George Keith Król

Essays 2002

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Essays 2002
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In depth... real centrist opinion in judicial fashion.  Rush Limbaugh, Giddy Liddy, and Oliver North need not apply.

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Sometimes, a topic that I've touched on in one of my log entries may need a little elaboration, or I may want to put thoughts scattered around many entries together in one place. And so I'll periodically contribute short essays to this site.

For example, I might include an essay on a controversial subject, like the effectiveness of capital punishment. Or I might write a personal essay about growing up or about my philosophy of life or child-rearing.

Writing essays requires a little more work than writing log entries, but it also gives me a chance to really shape and express my thoughts.

Bruce Tinsley, as usual, pushes the right-winged agenda.  First of all, Christmas itself is a takeover of a Roman holiday commemorating the hibernal solstice.  Christians changed this holiday for the birth of Christ, which may have taken place in 6 BCE in fall or even February.  While there's nothing harmful in it -- although Christ was probably born at some other time -- it is silly to postulate that Christ has been driven from Christmas, as Tinsley has done.  Our real problem has not been with liberals, who self-destruct before our eyes, but conservatives, who show as much innovation as Calvin Coolidge did in the 1920's!  On the other hand, I like the next cartoon:

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My thoughts on AL Gore's not running will appear with time.  Do you think I'm Limbaugh or Liddy, prepared with some pat answer?  No, I must think this one out!
Let's look at the reality.  The god Shrub has nowhere to go but down, especially with the bumbling foreign policy.  Even the god Ronald Reagan had a drop with his depression in 1982-3.  The economy is going nowhere,  Shrub proposes another big giveaway to the rich to cure it, placing the federal government into deficits as far a the eye can see into the future.  After it all tickles down, it won't be worth taking it.
Only Al Gore has a decent chance to knock the bastard president out of office.  No other Democrat has the pull, no matter what any of them think.  It also includes the factor that Gore should be in the White House in the first place.  Don't give me the jive about the polls.  Richard Nixon and George Bush were both gods at the beginning of a year, and out the door the next one.  Besides, doesn anyone really think Dick Cheney will stay for another term?  We are about halfway through Shrub's term, so it's time to get used to getting this phony out of office.

Sun 29 Dec 02
Complete Antipathy
Unemployment compensation has run out?  Boo Hoo!  Given that the NRA has scared the hicks to vote Republican, I suppose those unemployed can hunt their meals with their guns, or hire them out for hits.  If they get caught, they won't ever have to worry about unemployment again!  Just continue to worship the god Shrub in jail, suckers!
Now that the cheated president has withdrawn, the god Shrub has a clear path to wreak havoc until 2009.  Canst thou say national security?  Canst thou say stupid hicks?  Canst thou say booboisie?  The federal government will pay the filthy rich their unemployment compensation.  Shrub will see to it, so they will give him tens of millions for his reelection!

Sunday, 15 December 2002
The Shrub Hits the Hicks who Voted for Him
Democrats stayed home in droves in the last election, allowing Shrub to gain more control over Congress.  Shrub is about to push to rich into ripping us off moreso.  Molly Ivins just wrote a column on how Shrub appointed experts in dodging corporate taxes and garnering corporate welfare.  Even Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge didn't profit from their worshipping wealth the way Shrub is doing.
 
Nothing suprises me.  I just began a community on MSN to use the principles of Robert Kiyosaki to BENEFIT more people and to get wealthy in return, not to RIPOFF more people.  I might as well learn the ropes, because -- as one of my fellow Penn State MBA's once said (He's a vicepresident of Sun Bank in Atlanta.) the degenerate public is just too stupid to know they're being used.  That website is http://groups.msn.com/finanancialindependencd/. (Note the spelling of the last word!)
 
Why not?  Stupidity is rampant in this country.  I see where Shrub's dolls are flying off the shelf.  I suppose they will become a shrine to the god Shrub. They can place little green candles around the doll for their daily worship.  Caligula never had it so good!  Even the god Ronald Reagan, who's about to hit 92 on 6 February, never had it this good.  Voters refused to allow Congress to agree to his nineteenth-century senility.
 
We return to the New Deal.  If you are stupid enough to allow the rich to cajole you into thinking they're better because they have the money to buy anything they like, especially more wealth, then you are truly stupid!
 
Shrub is great at hiding behind a so-called war on terror to get his aims.  Ted Ral had a column expressing just that as Shrub is curbing civil liberties, and now is sending hitmen out into the world.  George F Will, in usual right-winged fashion, used post-World War I Germany as his example on how weapons inspectors were so inept.  He, of course, ignored the fact that Britain and France allowed Hitler to build up Germany after the Depression hit.  Allowing Hitler to occupy the Rhineland in 1936 had to rank as the biggest blunder.  What did that incident have to do with inspectors?  As usual I can see right through F Will.  It would be a very bad precedent to invade a country without a real reason (such as an invasion of Kuwait).  Our enemies could justify doing the same to us!

