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi WannabeMommy,


It's insane! How could they do that to another human? Unless they didn't see him as human. ?

meleah rebeccah said...


Debo Hobo said...

It is insane that something like this happened. As sickening as it was, in a way it had to happen to open peoples eyes to gay bashing and to make it known to folks that it happens and that it will not be swept under the rug. It is too bad the message had to be sent to the ignorant in such a tragic way. We as a people very rarely take action until a tragedy occurs. We most often have to be scared into action in order to take action.

I'm sure he never set out that day intending to be a martyr, but he is and should never be forgotten.

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi Debo Hobo,

Well said!

Old Crone said...

I can't believe it's been ten years, wow. I was in Laramie WY the weekend after it happened, with my cousin and her GF to see a football game at the university. I don't think they had found him yet even.

That was one of the most horrific things I've ever experienced, being in WY at that time.

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi Old Crone,


Wait a minute. Old Crone? Hey, we're about the same age. LOL!

How horrible. It must have been all over the newspapers.