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June 15th, 2024

Pulse And Disney Pride

On June 12, 2016, a madman hopped up on religious zealotry and armed with a military assault style rifle, a nine millimeter handgun and multiple clips full of military grade ammunition entered the Pulse nightclub, a gay discothèque, killed 49 people and was himself killed by the police. Statements the perpetrator made during the attack indicated it was in retaliation for US bombings in the middle east, but his singling out a gay nightclub for the attack cannot be swept under the carpet as coincidence or simply due to the venue’s alleged lack of security (there was a security guard stationed at the front door, whom the attacker evaded by going in a side door). The man was said to have been angered by the sight of a gay male couple holding hands, and his own father had taunted him homophobically. There is no doubt in my mind, and in the community at large, that homophobia played a decisive role in the attack, regardless of his other motivations.

I had to resist the urge to call my former high school crush just to make sure he was okay. This was only a few months after his family found out he was talking with me again and the notice came down not to contact him in any way shape or form (how do you contact someone with a shape?). I’ve often wondered if he worried that I might have been there, because I visited Orlando often, mostly to go to Disney World, or how I was feeling when I heard the news. But the next day I posted my thoughts on it on this blog, which he always insisted that he never reads, so he would have known.

I’d previously scheduled a July 4th vacation at Disney World, so I was there just a few weeks after the attack. I couldn’t do Gay Days that year because of the schedule at work, but federal holidays were usually good times to request vacation. Driving into the city that week I saw billboards everywhere expressing grief and solidarity with the LGBT community. The entire city seemed to be in shock.

It changed everything.

Before this Disney was keeping Gay Days at arm’s length, and whenever the usual suspects started bellyaching about it they’d say they’re in the hospitality business and everyone is welcome. When I was there after the attack I was wearing my rainbow Mickey pin. It wasn’t the actual Pride rainbow, it was the Peace Rainbow that some United Nations group created. But it was close enough to the Pride rainbow that lots of us wore in in the parks during Gay Days and everyone knew what it was supposed to signify. As I wandered inside the parks every now and then a Cast Member would notice the pin and start a conversation with me about what happened at Pulse. It seemed everyone had to talk about it, because they were all in shock. We were a community in shock.

And so I heard the stories…horrible, horrible stories. And I am certain all that shock and horror went all the way from the cast members and vendors and managers to the boardroom. Because they would all have had family, friends, co-workers, who they were frightened for that night.

The commercial media does a really bad job of explaining to the rest of the country the venomous hate directed at us. Because that would be taking sides in what the media boardrooms regard as a partisan argument, and anyway in that mindset we’re still a perversion best left unspoken of during family time. That day everyone in the country saw the hate for what it was, but especially the people of central Florida. And it wasn’t just that the people who died either were, or could easily have been, a family member, a friend, a co-worker, they saw all the gleeful contempt for the dead and wounded afterward by local preachers and republican pundits and politicians. Some publicly expressed regret they weren’t all killed that night. They saw the right wing politicians that kept insisting that regardless of what happened, the homosexual menace had to be fought for the sake of god and family. And in that one moment they saw, clearly saw, all of them for what they were.

And all that corporate keeping us at arm’s length changed decisively afterward.

A year later on the anniversary, at the end of the day in Magic Kingdom, they turned the lights off of Cinderella’s castle and had a 49 second moment of silence for the victims. The year after that an entire line of actual Pride rainbow merchandise appeared.

This year, DeSantis ordered all the bridges in Florida to only display red, white, and blue lights from the end of May to the middle of July, allegedly to salute our veterans. Hahahaha…no. Notice how his order blocks out the entire month of June, not July. It was to prevent displays of the Pride rainbow. The people see you Ron. And you republicans in the Florida statehouse. We saw all of you on the night of June 12, 2016. And in the days that followed.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) – Walt Disney Company is donating $1 million to a fund established by Orlando officials to help people affected by the nightclub shooting.

Disney officials also said they would match dollar-for-dollar individual contributions by the company’s employees to the OneOrlando fund, established by Mayor Buddy Dyer following Sunday’s shooting that killed 49 people and wounded 53 others.

Disney has about 74,000 employees in the Orlando area, which is home to its Walt Disney World resort. Disney also lost an employee, or Cast Member, in the shooting. The name of Jerald Arthur Wright, 31, was added to the victims list on Monday.

