Evidence for the Argument Essay on The Laramie Project
You may use the following quote for the introduction to your essays:
“An ethnodrama, the written script, consists of dramatized, significant selections of narrative collected through interviews, participant observation field notes, journal entries, and/or print and media artifacts such as diaries, television broadcasts, newspaper articles, and court proceedings. Simply put, this is dramatizing the data.”
-from Ethnodrama: An Anthology of Reality Theatre; Edited by Johnny Sadana; AltaMira Press, CA 2005
The following quotations are from The Laramie Project and should be used as evidence to support your claim:
Marge Murray (mother of Reggie Fluty) – “As far as the gay issue, I don’t give a damn one way or the other as long as they don’t bother me. And even if they did, I’d just say no thank you. And that’s the attitude of most of the Laramie population. They might poke one, if they were in a bar situation, you know, they had been drinking, they might actually smack one in the mouth, but then they’d just walk away. Most of ‘em, they would say, ‘I don’t swing that way,’ and whistle on about their business. Laramie is live and let live” (17).
Catherine Connolly (college professor) – “…I was the first ‘out’ lesbian or gay faculty member on campus.” Another lesbian who worked on campus called her and wanted to meet her. Regarding this, Connolly writes, “…there were other lesbians that she knew who wouldn’t be seen with me. That I would irreparably taint them, that just to be seen with me could be a problem” (22).
Kristin Price (Aaron McKinney’s girlfriend) – “Aaron said that a guy walked up to him and said that he was gay, and wanted to get with Aaron and Russ. And Aaron got aggravated with it and told him that he was straight and didn’t want anything to do with him and walked off. He said that is when he and Russell went to the bathroom and decided to pretend they were gay and get him in the truck and rob him. They wanted to teach him a lesson not to come on to straight people” (30-31).
Matt Galloway (bartender at the Fireside Lounge the night Matthew was abducted) – “He wasn’t approaching anybody in the bar. They say he’s gay, he was a flaming gay, he’s gonna come on to people like that. Bullshit. He never came on to me. Hello?!? He came on to them? I don’t think so” (31).
Reggie Fluty (officer who got to Matthew first) – “The gentleman that was laying on the ground, Matthew Shepard, he was covered in dry blood all over his head, there was dry blood underneath him and he was barely breathing… He was covered in , like I said, partially dry blood and blood all over his head – the only place that he did not have any blood on him, on his face, was what appeared to be where he had been crying down his face. His head was distorted – you know, it did not look normal – he looked as if he had a real harsh head wound” (36).
Dr. Cantway (the doctor who first attended Matthew in the hospital) – “…you expect this kind of injuries to come from a car going down a hill at eighty miles an hour. You expect to see gross injuries from something like that – this horrendous, terrible thing” (36).
Judge at the arraignment – “… after Mr. Shepard confided he was gay, the subjects deceived Mr. Shepard into leaving with them in this vehicle to a remote area. Upon arrival at said area, both subjects tied their victim to a buck fence, robbed him, tortured him, and beat him … Said defendants left the victim begging for his life” (45).
Gil Engen (Laramie rancher) – “You git bad apples once in a while. And I think that the gay community took this as an advantage, said this is a good time for us to exploit this” (49).
Bill McKinney (Aaron’s father) – “Had this been a heterosexual these two boys decided to take out and rob, this never would have made the national news. Now my son is guilty before he’s even had a trial” (49).
Jen (Aaron’s friend) – “It probably would’ve pissed him off that Matthew was gay ‘cause he didn’t like – the gay people that I’ve seen him interact with, he was fine as long as, you know, they didn’t hit on him. As long as it didn’t come up” (61).
Shannon (Aaron’s friend) – “We’re a product of our society” (62).
Harry Woods (gay man living in Laramie) – “There were five thousand people marching for Matthew. Five hundred people. Can you imagine? … And people kept joining in. And you know what? I started to cry. Tears were streaming down my face. And I thought, “Thank God that I got to see this in my lifetime.” And my second thought was, “Thank you, Matthew” (63-64).
Sherry Johnson (administrative assistant at the university in Laramie) – “Everybody’s got problems. But why they exemplified him I don’t know. What’s the difference if you’re gay? A hate crime is a hate crime. If you murder somebody, you hate ‘em. It has nothing to do with if you’re gay or a prostitute or whatever. I don’t understand. I don’t understand” (64-65).
Governor Geringer – “I would like to urge the people of Wyoming against overreacting in a way that gives one group ‘special rights over others.’ We will wait and see if the vicious beating and torture of Matthew Shepard was motivated by hate” (48).
Aaron McKinney (from the police recorded confession) – “We drove him out past Wal-Mart. We got over there, and he starts grabbing my leg and grabbing my genitals. I was like, ‘Look, I’m not a fuckin’ faggot. If you touch me again you’re gonna get it.’ I don’t know what the hell he was trying to do but I beat him up pretty bad. Think I killed him” (90).
Dennis Shepard (Matthew’s father – excerpted from the trial transcript) – “Matt believed that there were crimes and incidents that justified the death penalty. I too believe in the death penalty. I would like nothing better than to see you die, Mr. McKinney. However, this is the time to begin the healing process. To show mercy to someone who refused to show any mercy” (96).