Defenders of the men accused of murdering Matthew Shepard, the 21-year-old student found tied to a fence like a scarecrow in Wyoming, are saying that they just wanted to get back at Shepard for making a pass at them.

For the sake of argument, let's assume this is true. The argument is then that it's understandable to go berserk if someone else shows an unwanted amorous interest in you.

To get a better picture of whether or not this argument holds up, we need to ask the real experts on getting unwanted advances: women. So let's hear your answers, ladies:

"If you murdered every straight man who showed an unwanted romantic or sexual interest in you, how many men would you have killed by now?"

Your names and e-mail addresses will be kept confidential. To submit your body counts, go to the page <http://www.sipu.com/sa/murderpoll.html>, or send a message to sa@sipu.com with your number in the subject line of your message.

This poll is not meant in any way to trivialize the crime in Wyoming, or the problem of sexual harassment. Instead, it is meant to demonstrate that unwanted passes are something that women deal with routinely, without resorting to violence, and that using an unwanted advance as an excuse for flying into a murderous rage is no defense at all.

Straight Answers is a web site offering advice on how to change anti-gay attitudes.