Tag Archives: Laramie

Once again, there will be a chorus screaming “special rights” when the subject of gay bashing being punished as a hate crime arises. But near as anybody can tell, the opportunity to be threatened, humiliated and to live in fear of being beaten to death is the only “special right” our culture bestows on homosexuals.–Diane Carman

bash1bash

Is gay bashing a hate crime? Does it merit prosecution and punishment as a hate crime? The murder of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming, in 1998 ignited the debate over these questions when it was alleged his assailants Aaron McKinney, and Russell Henderson targeted him because he was gay. In the course of the court proceedings against Aaron McKinney in November 1999, Prosecutor Calvin Rerucha stated:

The two had led Shepard to believe they were gay. Matthew, believing they wanted to discuss the politics and struggle of the gay movement, followed McKinney and Henderson into their truck. After getting in the truck, Henderson said “McKinney pulled out a gun and told Matthew Shepard to give him his wallet.” McKinney said “Guess what. We’re not gay. And you’re gonna get jacked.” When Matthew refused, McKinney hit him with the gun. With Henderson behind the wheel, they drove more than a mile outside Laramie, as Matthew begged for his life, McKinney struck him while Henderson laughed. “He (McKinney) told me to get a rope out of the truck,” Henderson said. According to Henderson, McKinney allegedly tied Shepard’s beaten body to a wooden split-rail post fence, robbed him of his wallet and patent leather shoes, continued to beat him and then left him to die for over 18 hours bleed profusely in near freezing temperatures “with only the constant Wyoming wind as his companion.” (as cited in Matthew Shepard)

His assailants pistol-whipped him so severely he had suffered fractures to the back of his head and in front of his right ear. He experienced severe brainstem damage, which affected his body’s ability to regulate heart rate, body temperature, and other vital functions. There were also about a dozen small lacerations around his head, face, and neck. His injuries were too severe for doctors to operate. He never regained consciousness, succumbing to his injuries at 12:53 a.m. on October 12, 1998, at Poudre Valley Hospital, in Fort Collins, Colorado. Continue reading

Advertisements