Rhetorical Analysis Of Matthew Shepard's 'About Us'

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On October 7, 1998, Matthew Shepard, a gay 21-year-old college student, was abducted by two men who took him to a remote area, tied him to a fence, severely beat him with the butt of a pistol, and left him to die in the cold of the night (Matthew Shepard Foundation, “About Us”). Matthew Shepard’s death became a symbol for the deadly effect that prejudice can have on an innocent, young adult, and it gave people a chance to begin to understand how to accept people of different sexual orientations. However, 18 years later, America still hasn’t learned from Matthew Shepard’s death, and that is most evident in the Orlando night club shooting. June 12, 2016 brought upon a new era of anti-gay hate crimes when 49 people were killed and 53 were injured…show more content…
Cox speaks of them in terms of human beings rather than statistics of a heinous crime. “They each had goals, talents, friends, and family. They are you and they are me” (6). By discussing how each person had led normal and meaningful lives up until their untimely deaths, Cox is able to portray them as equal to straight males and females. This pathetic appeal evokes sorrow because it calls attention to the fact that those harmed from the shooting could have been anybody’s friend, brother, or sister.. Also, when Cox refers to the victims as being one with him and the audience, he reiterates how beyond the fact that they were gay, they were normal people who just wanted “to relax, to laugh, to connect…” (6). Describing them as more than just statistics, Cox furthers his desire for the anguish toward the LGBTQ community to diminish because he highlights how those who died, died while wanting to have a good time, away from the prejudice of the outside world. Additionally, Cox discussed how when he was younger, he wasn’t always compassionate to those who were LGBTQ in his high school. However, he goes on to talk about how when he met more people from the LGBTQ community, they changed his judgmental views and made him more accepting of those different from him. When addressing the LGBTQ community, he…show more content…
During a time where grieving and sadness was prevalent, the people at the candlelight vigil were not only faced with how to comprehend the tragedy of the Pulse shooting but how to create a better future where such acts of terror do not exist. As a “middle-aged straight, white, male, Republican, politician,” Cox is the opposite of who would be expected to support those different from him (1). However, throughout his speech, he illustrates not only the allegiance he has with the LGBTQ people, but also his goal of replacing the resentment towards them with the respect that he, and many other people have. As injustice towards those of different races and sexual orientations remain prominent, Americans must remember that even if it may seem impossible to accept someone of a different sexual orientation or skin color, one must try to learn to be more understanding, or else hate crimes like the Orlando shooting will become a common
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