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Friday, 13 December 2002
Trent Lott, Cracker from Mississippi
I'm not so sure I want to add Mississippi to my collection of quarters after Trent Lott shot off his mouth again.  He was feting the old fart, J Strom Thurmond, nineteenth-century senile, when he slipped into his own mode.  He already got away with insults some four years ago when he equated homosexuality with kleptomania, so he must have decided to take on another minority.  Senator, next time you decide to insult a minority, make it heterosexual male crackerbarrels from the South!  Ooh! Segregation is no longer cool?  Neither is homophobia!
 
Wed 25 Dec
Lott blamed the foot in his mouth on others.  Oh, they ARE out to get him!  Shrub even knows better, for if he revealed what he wants to do, he'd be a god no more.  BOOHOO!  I suppose it's all right to criticize Bill Clinton' s definition of "libido" on those conspirators out to get HIM!  Mississippi may have enough crackerbarrels to cover his tracks, but Lott does not have enough people to fool in the entire country.  Lott here shows to be more stupid than Shrub and more devious than Clinton!

Flashback from Tuesday, 9 December 1980 in my diary:
I was watching the Best of Carson last night when the NBC network interrupted with a special report.  I thought that the Soviets had invaded Poland, but John Lennon had been shot and killed in front of his New York apartment.  There's another reason for the death penalty.

Wordsmith's Note: This article appeared in the Bucks County Courier Times on Tuesday, 3 December 2002.  I will reprint the entire article, and then rebut it! 
"Hate is Hate is Hate" by Rod Dreher, a senior writer for National Review Online
The savage murder of Mary Stachowicz, the middle-aged churchgoer allegedly killer by 19-year-old coworker nicholas Gutierrez, has met with a deafening media silence.
Gutierrez, who is homosexual, confessed that he set upon Stachowicz when she asked him, "Why do you (have sex with) boys instead of girls?"  A state's attorney told the Chicago Tribune, "The defendant punched and kicked and stabbed the victim until he was tired.  He then placed a plastic garbage bag over her head and strangled her."
Gutierrez then jammed Stachowicz's body into a crawlspace under his floor.  A 19-year-old man did this to a 51-year-old woman -- not because of anything she did to him, but of what she supposedly said to him.  He didn't say, "Ma'am, my private life is none of your business," or even "Begone, bigot!"  Instead he tortured her to death.
Where have we heard of this sort of thing before?  Why, in 1998, when three men killed Matthew Shepard after he propositioned them in a bar.
Understandably, the men found Shepard's words offensive.  They should have told him to get lost.  But, instead, they tortured  and killed him.
There is no moral difference between these acts.  Yet the same American media that made Matthew Shepard a celebrate cause (sic) have said very little about Mary Stachowicz -- just as they said very little about Jesse Dirhising, the 13-year-old boy raped, tortured, and strangled by homosexuals in 1999.
Andrew Sullivan, probably the most articulate gay-rights advocate in journalism, wrote in a 2001 New Republic article:
"In the month afterr Shepard's murder, Nexis recorded 3007 stories about his death.  In the month after Dirkhising's murder, Nexis recorded 46 stories about his.  In all of last year, only one article about Dirkhising appeared in a major mainstream newspaper.  The Boston Globe, The New York TImes, and The Los Angeles Times ignored the incident completely.  In the same period, The New York Times published 45 stories about Shepard, and The Washington Post published 28.  The discrepancy isn't just real; It's staggering."
One cannot help wondering if our media don't pirvately share the view of gay blogger James Wagner, who said of Stachowicz's strangling:
"The woman who did such great evil is dead, but unfortunately the evil and the church and the society which creates it is not, and it will continue to destroy Nicholas Gutierrez and many others.  I shake, safely sitting here at home, fully understanding, and fully familiar with, the horrible impact her words must have had for a man already so terribly damaged by his society and his own mother."   
Paul Marshall of Freedom House told me recently that the Western media routinely omit anti-Christian motivation in acts of sectarian violence overseas.  Last week in Nigeria, for instance, Muslims destroyed churches and beat and murdered Christians.  Yet in many of the press accounts, there was no mention of who started the violence (Muslims), and who the victims were (Chrisitians).  Typical of the nonjudgmental approach was a report I heard Monday from CNN correspondenct Nancy Curnow, who mentioned "religious violence between Muslims and Christians".
Or consider a New York Times report on an Evangelical Protestant missionary who was murdered in Lebanon.  The headline read: "Killing Underscores Enmity of Evangelists and Muslims".  But that "enmity" unmistakenly goes only one way.  "Whoever did this crime, I forgive them," the victim's husband said at her memorial service.  "It's not easy. It took everything I had, but I can forgive these people because God has forgiven me."
The missionaries, meanwhile, had been denounced by local leaders -- in part because, as one Muslim magazine put it, "They destroy the fighting spirit of the children, especially of the Palestinian youth, by teaching them not to fight the Jews, for the Palestinians to forgive the Jews and leave them Jerusalem."
In Canada, Christians are having their freedom of speech taken away by hate-speech laws designed to protect homosexuals from having their feelings hurt.  Yet in 2000, when radical feminists threw condoms and soiled tampons at the altar of Montreals' Catholic cathedral -- and burned crosses on the cathedral steps -- prosecutors said the event didn't even trigger Canada's hate-crimes law.
That didn't come from nowhere.  And one trembles to think of where it's going.  This is why we have to talk about Mary Stachowicz.