“We mourn the loss of one of our own Cast Members, Jerry Wright, as well as others within our extended Disney family, and we offer our most heartfelt condolences to their families, friends and loved ones as well as all who were affected by yesterday’s senseless acts,” said George A. Kalogridis, President of Walt Disney World Resort.

The FBI’s director has said the agency is trying to determine whether the Orlando nightclub shooter had recently scouted Walt Disney World and other locations as potential targets.

by Bruce | Link | React!

November 21st, 2022

Active Shooter – Active Resistance

The BBC reports

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said one patron grabbed the attacker’s own gun and hit him with it during the shooting in Club Q on Saturday night.

Another club-goer reportedly helped to keep the gunman pinned down until police arrived.

The gunman killed five people and injured 25 more before being arrested.

The suspect, named by police as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, is now in police custody.

I think something changed, similar to what changed after 9/11, in that passengers are lots more willing fight back now. The old advice to just remain calm and don’t do anything that might provoke the hijackers really doesn’t apply anymore. Since the Pulse massacre probably something like the same effect is happening in our spaces. And given the stereotypes people buy into about us, I’m wondering how surprised this shooter was that he ended up pinned to the floor getting beaten with his own gun.

I’m hearing calls now for the community to arm itself and while I’ve no trouble with people doing that so long as they’re willing to accept the responsibility, I really don’t think places that serve alcohol and guns are a good mix. But there is something else that I could wish some group on the level of ACT-UP or GLAAD might step up and do and that is offer the community training on what to do in an active shooter situation.

The Institute gave us that training and I would strongly recommend it to all of us in the community. But it costs money to bring someone who knows the subject to come and teach it to groups of us. Someone with deep pockets should step up.

by Bruce | Link | React!

June 18th, 2022

How To Turn Blood Into Votes

Anti-LGBTQ threats, fueled by internet’s far right ‘machine,’ shut down trans rights and drag events

Inundated with threats during Pride Month, LGBTQ+ rights advocates and allies have been forced to cancel events and involve local law enforcement authorities after a group of white nationalists were arrested outside a Pride event in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho.

You could say this is nothing new because the republican machine has been ginning up fear and hatred of gay people to drive their base to the polls, ever since Anita Bryant showed them back in 1977 how well it worked. I have examples of republican hate pamphlets mailed out in critical races and swing states for almost every election cycle since the 90s.



What’s different now is the overt threat of violence, coming against a background of multiple mass shootings in recent years, the violent January 6 storming of the United States Capitol, and a president of the United States that didn’t merely condone political violence, but actively employed it. And he had every reason to believe he could get away with it, because he did it all throughout his campaign in 2016 and instead of rejecting him republican voters flocked to him and he won. With Donald Trump a Rubicon was crossed.

Now we have open carry laws in states already deeply hostile toward LGBT Americans. Now we have mass shootings in places of work, churches, grocery stores, elementary schools. Now we have republican state governors and legislators openly inciting religious and social passions against us, and writing laws allegedly to protect children from us, threatening businesses that treat us with respect, calling out everyone who opposes their hate-mongering as “groomers” and pedophiles, all deliberately calculated to incite fear and hatred toward us. For votes. There is no other reason.

Then come the violent street gangs. Our blood on the pavement, their votes on election day.

There is a political machine behind the targeting of Pride events by this element. A right wing political machine. A republican political machine. What you see there in the photo taken in Coeur D’Alene is no more spontaneous than January 6 was. And just like with the Big Lie, the respectable republican cloth coat establishment is fine with it, and with whatever bloodshed it may bring. So long as it stays far enough away from them personally that they can maintain their aura of establishment respectability, and it delivers them more votes from the mob than it costs them with decent Americans.

by Bruce | Link | React!

June 12th, 2020

There Is Before, And There Is After

Realizing this morning that all my Facebook Memories from today will front load with a torrent of posts about the Pulse massacre.

Happy Pride Month Bruce!

