September 26, 2007

The Laramie Project

I know that the issue this post is on happened awhile ago, but I'm reading this now, and I have to write about it or it's going to eat at me.

I'm reading The Laramie Project for one of my classes right now. For those who don't know, The Laramie Project is a play written by the Tectonic Theater Project about the beating and murder of Matthew Shepherd. The members of the theater project went to the town that he was murdered in and interviewed the inhabitants there.

Some of the stuff in this book fills me with such a feeling of depression. The fact that people do things like that to other human beings in general depresses me, but I know it happens. What depresses me even more, though, is some of the reactions to the crime. There's a quote in the play that says:

"There's more gay people around than what you think. It doesn't bother anybody because most of 'em that are gay or lesbian they know damn well who to talk to. If you step out of line you're asking for it. Some people are saying he made a pass at them. You don't pick up regular people. I'm not excusing their actions, but it made me feel better because it was partially Matthew Shepard's fault and partially the guys who did know, maybe it's fifty-fifty" (58).

Excuse me? It's partially this boy's fault that he was brutally murdered if he came on to someone? I don't see how hitting on someone sets you up for murder, or any kind of violence. It reminds me of arguments about rape being the woman's fault if she wore a low-cut blouse, or drank. How exactly is the victim of a crime as much to blame as the perpetrator? It baffles me. It gives me an ugly feeling inside. I don't care WHAT you believe - Choosing one lifestyle over another does not make you 50% responsible if you get killed. It doesn't even make you 1% responsible. I'm pretty sure "he had it coming" is the worst response EVER to a murder or a crime.

Another quote that sickened me was a response to a question about hate crime legislation. "I would like to urge the people of Wyoming against overreacting in a way that gives one group 'special rights over others'" (48). Hate crime legislation qualifies as giving one group "special privileges"???? The right not to be beaten or attacked because of your sexual orientation/race/etc is a -privilege-?

I know that this book has been out for awhile, and I know that this stuff has probably been discussed before, but to actually read certain people's thoughts in print...I don't understand people.

No comments: