Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Book Review: The Book of Matt


If I had been asked to give an account of the Matthew Shepard incident a week ago, my answer would have gone something like this: over ten years ago in some hick town of middle America a young innocent gay student was tortured and left to die crucified on a fence.  His assailants were two intolerant rednecks incapable of dealing with the uncomfortable presence and activities of people like Shepard in their town.

Then last week I downloaded The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths about the Murder of Matthew Shepard  by Stephen Jimenez.  Everything I thought I knew about the case flew out of the window.  Jimenez is an openly gay journalist who went to Laramie, Wyo to research information for a potential production on Matthew Shepard.  During his research he came across information that contradicted all he thought he knew about the story.   After ten years of honestly digging for the truth he gives us a new understanding of the events. 

Some key points:
  • ·     Shepard was heavily involved in drugs and alcohol
  • ·      Shepard was heavily involved in drug dealing (Meth in particular)
  • ·      Shepard was abused as a child by members of his church and his family
  • ·      Shepard’s assailants, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson were no strangers to Shepard especially McKinney
  • ·      Shepard’s killing was solely done at McKinney’s hands, Henderson only watched and tied Shepard to the fence
  • ·      Shepard was never crucified or burned with cigarettes
  • ·      McKinney is bisexual
  • ·      McKinney and Shepard had numerous sexual encounters with each other

  • ·      No hate crime
  • ·      No homophobia
  • ·      No redneck strangers
  • ·      No innocent all-American angel gay student

And this is the case that stirred the nation's conscience about gay bashing, homophobia, hate crime, etc. . . its basis?  Lies, coverups and twisted facts. . . 

According to Jimenez the motive for the killing revolved around drug dealing, robbery and trafficking rivalries.  The gay issue had absolutely nothing to do with it.  How did the story get so twisted?  What role did the media play?  How about gay advocacy groups?  The feds?  The Clinton administration? 

Some answers you will find during YOUR reading of The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths about theMurder of Matthew Shepard.