Anybody wonders why Disney became so gay friendly lately I can tell you because I saw it with my own eyes. I had a vacation planned for July 2016 and it seemed as if all of Orlando was stunned and shaken over what happened. I had my rainbow Mickey pin on (back then it wasn’t the gay rights rainbow but the Peace rainbow, but that was close enough you saw them everywhere during Gay Days) and cast members seeing it would tell me stories about friends, friends of friends, people they knew of that were at Pulse that day. Next year during Gay Days, after the last fireworks show at Magic Kingdom cast members were handing out those rainbow Mickey pins to guests leaving the park. The year after that you suddenly saw a bunch of different pins with the actual gay rights rainbow on them. Last year there was a torrent of Pride merchandise for sale everywhere in Disney World. And where Disney went, other companies followed.

It wasn’t that we’d suddenly become family, we always were family to begin with. We were sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, co-workers, friends, neighbors. The threat on our lives touched everyone. Well…everyone who wasn’t deep in the homophobic gutter. Those people will never be reached. Everyone else was shocked by what happened because if it wasn’t their gay sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, co-workers, friends and neighbors, it could have been.

June 12, 2016. There is before and after. I witnessed it. Nobody is pandering to the militant homosexual agenda. You only hear crap like that from people with empty souls. What happened was it scared people. From the line workers to corporate boardroom Valhalla, it scared them. Because we are part of the family too. I saw the faces.

by Bruce | Link | React!

May 17th, 2020

The Closet Is An Evil Place

…and not just for the ones in it.

My guilty pleasure during quarantine (or lockdown if you prefer) is watching re-runs of Forensic Files. It’s basically a procedural crime solving series that mixes documentary footage with sometimes disturbing reenactments. If I take anything away from it, besides the fact that the science is such now I don’t see how anything can think they’ll get away with murder, it’s how often women are killed by their husbands or boyfriends. It’s pretty sickening.

Occasionally, very occasionally, the victim is gay. Since their murder is being profiled on this series, you know in advance the killer will be caught and sent to prison. That relieves some of my stress watching one of these episodes. Once upon a time I and another user maintained a news section on our local gay BBS, and I saw a torrent of stories flash across the wire services about gay bashings and murders that happened here and there all across the country, nearly all of which never made the local newspapers or news broadcasts. We were the dirty secret best not talked about in family newspapers. Which was why we were so diligent about maintaining our BBS news section: back then there were very few ways of knowing what was happening to us. I’ve told the story before about how back in June 1977 I had to start up my shortwave radio and listen to the BBC to find out what the results were of Anita Bryant’s campaign to overturn gay equality laws in Dade County Florida, because none of the national or local news broadcasts even bothered to say one word about it.

So the other day I’m watching Forensic Files and see the episode Cop Out, about the murder of Jesse Valencia, a gay college student, by an older man, a police officer no less, who’d essentially been using him for sex. The cop met the kid after (I think) a traffic stop. Or maybe it was a loud party. The ticket he wrote for the kid was a piece of evidence used after the cop said he’d never met the kid and didn’t know him. It was a mutual thing until the boy found out the cop was married. He was young, proud, out, and he decided to break it off. And the cop killed him for it. The speculation, and that’s all it could have been, was he threatened to out the cop if he didn’t stop coming around, and that’s what provoked the murder. That’s the obvious motive…I can see why a lot of people might assume that was it…but I think seeing that self respecting pride in the kid telling him to go away because he didn’t want to be involved with a married man was what did it.

The forensic evidence against the cop was slight, but they nailed him. To this day he denies killing the kid, despite the fact of his body hair being found on the kid’s body, in the kid’s blood. 

Kids…don’t get involved with an older closeted gay person. Step by step they will try to drag you into their closet too. And if you refuse you may end up being a sacrifice to the empty mask the closet makes them wear every moment of their day.


Jesse Valencia

by Bruce | Link | React!

June 20th, 2016

Why Orlando Happened

In a nutshell…

‘Satan made gays’: Georgia church sign attacks LGBT people after Orlando shooting

Pastor Bobby Wright explained to WXIA that he was not concerned about the sign stirring up hatred following the Orlando shootings.

“I haven’t cursed anyone. I haven’t called anyone a name,” Wright told the station. “I’m a voice for the community.”

He also insisted that LGBT people would be welcomed at his church.