Click here to see "These People are Victims, Too" by Rod Dreher, for the full column.

Here is the actual letter I sent:
These People Are Victims, Too
Sir, I read your column, and a major error weakens your credibility.  You complain that the media pay too much attention to one murder, yet you stated the case as "three redneck men killed Matthew Shepard when the homosexual young man propostioned them in a bar".  Public records show no such propostion, and no third man.  You assumed Shepard provoked his murderers because he was gay.
When a murder intimidates an entire class of society, there are more victims.  Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson and the ghost hung Shepard on a fencepost like a trophy and left his battered body to die as a warning to other gays.  McKinney deserved death, along with the killers of Billy Jack Gaither, whose gruesome death on a pyre has also been ignored.
 
Sir, you should have been outraged that McKinney could threaten to use Shepard's past to avoid the death penalty.  You should have condemned all the excuses defendants can conjure, especially "gay panic" (or the devil made me do it).  Henderson explicitly denied that Shepard touched McKinney in the truck right before they robbed him.  They had just left the bar, where no witnesses saw any proposition.McKinney still used "gay panic", even after the jusge denied the defense.  This case changed my opinion of victims' impact statements.  so I now agree with the Supreme Court, which has upheld penalties added to biased crimes.
 
Jesse Dirkhising died accidentally.  The pedophiles had tried to molest a girl earlier that month.  The case is neither murder, nor biased crime, and the pedophiles were justly punished.
When existing laws cover the crime,  it is routine.  Your choice to smear Matthew Shepard brings doubt upon your account of the Stachowicz murder.  I suggest next time you write about the Shepeard case, you research it, starting with Judy Shepard's site at http://www.matthewsplace.com
 
My home state of Pennsylvania is about to include orientation as a protected class.  The next step bans discrimination in employment.
 
What I'd really like to add:  Sir, I'd have liked to have been that third man.  Matthew Shepard and I would be celebrating his 26th birthday on 1 December, and Henderson and McKinney would still be in jail, when the law finally caught up with their drug-dealing and burglaries.
  
Matt probably likes my defense, but I'm sure he'd like how I toned down the rhetoric.  I agree I wrote much better coolly.

Here's what I sent to the local newspaper, edited to its essence under 200 words (the limit):
 
I read Ron Dreher's column last Tuesday, and a major error weakens his credibility.  He complains the media pay too much attention to one murder, yet he states the case as "three men killed Matthew Shepard when he propositioned them in a bar".  Public records show no such proposition, and no third man.  He assumed Shepard must have provoked his murderers because he was gay.
 
When a murder intimidates an entire class of society, there are more victims.  Aaron McKinney, Russell Henderson, and ghost hung Shepard on a fencepost like a trophy, and left his battered body to die as a warning to other gays.  Dreher should have been outraged that McKinney could threaten to use Shepard's past to avoid the death penalty.  He should have condemned all the excuses murderers can conjure, especially "gay panic".
 
When existing laws cover the crime, it is routine.  His choice to smear Matthew Shepard brings doubt upon his account of the Stachowicz murder.  I suggested to him the next time he writes about the Shepard case, he research it, starting with Judy Shepard's site at http://www.matthewsplace.com.
 
Check my website with the opinion (in full) at http://buddybest.tripod.com/krolcases/id3.html.

Thu 28 Nov
Molly Ivins, the originator of "Shrub", once again rips off the facade of the rich in a column, "Rewarding Tax Cheats with Governement Contracts".  The crackers and the hicks just don't get it.  Their precious Republicans, who exploit the lower classes against each other well, are paying off their patrons.  Not only are dodgers setting up offshore loophoes to evade taxes, but Shrub and company give them contracts.  Tyco, Ingersoll-Rand, and Eli Lily only show it pays to buy influence.  Plutocracy still rules!

