New Book Challenges Matthew Shepard Story

This is a pretty game-changing book, given Matthew Shepard's name became synonymous with hate crimes back in the 90s. When this originally happened, Oasis had to add a special section that month, just to gather all of the poetry and content related to people's feelings and reactions to his murder. Definitely have to check out this book...

Interview courtesy of Andrew Sullivan at: http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/09/11/reexamining-the-murder-of-matthew-shepard/

Comments

jeff's picture

Interesting...

They got the Matthew Shepard Foundation to reply... pretty boilerplate.

I already pre-ordered the book, sounds interesting...

---
"You don't know you're beautiful." - Harry Styles

elph's picture

I don't begin to know the "facts" here...

but the suspicions being expressed in the comments on HuffPost are not very complimentary. All I can suggest is to just wait it out... this could be fact... and it could be fiction. :(

jeff's picture

Well...

Anyone with a strong opinion on what really happened before reading the book is a bit suspicious to me (although not unusual on HuffPo, heh). Their biggest contention is that he is basing this on an anonymous letter, which is true, but neglecting the fact that he then investigated and confirmed what was in the letter. So, the letter itself isn't proof, but just what started him on this path.

As a former newspaper reporter, anonymous tips are very often how you find real stories, so I don't see anything unusual there. Plus, that anonymous letter was included in the previously sealed court documents for the case.

I have a lot of respect for Andrew Sullivan, and he is quoted on the book (so we know he read it) and the one responsible for doing the videos with the author on his site now. Plus, Jimenez is gay, so there's no reason for him to dismantle the story from some anti-gay angle (another HuffPo conspiracy).

Most comments I've read so far take wild leaps that we don't know yet (since the book isn't out), and are rooted in wanting to believe the narrative that has existed for a decade.

I've not seen anything credible against this book yet, since he is writing based on sealed court documents and witness interviews, and they are responding to... their opinions.

---
"You don't know you're beautiful." - Harry Styles

elph's picture

I don't disagree... but, time will tell...

However... it does seem quite peculiar (admittedly without access to sealed documents) that this information has languished without comment for so long!

This initial response, however, from The Matthew Shepard Foundation to Jimenez's allegations in a statement to the Huffington Post:

'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,' the foundation wrote.

'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.'

jeff's picture

Well...

Like he said in the video (and they posted two more videos, too; links below), no one ever investigated the story because the records were sealed for a year, and people thought the story we heard was the actual story.

The foundation relying on what the prosecution presenting as the real story is a bit dodgy, since their entire goal is a conviction, not to tell a complete story of events. The defense did the same thing.

Everyone has witnessed it on enough courtroom dramas that the cop is rehearsed by the prosecution in advance, and they know they can't mention X during the questioning, because that will open them up for Y at cross-examination.

Of course, if you're group is called the Matthew Shepard Foundation, how else would you respond?! ;-)

Two additional videos:

http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/09/12/the-role-of-meth-in-matthew-sh...

http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/09/13/was-matthew-shepards-murder-a-...
---
"You don't know you're beautiful." - Harry Styles

elph's picture

Will we ever know what really occurred?

With the passage of time and a flood of recent comments on Jimenez's yet-to be-released book on the Matthew Shepard tragedy, we remain denied the ability to discern with any certainty where the truth lies.

However, the more I read, it appears that the consensus (at this point) tends to lend credence to Jimenez's shattering of the original homophobic explanation for Shepard's murder.

How do I feel if Jimenez proves to be correct? I truly do not know!

However… I do wonder if it might not be better for society if the original "myth" (if that's what it proves to have been) is allowed to remain unsheltered. I don't have the answer…

Here are two (somewhat contrasting) recent articles:

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2013/09/matthew-shepards-murder-more-bre...

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2013/09/14/Matthew-Shepard-Trayv...

jeff's picture

Well...

The book is out in 2 weeks, all of this activity is promoting the book.

By its very nature, a trial is never a complete account of what occurred. It is always the specific evidence necessary to get a conviction based on the charges filed.

I think the truth is always best, no matter the consequences.

I wouldn't read anything on brietbart.com, though. That is just another example of someone taking facts and fitting them to an agenda. ;-)

---
"You don't know you're beautiful." - Harry Styles

jeff's picture

Today's video...

http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/09/16/challenging-the-myth-of-matthe...

Interestingly, this nugget was included in one of the Book of Matt reviews, something I had never heard before either:

"There are valuable reasons for telling certain stories in a certain way at pivotal times, but that doesn’t mean we have to hold on to them once they’ve outlived their usefulness. In his book, Flagrant Conduct, Dale Carpenter, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, similarly unpicks the notorious case of Lawrence v. Texas, in which the arrest of two men for having sex in their own bedroom became a vehicle for affirming the right of gay couples to have consensual sex in private. Except that the two men were not having sex, and were not even a couple. Yet this non-story, carefully edited and taken all the way to the Supreme Court, changed America."

---
"You don't know you're beautiful." - Harry Styles

PokemonGeek's picture

Not saying that I believe

Not saying that I believe what the researcher claims but I'm not saying I don't either. Only Matthew could know what is fact and what is fiction. What this guy says mabe true but what I don't understand is if Shepard owed the drug dealers money, why beat him to near death and leave Matt half naked tied to a fence post to die? Most drug dealers kill those who owe them money on the spot. It is a statistic.

Poor is the man
Whose pleasures depend
On the permission of another
Love me, that's right, love me
I wanna be your baby
Wanting, needing, waiting
For you to justify my love
Hoping, praying
For you to justify my love
I'm open and ready
~Madonna

jeff's picture

Well...

Well, his killers also know the facts, too, and they're alive (and ineligible for parole), so they are a good source. I mean, you can add whatever details you want around the case, but the part where they viciously murdered him aren't being contended.

Not sure which videos you watched, but the narrative is that Matthew was transporting them into Laramie, so it was that Aaron wanted to rob Matthew of his drugs. Aaron had also been on a 4+ day meth bender at that point, so there is some part of the book explaining how that can contribute to excessive violence, as well.

So, both Matthew and his killers dealt drugs, as I understand it. I'll know more when I get the book next week.

I should actually get a review copy this week, and save my money, just pop up a review on here, heh.

UPDATE: My review copy is on its way. ;-)
---
"You don't know you're beautiful." - Harry Styles