This Anti-Gay Texas Pastor Says He’s Praying for Survivors of the Orlando Terror Attack to Die


“These 50 sodomites are all perverts and pedophiles, and they are the scum of the earth, and the earth is a little bit better place now,” Romero said in his sermon. “And I’ll take it a step further, because I heard on the news today, that there are still several dozen of these queers in ICU and intensive care. And I will pray to God like I did this morning, I will do it tonight, I’ll pray that God will finish the job that that man started, and he will end their life, and by tomorrow morning they will all be burning in hell, just like the rest of them, so that they don’t get any more opportunity to go out and hurt little children.”


My cartoon, for the next issue of my community newspaper, Baltimore OUTLoud…because somebody needs to say it..


by Bruce | Link | React!

June 15th, 2016

Cultivating An Atmosphere Of Hate

In the horror of what happened this week, I’d almost forgotten about this. Somebody on Capitol Hill needs to have this thrown back in their face.

gays are worthy of death

 This happened a little less than a month ago. To their credit, so I’m told, some members walked out of the conference when this happened. But not all of them.

by Bruce | Link | React!

June 14th, 2016

The Sounds You Hear After A Mass Shooting

after mass shooting-sm

by Bruce | Link | React!

N-R-A Yes…But Also G-O-D…

This came across my Facebook stream just now…

hate from the pulpit after orlando

This man btw, is preaching in the same city that saw a rash of anti-gay violence in the past, linked to the group Watchmen On The Walls (Scott Lively and anti-gay Seattle preacher Ken Hutcherson were founding members) which was actively inciting the Russian immigrant community in Sacramento. In July 2007, a group of Russian-speaking men killed Satender Singh, a 26-year-old gay Fijian of Indian near Sacramento, California. Two men, Andrey Vusik, 29, and Aleksandr Shevchenko, 21 were charged in connection with Singh’s death. Vusik fled to Russia in July and is being sought by the FBI.

So this kind of incitement to killing gay people is being preached to a community where gay people have been attacked and killed before, while men behind the pulpits were calling for blood. I can appreciate the hostility being directed toward the NRA after Orlando, but there is another far more dangerous component to what happened there and if you think too many politicians are running scared of the gun lobby you need to pay attention to how afraid anyone in politics is of directly confronting the hate mongers behind America’s pulpits. They’re already screaming that they’re being persecuted because gay couples can get married now. They’re banging their pulpits that The Gays want to send them all to concentration camps. Just try to imagine the level of venom you’d see if they were told, seriously told, that they have to stop telling people God wants homosexuals dead.

I know many religious people across a broad spectrum of faiths, good people, decent kind hearted people, who are deeply offended by that kind of religiosity. I want to make it clear what I mean: religion isn’t the problem. Religion isn’t the killer. Hate is the problem. Hate is the killer. But when a murderous hate wraps itself in religious robes it gets a pass to just keep doing it because Religious Freedom and that has to stop. For the sake of all that is possible, all that is fine and noble within the human spirit, that has to stop.

Freedom of religion is a fundamental value of democracy. So is freedom of speech. When someone says “I want you to kill you”, that’s speech, but it’s also a threat that can get you in trouble. Your right to freely speak your mind doesn’t trump the other person’s right to stay alive. If that same person says “I want you to kill that guy over there” that’s speech, but it’s also a threat, and now you’re conspiring with someone else to commit a murder, which can also get you in even more trouble. At some point, we as a nation and a culture need to recognise that saying “God wants you to kill that person over there“, or “God wants that person over there dead” is a threat to that person’s life, no different in kind than if God had just been left out of it.


by Bruce | Link | React!

June 13th, 2016

The Hate Excuser’s Song


This is par for the course, whenever an act of violence against gay people makes national, let alone international headlines. The pushback to erase the motivation of anti-gay hate from the crime, divert attention onto something else, real or fabricated, comes quickly after from all the usual suspects, and is forceful. And when challenged on it, they just dig their heels in. In a few months to a year there will be articles from right wing “think tanks”, and documentaries purporting to prove that homophobic animus had nothing to do with it at all, and that those of us who kept pointing it out are ourselves guilty of politicising a terrible tragedy to support the Gay Agenda. It is all so predictable. Because to acknowledge the hate that motivated it, might lead to questions about the climate of hate, and those who cultivated it for votes, and money.

And ratings. Perhaps in a few years ABC 20/20 will do a documentary explaining how it was all really a drug deal gone bad…

by Bruce | Link | React!