"Dear Jesse", a film which Tim Kirkman made about the reelection efforts of Jesse Helms in North Carolina in 1996, would be rather obscure if he hadn't inadvertently interviewed Matthew Wayne Shepard and his boyfriend on the first day at Catawba College. 
Wednesday, 20 November 2002
Ordinarily the audience for this film must have an interest in politics, North Carolina, or something similar.  Tim Kirkman take us on an odyssey of a gay man's return home.  He notes the similarities he has with Jesse Helms, and he interviews many (people) during the campaign of 1996.
There are a few lessons in political science in this film.  The most relevant must be the strategy of "divide and conquer", which Helms, Shrub, and other politicians use.
Friday, 22 November
The poor whites, the constituency of George C Wallace, are the target, and they fall for race and orientation.  In the antebellum South, the plantation owners often hired white trash to recapture slaves.  The Republicans are doing the same along class.
Why Jesse Helms?  Somwhow his appeal of honesty overrides any disagreement (and it worked for the god Pruneface (aka Ronald Reagan)).  Fear of the unknown, or even thinking for oneself, simply keeps the hicks and crackers in the general store.
Shrub has hidden his intentions, so he is vulnerable to appearance of disingenuousness.  The Religious Right faded this midterm election..  The problem is that many Democrats simply didn't vote in 2002.
The interview with MWS and Lewis Krider I've placed in my own interview, as the bottom as a note.

I am in a burst of activity today, Sunday, 10 November.  I will confine myself to the subject of the last election.  I've read the reactionaries and David Broder, the one who always provokes a thought.  I've read the liberals, if any still exist.  They agree on one point: What is the message of the Democrats?  I still think that the god Shrub will deapothesize as soon as his shallow supporters see where he stands.  I expect his ego will overplay his hand.  At least when Lyndon Johnson won a landslide in 1964, he was smart enough to pass the legislation while he still could.  The swing came back in 1966.  In fact, I'd rather the swing come back in 2004, enough to whack the Shrub out of his illegal gain of the presidency.  Consider me irreconcilable.   I'd rather he be worshipped now, before he must run for reelection (if one may call it that) in 2004.  He should spend his shallow capital rather fast, particularly if he gets the war he wants with Iraq.  His father did no less in 1991.
Meanwhile, I will search for my own economy and finanancial security.  Thanks to the vote, Shrub will now try to privatize Social Security, which will leave a disaster waiting in the next decade.  As Robert Kiyosaki wrote in "Rich Dad Prophecy", most people are NOT investors, yet the government shifted the burden to them with 401(k)'s.  Shrub wants to do the same with Social Security.  Any businessman with brains (and Shrub lacks brains) will tell you that privatizing Social Security is a bad idea.  I intend to learn how to be an investor, but then, I have an IQ in the 130's, and a graduate education.  Can the ordinary person know to learn as well?  I think not.  Say what you will about the poor.  The fact remains that the rich think differently, and they deceive the rest of us by catering to the ignorance of the masses.

Sunday, 27 October 2002
It HAS been awhile since I last wrote.  There is SO much to write, so I'll begin to catch up slowly.  First, Minnesota seems to follow my suiggestion that the Democrats offer Walter Mondale in place of Paul Wellstone.  I mentioned it back on Friday at my workplace, only to get a "I don't care about politics".  Well, politics is EVERYWHERE, and by looking at politics, we get an idea how people behave!
 
Who else was there?  Granted the two Wellstones COULD have run in their Dad's place, but they just asked Mondale to run instead.  Skip Humphrey was a remote possiblity, but the Wellstones would have had to consent.  Given the theft of the presidency in the last election, it'd be political justice if Mondale did get back into the Senate!

Sunday, 9 June 2002
Richard Cohen has an interesting view of the scandal in the Catholic hierarchy.  He noted another incident when Archbishop Rembert Weakland had consented sex with Paul Marcoux, who was 33 at the time.  To quote Danny O Keefe in "Goodtime Charley's Got the Blues" (1972), "You're not a kid at 33."  Subsequently, this "vctim" blackmailed the archbishop.  To quote the column:
 
"Finally, of course, there is a lesson here for the church.  Weakland, who had always been frank about the difficulties of celibacy, has been lost to the church because it, no less than he, could not accommodate the exigencies of human nature.  The church insists on a form of eunichism, setting off its priests from the rest of huanity, which is roiled by sex, lust, love, and any combination of them all, not the least of them being simple physical intimacy.  We all need a hug....
"This wasn't a scandal.  It was a crime."

Monday, 27 May
Over the past two weeks, I've had considerable trouble getting on my website, due to script errors.  I still can't get on with the majority of my five browsers.  Matthew's Place seems to calm down, although there are still a few verbal bullies out there.

Tuesday, 9 April
In "Sales Dogs", one of the new series of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad", Robert Kiyoski's effort, I read a profound statement: Learn to become immune to rejection.  It is a fundamental block to success if one allows rejection to dictate what one does in life.  I will elaborate later

Saturday, 6 April
The controvery of the molestation of priests seems to follow toward blaming homosexuality.  Hello?  The problem is NOT orientation; it is behavior.  Furthermore, it is WRONG to cover up this behavior by shuttling priests to other parishes.  The Vatican simply cannot face the very fact that their standards on sexualtiy are IMPOSSIBLY HIGH.  Even virginity is NOT good enough for them.  Then they allow their own priest to violate the part of their sexual code which is clearly correct.  SEX MUST BE CONSENTUAL.  Rip out the nonsense that ANY sexual thoughts are sinful, expecially masturbation, and maybe we'll get to a code that is enforceable, realistic, and should be applied to priests as well!

