The PJ Tatler

Matthew Shepard Narrative Challenged in New Book

Breitbart is highlighting a book of an award-winning investigative journalist that turns the narrative surrounding the tragic death of a gay Wyoming man, whose murder gave the impetus for hate-crime legislation, on its head.

The Book of Matt by Stephen Jimenez will be published this week and is already causing consternation among gay activists because it turns a homophobic hate crime into a spat between two meth-addled gay lovers.

The story that we are most familiar with is that Shepard met a couple of men in a bar who offered him a ride home. They instead took him to a remote area, robbed and brutally beat him with pistols, and left him to die.

The two men charged with the crime were convicted and sentenced to life in prison. The gay community latched on to the story as an example of America’s extreme homophobia and used the memory of the young man to advance the gay agenda, including hate-crime legislation.

But is that all there is to the story?

As gay journalist Aaron Hicklin, writing in The Advocate asks, “How do people sold on one version of history react to being told that the facts are slippery — that thinking of Shepard’s murder as a hate crime does not mean it was a hate crime? And 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?”

This startling revelation comes in The Book of Matt to be published next week by investigative journalist Stephen Jiminez, who over the course of years interviewed over 100 people including Shepard’s friends, friends of the killers, and the killers themselves.

According to The Advocate, one of the premier gay publications in the country, Jiminez “amassed enough anecdotal evidence to build a persuasive case that Shepard’s sexuality was, if not incidental, certain less central than popular consensus had lead us to believe.”

Even before Shepard died, two of his friends were peddling the narrative that he died at the hands of vicious homophobes. Within days the gay establishment latched onto what would drive the hate crimes story for years to come; even now, the Laramie Project, a stage play about the killing is performed all over the country. Indeed, it will be performed next week at Ford’s Theater in Washington DC.

But what really happened to Matthew Shepard?

He was beaten, tortured, and killed by one or both of the men now serving life sentences. But it turns out, according to Jiminez, that Shepard was a meth dealer himself and he was friends and sex partners with the man who led in his killing. Indeed, his killer may have killed him because Shepard allegedly came into possession of a large amount of methamphetamine and refused to give it up.

The book also shows that Shepard’s killer was on a five-day meth binge at the time of the killing.

As to be expected, Matthew Shepard Inc. is rallying to denounce the new narrative that his homosexuality had little or nothing to do with his murder.

Whom are we to believe? That Aaron Hicklin of The Advocate is taking the book seriously (if not agreeing entirely with its conclusions) should tell us that Jimenez has, at the very least, raised very troubling questions about the manipulation of the media, the political process, and the American people by the gay lobby. The reaction to the book also shows how desperately the gay lobby feels about saving the narrative — a source of power and money for them.

The Matthew Shepard Foundation released this statement:

Attempts now to rewrite the story of this hate crime appear to be based on untrustworthy sources, factual errors, rumors and innuendo rather than the actual evidence gathered by law enforcement and presented in a court of law. We do not respond to innuendo, rumor or conspiracy theories. Instead we recommit ourselves to honoring Matthew’s memory, and refuse to be intimidated by those who seek to tarnish it. We owe that to the tens of thousands of donors, activists, volunteers, and allies to the cause of equality who have made our work possible.

If we were to base everything we know about a crime story on what came out in court, the chances are very good we’d be getting less than half the story. What evidence was excluded? What didn’t the defendants say in fear of further incriminating themselves? What evidence was suppressed for one reason or another?

The foundation’s statement is a desperate appeal based on the idea that a large number of people have bought into the narrative, so it shouldn’t be changed because everyone would be upset. And it should be noted that there is no effort to “tarnish” the young man’s memory, but rather to search for the truth.

I don’t know if Jimenez has found the truth. But I know that he should be taken seriously and further investigation should be undertaken to correct any historical inaccuracies that are being pushed by the gay lobby. Shepard doesn’t need hagiography. As with anyone else, the truth about this life should be told and his death should be mourned for the tragedy it was and not as a political symbol to be exploited by partisans.