We Have Always Lived Under Threat Of Terrorism

Your gay and lesbian neighbors, your transgendered and bisexual neighbors, have lived under the threat of terrorism for a long time. All our lives actually.

This article from USA Today came across my Facebook stream just now…

Pulse is not alone: A brief history of attacks on gay club

The article lists just the attacks directed at people inside these bars. But almost no week goes by that I don’t read about an attack against people who have just left a gay bar, or were walking about in a gay neighborhood. It happens all the time.

Near my house there’s a street full of lovely bars and shops called The Avenue. It’s 36th Street in the Baltimore neighborhood of Hampden. The food is great, absolutely great, and several of the bars along that street make excellent margaritas, and as it’s walking distance for me I can go enjoy myself for a night and not worry about having to drive after a few drinks. I was walking back home from a night out on The Avenue last summer, when I passed a small group of young men near the corner of 36th street and Falls. They had a couple female companions with them and seemed to be college age or thereabouts. It was a Saturday night and The Avenue was packed.

Maybe it was my ponytail, maybe it was something else…Scientific American published a story in its February 23, 2009 issue, about a 2008 study that showed that “Without being aware of it, most people can accurately identify gay men by face alone”…but whatever it was, as I walked past one of the men smirked at me, clasped his hands together with his index fingers pointed as if he was pointing a gun at me and made a recoil gesture as if firing it.

I stopped, stunned, and he kept on smirking and walked away with the rest of his group, disappearing into the crowds on The Avenue. Had I called the police on him he would have of course, denied everything, likely even accusing me of doing that to him, and with his friends backing him up as witnesses I would have been the one going to jail that night. So I kept on walking home, feeling a chill in the air.

I’ve not been gay bashed yet. But it could happen. I know it could happen at any time while I’m out and about. I’ve lived with that thought in the background of my every step beyond the threshold of my house ever since I  was a teenager. But then, I was a scrawny girlish boy who got beaten up a lot in grade school, so I had it then too. For some reason, some bigger guys seemed to feel perfectly justified in just taking a punch whenever they felt like it. After I came out to myself I began to understand why. I’m gay. That makes me a target.  

Franklin Graham says his “Billy Graham Rapid Response Team” sent chaplains to Orlando “to assess where and how to best offer emotional and spiritual care.” Oh joy. But I have a better idea. Franklin Graham and his companions in spirit in the anti-gay kultar kampf can get a Much Better assessment of the emotional and spiritual care gay people need if they spend a few weeks living as gay people (don’t worry…no sex necessary!).  Experience firsthand the effects of the venomous religious hostility you’ve been carefully stoking for decades Franklin. Walk a mile in our shoes. If you can make it a mile without getting gay bashed, or hanging yourself because you can’t take the hate anymore.


by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

June 12th, 2016

Always Look For The Helpers

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping””. -Mr. Rogers.

Too  stunned at the moment about what happened in Orlando to think much beyond simply taking in the facts as they present themselves. But a kind soul on Facebook asked me just now if “your friends in Orlando” were okay. I told him there was only one deeply closeted gay guy and didn’t go into the reasons why I can’t just send email down there and ask. But he would have been working  last night and besides  he’s much too deeply closeted to go anywhere near a gay spot so soon after  Gay Days.  But yes…my first thought when the news hit was worry, ridiculous as it was. I thought I was angry enough at him to be past that. I guess you just can’t completely dig someone out of you once they’ve burrowed so deeply in.  The thing about closeted guys of my generation is they do stupid risky things sometimes and I could see it happening after the stresses of yet another round of Gay Days. So I flinched.  

The newspapers are saying the  police and FBI are calling it a terror attack, and that  fifty people were killed. That’s not just fifty people killed. That’s the hearts of everyone who knew them, hundreds of family and friends, that  also died today. And everyone they hadn’t yet met they could have loved, and every smile they could have put on someone else’s face. All because of hate. All because of hate. And it’s an election year, so there’s even more hate to come.


And speaking of hate…here come the Texas republicans!



by Bruce | Link | React!

September 3rd, 2014

The Fine Art Of Inciting Violence While Looking Like A Victim

Most heterosexual Americans probably don’t have the Google “personalized” news page I do, which has a custom section powered by a google search that seeks out stories relating to Gay people. That custom news section gets me a torrent of news stories from news sources here in the U.S. and all over the world. And much of it is about violence directed at gay people.