Wednesday,  27 March 
I won best speaker (of three) that evening with the following speech.  I now can face Matt at the Pearly Gates with pride!

The Speech To Inspire for Tuesday, 26 March 2002 "Matthew Wayne Shepard Speaks"
8-10 minutes This speech will change as that date approaches. I have changed some of it in light of "The Matthew Shepard Story", shown on NBC on Saturday, 16 March.  I am redoing this speech, because I want to do Matt justice.  I want to face him proudly at the Pearly Gates.  May his spirit help me that night! 

Introduction (Toastmaster):
Since the death of Matthew Wayne Shepard in October 1998, there has been much discussion over gay civil rights. In January 2001 , MTV opened their "Fight for Your Rights" campaign with a fictionalized account of what Shepard might tell us about his outlook on life and his murder. This month there were two debuts concerning the incident: Home Box showed "The Laramie Project" on Saturday, 9 March, and NBC broadcasted an official movie about his life, starring Shane Meier, a week later..

Suppose he could speak to us tonight about his life and philosophy. Here's a possibility:

Matt Explains His View

Are you happy with your life? Do you believe we are spiritual beings in physical bodies? (quoted from Wayne Dyer)
I ask these questions for the following reason:
Prejudice is harmful, not only to the victim, but also to the actor. By projecting one's own guilt and fear onto a group, one refuses to face them. It doesn't help the victim, either.  I should know.  In my short life, I was the target of others' guilt of their own sexuality. 

I tried to live my life as well as I could. I had an empathy and a gentleness that seemed to drive my behavior. I felt myself pulled to others at the same time I couldn't communicate well with my peers. Hence, I associated with older people, who became my refuge. It helped me feel good about my own life.
As I matured, I realized that I was cheated on growth harmone. By the time I was 21, I was the size of the average 13-year-old. I barely outgrew boys' clothing, and my younger brother handed me up his outgrown clothes, often too big for me! I was unhappy with my size in life.
When my Dad got the job in Saudi Arabia, I had the opportunity to travel.  I went to  the American School in Switzerland, where I learned German, Italian, and fitting in with my peers. I tired so hard to fit in that I picked up some bad habits, such as smoking and drinking.
No sooner did I sacrifice to fit in, when I gradually realized that I was gay. So, I had the body of an adolescent homosexual. Under the best of circumstances, it lowered my self-esteem Then  a major disaster hit me.
My senior class trip was in Morocco. One night I couldn't sleep, so I went outside. I walked through the old quarter of Marrakesh, where I found a group of German exchange students. We talked awhile, then I went back to the hotel.
I experienced a fear so overwheming when I encountered a gang of  locals who cornered, robbed and raped me.  They even took my shoes!  It pushed me over the edge. I didn't want to stay in my body anymore; I wanted to die. I never knew whether any of the rapists had passed the AIDS virus to me. The police never caught them, and I always tested negative for HIV up to September 1998, some three and a half years later. Nonetheless, my life had become so painful to endure.

How Matt Lived His Life

I staggered the next few months and finished high school. Depression and anxiety soon forced  me on drugs. Much of the time, they didn't work.  I went to a college in North Carolina for their theater program.  I had a long and abusive relationship. After two years, I broke up with him, and came home. I enrolled in Casper College, in my hometown.  The best thing I could day about Casper College is that it was where I met Romaine Patterson.  I dropped out of college again and followed Romaine to Denver.  I wanted to make it on my own, and Romaine worried so much about me that I called her "my mother disguised as a lesbian".
 Denver was nothing I had expected.  I could not fit in with the community there.  I decided to go back to school at the University of Wyoming, my Dad's alma mater. I wanted to be a diplomat in the foreign service.  I still went on outings with the family.  In January, we visited Alcatraz, when Gina Van Hoof took my picture, many on my good days. Gina and I had a trusting relationship from our days in Switzerland.  She kept trying to get me to smile, even though I didn't want to show my braces.
The summer of 1998 was my last fling. The bad days kept coming, particularly when I was drinking. I became loud and boisterous, and sometimes I'd flirt. When that bartender in Cody punched me out, I relived the rape. Eventually I was so embarassed to have accused him of raping me, I forgave him. I'd hoped he'd forgiven me!
(I was still reminded daily how small I was, how hard it was to fit in, and how depression and anxiety controlled me.)  My dad encouraged me to go to UW. He gave me his truck, so big I could barely touch the floorboard. I should have driven the truck to the Fireside that night. Even better, I should have stayed home.

