Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Matthew Shepard: 10 Years Later

Former Laramie police chief Dave O'Malley:

"Prior to this case I wasn’t hugely homophobic, but I was mean-spirited. I bought into the jokes and the myths and stereotypes of the gay community. Because of what happened, I was forced to interact with that community. Quite frankly, I started losing my ignorance. Did I reevaluate my beliefs in that first week? In the old country we’d call that a no-shitter. It didn’t take very long at all for me to realize that I was dead wrong. ...

"To me, every crime was a hate crime. But I saw the difference with what happened to Matt. We had kids moving out of Laramie, transferring to other colleges. There was a huge amount of terror and fear---I hadn’t seen that before. There are people killed during liquor store robberies every day in this country, but I never think twice about going to the liquor store. It’s a different kind of a motivation and a different kind of impact. I’ve now been to Washington to speak about hate-crimes legislation on seven occasions. It’s something I believe in, and I’m going to keep working at it. It’s been 10 years, but I fully believe that if this election goes the way I believe it’s going to go, the Matthew Shepard Act will be a reality in the next 12 months."

Any questions?