I’ve been reading the news about my people, that goes largely under the radar of most Americans, for decades now. Back in the BBS days I did volunteer work for a nonprofit Gay BBS that involved sifting through wire service stories and reposting them for the other BBS users. As my online world expanded, so has my ability to seek out news that would otherwise get lost in the background static. So I have decades of awareness under my belt that maybe you don’t.

So it might be hard to really appreciate how to read crap like this from Life[sic]site…

He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

“John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint. While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

“According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, ‘It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,’ Herodias became ‘furious’ with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech…”

“The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice…”

…but I’ll give you a clue: The vast majority of violence directed at gay and gender nonconforming people, nearly 100 percent of it, is religiously motivated. Either the perpetrator acted from a violently twisted religious passion, or they acted knowing they have social permission to attack gay people. Sure I might get caught, I might even get sent to jail, but it won’t be like I killed a real person…   And that permission comes directly from the pulpit.

Not all pulpits by any means…I am not pointing my finger at Religion capital ‘R’ or Christianity capital ‘C’. But you need to understand this: not all predators actually like having blood on their hands. Some predators do, others enjoy watching. There are the rapists, and there are the voyeurs. The relationship is a simple one: thugs beat the living crap out of gay people, sometimes killing us, because they hear the permission they’re being given to do exactly that from the pulpits. “Their blood is upon them…” And those voices from behind those pulpits know exactly what they’re doing, exactly what effect they want their words to have. It’s a symbiotic relationship, that benefits both parties.

So it may look superficially like Lifesite is warning Christians to beware of the impending gay holocaust, but what they’re actually doing is inciting the mob in the traditional, old-fashioned way, with whatever tools are handy at the moment. Militants in Iraq and Syria beheaded two American journalists recently, so here comes Lifesite with a story about how John The Baptist was beheaded after condemning a pagan king’s ungodly false marriage…AND YOU KNOW WHO ELSE DOESN’T LIKE IT WHEN CHRISTIANS STAND UP FOR GOD’S PLAN FOR MARRIAGE…

The homosexuals want to behead Christians…just like those scary people you see on TV…you know what to do…

by Bruce | Link | React!

October 7th, 2013

Repost: Fifteen Years Ago…

I posted this five years ago. Seems appropriate now, since the kook pews are howling again, the haters who would have looked the other way had they come upon the murder taking place, and insist everyone else should too, to revisit it.

Nothing has changed…there is nothing mysterious or hidden about what happened that night…the ghosts still talk among themselves…if you are willing to take the same walk I did one night in Laramie, you can still hear them…

The wind never seems to stop here on the plains.  It is October in Wyoming, and the wind carries with it a chill now.  The first tentative breath of winter dances restlessly over rolling hills of sage.  The days have grown short, the nights cold.  And long.  Very long.  And quiet, save only for the sound of the wind. 

Take a walk tonight across the rolling hills of Wyoming sage.  Leave the town lights twinkling in the distance behind you.  Walk toward the mountains in the darkness ahead.  There is only you here tonight.  You, and the wind, and the stars in the sky, so far away.  So very far away.  Around you are only rolling hills of grass and sage, fading into the night.  There are remnants of what looks like a small wooden fence here, that was torn down some time ago. 

Listen to the wind.  Listen carefully.  There are ghosts here on the plains.  Hear them talk tonight among themselves…


No one knows why Matthew was determined to go to the Fireside that night, or why he left with Aaron and Russell. It was karaoke night, which would not ordinarily have interested him. There was some speculation that he was buying drugs from Aaron and Russell, but his friends find that implausible. A close friend thinks that depression may have weakened his judgment, and wonders if he had taken a heavy dose of Klonopin before he went to the bar. "When he was depressed," she says, "he would just grab a handful." Romaine Patterson remembers how in the coffee shop where she worked Matthew "would just talk to anyone-people no one else would talk to, like this weird old man…. He had no discrimination in his person."
-Vanity Fair


Shortly after midnight on October 7, 1998, 20-year-old Shepard met McKinney and Henderson in a bar. McKinney and Henderson offered Shepard a ride in their car. Subsequently, Shepard was robbed, pistol whipped, tortured, tied to a fence in a remote, rural area, and left to die. McKinney and Henderson also found out his address and intended to rob his home. Still tied to the fence, Shepard was discovered eighteen hours later by a cyclist, who at first thought that Shepard was a scarecrow. At the time of discovery, Shepard was still alive, but in a coma.