The point I am trying to make is I could not overcome my difficulties at that time. Perhaps later I could have accepted my life and moved on, but at that time, I often thought of suicide. (Instead of lashing out at others in prejudice and hate, I lashed out and hated myself.)  All I could see was a small, blond gay man with braces and freckles who could not behave maturely. 
(Pause, look down, and sigh.)
Almost everyone knows about my trip to the Tornado -- the gay bar -- the Friday before I was beaten. Tina LaBrie and I took a limousine to Fort Collins, and the drinking soon took me over. On the way back, I told Tina I wanted to take an overdose of Klonoprin, for that drug was working. Then I asked to listen to her heartbeat. In her arms I felt so alive and accepted. I felt something alive, and I wanted to live!
It was not the last time I'd felt like dying. I had a panic attack the following Tuesday.  Midterms were coming, and I was not prepared. I face the possiblity that I was going to flunk out of my Dad's alma mater and for the third time!  I could not stay in my apartment. I had to leave and find someone I could talk to, which led to the Fireside Bar. Then I desperately seeked new friends, which led to a lethal encounter when I accepted that ride home.

Matt's Philosophy

Throughout these tough years, I learned some things about life. Each of us really wants to live our lives to the fullest. Each of us must face our difficulties. Each of us must learn to tolerate others. People argue about what I want for my legacy. Well, it is difficult because my fame came after I could tell anyone.
Unfortunately, I cannot escape fame so easily. Like Ryan White, my cause stems from how we treat each other. How we treat each other once again leads us back to how satisfied we are with our own lives. Do we like ourselves? Are we wise enough to err on the side of harmony? Do we send the message that we will not condone biased crimes? Can we see that tolerance is actually pleasure?
"Okay, Matt", I hear you think. "How can tolerance be pleasure?"
Well, in my experiences, I found out that by making others feel good, we make ourselves feel good. By accepting differences, we accept our own deficiencies. We cease wasting energy in denying our own shortcomings, and we focus toward improving ourselves. If we are spiritual beings in physical bodies, we "only connect" with other spiritual beings. (We may agree to disagree, but we have progressed.)  It is what I wish for the world. 

Matt's Conclusions

If my life has caused a dialogue between a gay and a straight, then my life was worthwhile.  I have seen the tumult over the past three years, and I think that I have caused some of the dialogue. (We want to be tolerant. We want to be happy. We want to gain pleasure.)
Still, I wish I had the answer to one question: Did my death accomplish what I wanted to accomplish in life? That's up to you now. I want you to remember me, not for the sake of remembering me. I want you to remember me to feel good about yourselves. Life is worth living, and it will be enriched if we learn to tolerate. (We must leave our comfort zones and learn more than tolerance.) We must learn to accept, appreciate, and approve others, for it is how we are accepted, appreciated and approved. Won't you join me to seek a better world? (RFK)
 
Note: all parts in parentheses, I skipped in the actual speech!

Saturday, 9 March:
I had only a glimpse at "The Laramie Project", for we don't get it.  My relatives are supposed to tape it for me.  So far, I'd say I would not change the speech in two weeks.
 
Ireland barely voted for sanity in a referendum on their Supreme Court's decision to allow abortion in extreme cases.  The rurals made it close, while Dublin voted overwhemingly against the referendum to overturn the decision.  Could it be that Ireland is moving toward putting the prelates in their place?

Sunday, 3 February
My latest letter to the editor:

Molly Ivins once again exposes the exploits of the current occupant of the White House. I was not surprise that George W Shrub enriched himself while ripping off the shareholders and employees of a firm, not to mention violating public rules of disclosure. The suckers still accept his bastard presidency and the shennanigans that put him in office, so why not? Let Shrub and his rich malefactors rip shareholders and the public off. If Enron can pay no taxes, yet receive rebates, so can the others, provided they stay solvent!

Earlier in the week, Cal Thomas, in his usual snooty hypocricy, blamed Enron employees for their greed. Hello? Enron's executives cooked the books and lied about the stock. It does not matter what the shareholders' motives are if management is not disclosing the truth about the stock. How on earth can one make a decision about such a stock? Furthermore, Arthur Anderson enabled and abetted the deceit. I agree that "the real tragedy is that this could have been prevented if their decisions had been based on sound financial principles rather than emotion and greed." Such sound financial principles include open disclosure and realistic accounting. Doesn't Mr Secretary of the Moron Majority think that lying is wrong? How about theft? It would be different had Enron been open about its debt. Then I agree that the employees were foolish to place so much faith in one stock. Risk is part of capitalism, but management may not hide the risk, let alone profit from the collapse of its own company.

Tuesday, 25 December
Last Thursday, the reactionary Wall Street Journal had an editorial about Mumia Abu-Jamal. I hate it when I agree with them. Abu-Jamal should have been dead long ago. Federal Judge William Yohn Jr just yawned us out of a death sentence. We have 180 days for a new sentencing hearing. Why? Appeal and end this nonsense. Kill Mumia! He's an embarassment to Philadelphia.

