An unusually honest new book by gay journalist Stephen Jiminez holds the potential to de-sanctify Matthew Shepard, the gay college student beaten to death by Aaron McKinney in Wyoming in 1998.
In his review of “The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths about the Murder of Matthew Shephard,” Aaron Hicklin asks, “How does it color our understanding of such a crime if the perpetrator and victim not only knew each other but also had sex together, bought drugs from one another, and partied together?”
The “our” Hicklin refers to is the gay community. He wrote this review for the gay publication The Advocate. This is not a message his audience wants to hear.
This message, however, has been obvious to anyone paying attention to this case. Although Hollywood would turn out at least three TV movies about the “crucifixion” of Shepard, two of which premiered in the week before Easter 2002, the homophobic storyline never matched the Wyoming reality.
As the truth began to eke out of Laramie, that line grew more and more suspect. Best evidence has always suggested that McKinney, the actual killer, had previously expressed no homophobic sentiments.
One good reason why is that he was an active bisexual himself. Apparently, he and Shepard, who had a known drug problem, had done meth together a number of times. Jiminez contends that Shepard not only used meth but that he may also have dealt it. In addition, he and McKinney apparently had sex together as well.
On the night in question, McKinney went on a meth-fueled rampage. He pistol-whipped the vulnerable Shepard for drug money, drove into town to rob Shepard’s apartment and then pistol whipped a stranger who got in his way, fracturing his skull in the process.
Jacob Marsden of the Caspar Star Tribune would later tell ABC’s “20/20,” “I remember one of my fellow reporters saying to me, ‘This kid’s gonna be the new poster child for gay rights. Matt Shepard, gay bashed, symbol of the oppression of the gay community.’”
How right he was. Matthew Shepard died just four weeks before the 1998 mid-term elections. For the next four weeks, much to their own surprise, the killers were presented to America as poster children for the religious right and one more reason not to vote Republican.
At the time, I was doing talk radio in Kansas City on a left-right format. I saw the press releases come in from both LGBT advocates and the Democratic National Committee and was impressed with their coordination and their duplicity.
With a major assist from the media, the gay grievance industry was manipulating the narrative much the way the black grievance industry would manipulate the Trayvon Martin narrative.
Of course, McKinney and Henderson were not products of Christian culture, but of its antithesis: a crude, soulless, fatherless, sexually libertine, drug-addled, pop culture. Those who controlled the narrative, however, could shape it as they saw fit.
In a similar vein, in the crucial battleground state of Florida during the 2012 presidential campaign, the Democratic-media complex turned Zimmerman, a Hispanic Obama supporter and civil rights activist, into a gun-crazy white racist and symbol of all things right wing.
In both cases, the Democratic-media complex absolved the deceased of any responsibility for their undoing. In the case of Trayvon Martin, this took some major contortions as the troubled teen inarguably initiated the attack, quite possibly on homophobic grounds.
According to the prosecution’s “star witness” in the Zimmerman case, Rachel Jeantel, Martin thought Zimmerman “looked like a creepy a– cracker.”
“He told me the man was looking at him,” she added, “so I had to think it might have been a rapist. Might have been a rapist.” When defense attorney Don West asked Jeantel whether she thought “creepy-a– cracker” was racist, Jeantel explained that the phrase meant that Trayvon viewed Zimmerman as a “pervert.”
The Urban Dictionary defines “a– cracker” as “one who engages in anal sex.” It seems likely that Jeantel meant the homophobic “creepy a– cracker” and not the racist “creepy-a– cracker.”
In an interview after the trial with Piers Morgan, Jeantel clarified what was meant by “sexual pervert.” As she explained, since Martin was himself not a homosexual, Zimmerman’s actions worried him.
“For every boy or every man who’s not that kind of way,” she said, “seeing a grown man following them, would they be creeped out?”
McKinney used a “gay panic” defense to save himself from a life in prison. The media chose to take him at his word even if there was reason not to believe it.
With Martin, the media refused to entertain the idea that “gay panic” may have motivated his attack on Zimmerman despite Jeantel’s ingenuous effort to suggest that very thing.
The fact is, in today’s media, any narrative that puts progressivism on the defensive or that pits progressive constituencies against each other has little chance of surfacing.
So don’t expect to hear much more about Matthew Shepard – or Trayvon Martin. Now that Zimmerman guy, that’s another story.