Aaron Kreifels first met Matthew Shepard in a dream last Thursday night, the night after he discovered his fellow University of Wyoming student badly beaten, barely alive and tied up to a fence outside of Laramie.

Although Shepard was in Fort Collins by then, kept alive by an array of life-support machines in Poudre Valley Hospital’s intensive-care unit, Kreifels said the gay student, who was beaten beyond recognition, allegedly by two young Laramie roofers, perhaps because he was gay, came to visit his rescuer in a dream that night. Kreifels doesn’t remember much of the dream, but he said Wednesday that he awoke the next morning comforted by the vague sensation of having met the person he found in such bad shape two days before.

Although early reports indicated that two mountain bikers had discovered Shepard on the crude fence on an old, double-rutted road, Kreifels was alone that evening, struggling on his mountain bike through deep sand and for some reason ignoring a desire to turn back and find another, easier way back to town. Before he knew it, he had fallen. He was on the ground, his front wheel broken beyond repair. He was unhurt, but what he saw as he got up struck him cold.

"I got up and noticed something out of the corner of my eye,” he said from his room in a freshman dorm at the University of Wyoming on Wednesday. "At first I thought it was a scarecrow, so I didn’t think much of it. Then I went around and noticed it was a real person. I checked to see if he was conscious or not, and when I found out he wasn’t, I ran and got help as fast as I could.”

As the former high school crosscountry runner traversed the quarter- to half-mile of scrub prairie between him and the nearest house in the nearby Sherman Hills subdivision, his thoughts froze before quickly accelerating.

"It was distressing. I was panicked for a couple minutes, because I wanted to make sure I could do all I could do to help save him,” he said.
-The Denver Post


Officer Reggie Fluty: When I got there, the first – at first the only thing I could see was partially somebody’s feet and I got out of my vehicle and raced over – I seen what appeared to be a young man, thirteen, fourteen years old, because he was so tiny, laying on his back and he was tied to the bottome of the end of a pole.

I did the best I could.  The gentleman that was laying on the ground, Matthew Shepard, he was covered in dry blood all over his head.  There was dry blood underneath him and he was barely breathing…he was doing the best he could.

I was going to breath for him and I couldn’t get his mouth open – his mouth wouldn’t open for me.

He was covered in, like I said, partially dry blood and blood all over his head – the only place that he did not have any blood on him, on his face, was what appeared to be where he had been crying down his face.
-The Laramie Project


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.


At the Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, Matthew lay in bed down the hall from Aaron McKinney. Matthew was comatose; his brain stem which controls heartbeat, breathing, temperature, and other involuntary functions – was severely damaged. He also was suffering from hypothermia and had a red welt on his back, a red mark on his left arm, bruised knees, cuts on his head, neck, and face, and bruising in his groin. 
-Vanity Fair


Dr. Cantway:  I was working the emergency room the night Matthew Shepard was brought in.  I don’t think, that any of us, ah, can remember seeing a patient in that condition for a long time – those of us who’ve worked in big city hospitals have seen this.  Ah, but it’s not something you expect here.

Ah, you expect it, you expect this kind of injuries to come from a car going down a hill at eighty miles an hour.  You expect to see gross injuries from something like that – this horrendous, terrible thing.  Ah, but you don’t expect to see that from someone doing this to another person.

The ambulance report said it was a beating so we knew.
-The Laramie Project


Exactly a week after his tragic discovery, Kreifels, 18, an architectural engineering major from Grand Island, Neb., said he tries not to think about the condition in which he found the classmate he had never seen before. Authorities say Shepard’s assailants repeatedly beat him with the butt of a .357 Magnum, fracturing his skull. Kreifels doesn’t talk about it.

"I don’t really want to go into details about that,” he said.
-The Denver Post


Aaron Kreifels:  I keep seeing that picture in my head when I found him…and it’s not pleasant whatsoever. I don’t want it to be there. I wanna like get it out. That’s the biggest part for me is seeing that picture in my head. And it’s kind of unbelievable to me, you know, that – I happened to be the person who found him – because the big question with me, like with my religion, is like, Why did God want ME to find him?
-The Laramie Project


[Edited a tad…]

by Bruce | Link | React!