Sunday, 16 December
I tried to leave that speech alone until Christmas, but to no avail. Ideas keep popping into my head about how I should improve it. Unfortunately, I must prune it, especially if Matt's biography reveals some extra points.

Sunday, 18 November 2001

John Ashcroft must think the public forgot his pledge to enforce the laws and not his ideology. Oregon has made assisted suicide legal in a narrow sense. It is not the business of the federal government to stick its nose into it. All the rationale in the world does not justify overriding states' rights when one feels like it. Unfortunately, a dead man cannot replace Ashcroft in his current position.

Saturday, 17 November 2001
How ironic that my last two entries are on my father's jahrzeit and now on my father's birthday. Anyway, I've just received an insulting letter from the illustrious Rick Santorum, whom I'm ashamed to admit represents my state in the Senate.

In this letter, he urges me to support an amendment madness known as "The Federal Marriage Amendment". A better name is "The Federal Homophobic Amendment". If marriage needs defense, then it's in very sad shape.

Let's look at this amendment from a Republican view. Hello, didn't Republicans stand for states' rights, that the federal government has no right to dictate what states do? Doesn't this "amendment" do exactly the opposite? If states want to have civil unions, then they should have them! Let them experiment! Santorum and other homophobes just see that -- the Supreme Court will allow these unions because it's states' rights!
Furthermore, the letter compares this nonissue to Roe vs Wade. Hello, Santorum, I left the Catholic church over legalized abortion. Take thy bigotry and shove it!

Sunday, 14 October 2001
Herblock is dead!

Where was I that I just learned that Herbert Block died, a whole week ago? I have a few letters I'd received from him because I'd written to him for his birthdays. I suppose it's a subtile reminder that we all are mortal. Herblock had just passed his 92nd birthday on 3 October, still active in his cartoons.
I first became a fan in 1979, when I was in Pattee Library doing research on history. Herblock's cartoons are even in collegiate books. Herblock was my model for drawing my own cartoons. I must honor him by continuing his example, with my own innovations! He always had a professional finish to his cartoons; he'd draw details of the flag, the Capitol, the White House, which reflected how they actually look! He still drew the old fashioned way, by hand! I will miss him!

Text to the speech at Toastmasters on Tuesday, 9 October 2001, "Group-Biased Crime"

On this date three years ago, disturbing news emerged from Laramie Wy and Fort Collins CO. A gay student from the University of Wyoming had been roobed and severely beaten, then tied to a fence for eighteen hours. By this time, we knew the identities of the victim and the assailants. Furthermore, Police knew why the main assailant, and eventual murderer, had committed the crime. He had selected the victime because he was alone, small, subdued, and gay. Subsequently, the murdere revealed that he expected a lesser penalty because the victim was gay.

The beating and murder caused an international movement against hate crime, which I will call group-biased crime. President Clinton called upon Congress to include sexual orientation as a protected class in federal law. Leaing the oppostion, Trent Lott, majority leader from Mississippi, showed his ignorance by equating homosexuality with fornication, molestation, and kleptomania! To quote Melissa Etheridge in "Scarecrow": "Showers of your crimson blood, seep into a nation, calling up a flood of narrow minds, who legislate, thinly veiled intolerance, bigotry and hate...."

Let's look at the two major objections of adding orientation as an aggravating circumstance, justifying a greater punishment. They are that such a law will stifle freedom of speech and that we don't need them.

If adding orientation as a protected class stifles freedom of speech, why aren't the other classed doing the same? The Supreme Court has allowed a broad range of free expression, including burning the flag as a form of protest. The only exceptions have been when speech causes disorder, such as the famous cry of "fire" in a crowded theater. Only incitement to riot or using "fighting words" deserve suppression. Calling someone "faggot" is the same as "nigger" or "kike". In fact, often the speaker doesn't even know the orientation of the target. Years ago, in 1968, the Court allowed someone (CA vs Cohen) to have "Fuck the draft" on the back of his jacket. Is it any different than wearing a shirt with the Trix rabbit, which reads "Silly faggot, dix are for chix"? Thus, free speech remains free. These penalties increase when there is an actual crime which is biased. The Court has already ruled on such statues. Because the penalty is criminal, not civil, the Court ruled that the prosecution must prove "beyond a reasonable doubt", not "preponderance of the evidence". Free speech cannot be a crime, and hateful speech by itself cannot be beyond a reasonable doubt.

The second objection is that we don't need to add another class for additional penalty. SOme have ridiculed it to the extent that eventually everyone will be covered. I will give you an example of why this statement misses the point.

I knew an obnoxious character in high school. He baited us because he ssumed that he was safe from attack. He was slightly handicapped, so he thought he could get away with being offensive. He is the only murdered member of my class of 1975. Late in 1986 he probably provoked his coworkers to beat him to death, stuff his body in a trunk, then dump his body in a field. His murderers each received a life sentence; I'd given them death. Nonetheless, this crime was aimed at an individual, which current laws cover. So I agree with the opposition on that point.

In the murder of Matthew Shepard, the assailants hung him on a fence and intimidated an entire group. When the crime is aimed at an individual AND a group, it demands a greater penalty. Furthermore, Aaron McKinney, proud murderer of Matthew Shepard, avoided the death penalty by using the "gay panic" defense. His codefendant denied that Shepard had touched McKinney, the judge ruled against it, yet the defence could still use it to assassinate the decedent's character.

I am for defendants' right, but it's time to add to victims' rights, especially when a group is the victim. All the Supreme Court can do is allow it. THis case has convinced me that adding penalty to crimes against groups is a first step toward ending bias. The movement has been slowly gaining. Many states have such laws. Texas just passed the James Byrd Hate Crime bill. Because Shrub wasn't there to veto it, it's law. Other states have repeals or overruled their unenforceable laws on sodomy. The Supreme Court could have done so in Bowers vs Hardwick in 1986, but the critical vote did not come. Later Lewis Powell admitted he should have voted to end all laws against sex between two consenting adults. Finally, we have seen even more work ro be done against discrimination against orientation in the workplace. Every little victory helps, but adding orientation to biased crime laws will push it forward.

Finally, we have an example of violence against individuals and groups. The terrorist attacks of 11 September were not aimed solely at the Americans they killed. The terrorists victimized all Americans by shattering our security. Therefore, as heinous as the terrorist attacks were, they were worse than crimes against individuals. The Supreme Court has allowed the death penalty of accomplices to murder, and they allow victim-impact statements. Unfortunately, the terrorist attacks have made everyone feel victimized. However, we all know the sting of group-biased crime. Therefore, I favor such laws against group-biased crime.

Sunday, 7 October 2001
Nearly a month has passed since the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I'd thought that at least Catholicism would avoid the ranting of Pat Robertson Fred Phelps, and Jerry Falwell, but I was wrong.
The homily appeared good on its surface. "God is not punishing us. God is good; it's against His nature to do evil." Then, last night, I found a variation on the same old theme. "God allows evil because we've accepted sin." The priest mentioned abortion and sexuality. The Vatican will not budge from its perverted view that sex outside of procreation is sinful. Those celibate old men just have NO idea of the real world. The priest made no mention of any other lass of sin, such as murder. Does God allow evil only because of sexual sins?
On this date three years ago, Matthew Wayne Shepard hung like a scarecrow on a deerfence outside of Laramie WY. Did his "sin" of homosexuality cause God to allow his beating to death? The priest said that God can make good of evil, and He has. Matt's death has changed many attitudes about homosexuality, mine included. We are struggling as a society to come to terms with this variation of sexuality. Perhaps we must realize that we are all sexual beings, and we must stop projecting our guilt onto other groups. There's a sin which merits God to allow evil into our lives!
As I sat there with my head down and my eyes closed, so the priest couldn't see my eyes roll, I thought of Matt. Then I prayed for his soul, even though I don't think he needs it. If God allows evil because of sin, what evil did He allow on the hijackers, or even on Henderson and McKinney? At least we don't have to support those terrorists in prison, but Wyoming must support at least one useless piece of humanity for life. Neither has to labor hard for a living anymore. What evil God allowed for the sin of murder?

A Surprising Lineup on the Supreme Court: Kyllo vs US
Usually the Supreme Court splits in predictable ways, but this case defied it. The question was: May agents use a thermal imaging device to scan a home to determine if the amount of heat eminating from it was consistent with the high-intensity lamps used for the growth of marijuana?

A 5-4 decision said no. The question revolved around the Fourth's prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures. Where the governement uses a device not in general use to the public, to explore details of a private home that would have previously been unknowable without physical intrusion, the surveillance is a Fourth Amendment search, and is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant.

What the Court did is answer whether it was a reasonable search. The lineup is astounding. Scalia wrote the opinion, but it is consistent with his reluctance to delve into new territory, similar to the flag-burning hysteria back in 1989. Should they allow this search, then the door is open to all kinds of searches. Scalia also heavily relied on the doctrine of Katz, which Earl Warren's Court used in 1967. If the defendant does not expose his actitivities in a physical closure, then he does have a reasonable right of privacy, immune to governmental interference. In other words, don't grow marijuana in the field or the backyard, do it within a private dwelling.

The lineup: Scalia, Souther, Thomas, Ginsburg, and Breyer. The dissent: Stevens, Rehnquist, O Connor, and Kennedy.

Scalia is quite consistent in his reluctance, along with Thomas, of opening more litigation. In Arizona vs Hicks, back in 1987, he refused to allow the cops to peek at serial numbers without probable cause that the items were stolen. As much as I disagree with Scalia, at least he is consistent.