October 2019


21: Matthew “Matt” Wayne Shepard – *December 1, 1976; †October 12, 1998

Gosh. It’s hard to believe that another year has passed.

It seems like just yesterday I was reflecting on 20 years since Matthew Shepard died; now it is 21.

Whenever I sit down to reflect about his beating, his hospitalization, and his death – I am immediately transported back to that horrid day, 21 years ago, in October 1998, when hints of the news started to come out in the media.

Being 1,000 miles from Laramie instead of zero – that out of body emotional feeling as I sat at my desk, trying to interact coherently with my friends and colleagues all while feeling like my world was imploding.

Matthew Shepard’s brutal murder represents the biggest thing in my life. There’s before his murder and after his murder. His death transformed me in immeasurable little ways – how I taught classes, how I perceive people around me, how I think about human relations.

I never want to get to the point where writing this is easy. Nor do I want it to be (excessively) repetitive from previous years. I also do not want it to become too much navel gazing. A point I think I just hit.

Twenty-one years later, I still wish I did not know his name – he should be 42 years old, working some awesome job somewhere, making a difference in this world, but – unless he became famous for legitimate reasons – I would live my life not knowing his name, much like I do not know the names of any of his fellow freshmen political science students, those who enrolled in fall 1998, the summer after I left Laramie.


For historical reference, see 2004200520062007200820092010201120122013,  2014201520162017, 2018, or any of the many times he’s been mentioned on my blog via a search for Matthew Shepard.

Comments are closed.