October 2nd, 2013

Pistol Whipping A Dead Gay Kid Because They Can

Debunking Stephen Jimenez isn’t hard…he was involved in the ABC 20/20 whitewash of Matthew Shepard’s murder and makes the same claims here that 20/20 did years ago.   But it is necessary, not only to defend a kid who can no longer speak for himself, but because it is a trope of the anti-gay industrial complex that hate crimes against gay people are nothing the nation need concern itself with.   Nothing to see here folks…the homosexuals bring it on themselves…and even like it.   There is no pattern of violence.   Homosexuals are not being targeted.   Nothing to see.   Nothing to see…

Debunking Stephen Jimenez’s Effort To De-Gay Matthew Shepard’s Murder

Journalist Stephen Jimenez’s  The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths about the Murder of Matthew Shepard makes the bombshell claim that illicit drug use, not homophobia, was the central factor in the gay University of Wyoming student’s brutal 1998 murder.  Shepard truthers in  the  right-wing media have pounced on the book to  assail hate crime legislation and the larger push for LGBT rights. But Jimenez’s argument is tainted by its reliance on wild extrapolation, the use of highly questionable and often inconsistent sources,  paranoia that critics of his work are engaged in a “cover-up” of politically sensitive truths, and the cavalier dismissal of any evidence that runs contrary to  his central thesis.

Go read the whole thing…you are going to be hearing more about it soon. His book comes out on the anniversary of the murder because that is the perfect time to spit in the faces of people who are still appalled at what happened that night, and determined to put an end to the hatred that fueled it. Jimenez and his soul brother Andrew Sullivan need everyone to stop making such a big deal out of one little gay kid because, perhaps for different reasons, perhaps not, they think it ridiculous.There’s a nugget in this article that I hadn’t understood before, which might explain Sullivan’s need to whitewash Shepard’s murder…

For an author trying to make the case that homophobia played no role in Shepard’s murder, his killer’s use of crude, anti-gay language would seem to pose a significant problem. Not so, Jimenez assures us. McKinney – who described himself as a “drunk homofobick [sic]” in a letter written from prison – was merely trying to imitate the thug image of the gangsta rappers he admired, according to Jimenez. This explanation  is  just as implausible as Jimenez’s bizarre speculation that President Bill Clinton spoke out on Shepard’s murder and championed hate crime legislation in order to divert public attention from the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

(Emphasis mine). So it’s about Sullivan’s Clinton hatred again.   Or back when the 20/20 episode was production it was, and now he’s just sticking to it because it’s out there, and anyway, isn’t all this outrage about what happened to a little twink a bit overwrought? Sullivan has always been an outspoken critic of hate crime laws, and the narrative that hate played any role that night in Laramie had to be debunked.   Because…liberals.

There is nothing mysterious or hidden about the murder of Matthew Shepard. The trial transcripts themselves show clearly, convincingly and overwhelmingly that Shepard not only did not know his killers, but that they beat the 112 pound Shepard mercilessly to the brink of death precisely because he was gay.   Some have said, a tad more plausibly, it was merely a robbery gone bad. But they targeted him because he was gay, and I have been to Laramie, I have driven the route that McKinney and Henderson took as they drove Shepard out of town to the isolated place where they tied him to a deer fence and beat him…I drove it at night around the same time…and I promise you that if you do the same you will, if you are even slightly open to the evidence, come to the only possible conclusion: that they had more than robbery on their minds on their way to the killing place.

Who can say why some people prefer their comfortable conceits to reality. Stephen Jimenez may simply be a publicity seeking asswipe. Or he and Andrew Sullivan may really believe that the facts in front of one’s nose are merely a veneer behind which the hidden conspiracies and plots that really move human events lurk. Perhaps they find the idea that the beating death of a pretty gay boy might genuinely shock anyone ridiculous, the thinking being Shepard was a little twink who went looking for rough trade and got what was coming to him. He’d already allowed himself to be raped once didn’t he? Whatever the motivation, ask yourself who is deeper in the human gutter, the knuckle-dragging killers who hated or the respectable upright whitewashers of hate.

by Bruce | Link | React!

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