By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
Look behind us," says Eric Nellis. "It's the highway patrol."
Damn straight -- zooming up behind the sedan Nellis is driving along a lonely stretch of Wyoming road on this crisp but clear November morning is a squad car with its light rack percolating. Nellis, a clean-cut 22-year-old with a crooked smile and a jovial nature, checks the speedometer: He's a good ten miles per hour under the speed limit, and so is the vehicle he's following, a truck towing a black trailer that looks like a half-built float intended for a particularly funereal parade. (A third vehicle in the convoy is farther ahead.) After exchanging glances with Jo Scott, the personable, frizzy-haired woman on his right, he looks into the backseat at his most important passenger -- a fortyish fellow with a dramatic wave of dark hair, a paunchy midsection, prominent jowls, a reddish birthmark on his upper lip (it's probably why he used to wear a mustache), fiery eyes and a black T-shirt that reads "Judge Rightly Is Not Some Guy's Name" on the back and "ShadowGov.com" across the front. "What do you think it is?" Nellis wonders.
"I think," says Bob Enyart, "that they're expecting us."
Previous Westword articles|
"The Gay Nineties,"
"Fact or Friction,"
"Slay It With a Smile,"
Enyart should know: He's a protest veteran -- the Christian zealot (and proud of it!) who spent 25 grand on O.J. Simpson memorabilia in February in order to set it ablaze; the religious kook (like that's a bad thing!) who traveled all the way to New Zealand in September simply to be arrested for greeting the President of the United States with "Clinton is a Rapist" banners; the right-wing zany (a noble calling!) who's been able to slip his radical views under the anti-Christian radar with the aid of programs like ABC's Politically Incorrect, on which he's appeared three times in the past six months. See Bob discuss the proper way to discipline a child with Martin Short and Donny Osmond. Hear Bob snipe at British talk-show hostess Ruby Wax. Watch Bob debate the evils of pornography with Hustler publisher Larry Flynt.
Publicity is Bob's goal -- there can be absolutely no doubt about that -- and on this day, he thinks he's figured out how to get another fix. Aaron McKinney is sitting in Laramie's Albany County Courthouse waiting to learn if jurors will convict him for his part in the fatal attack on gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard in October 1998 and then slap him with the death penalty. And Enyart knows what their verdict on the latter should be: yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
Not that Enyart has anything in common with those whiny, queer-loving sob sisters who see the Shepard tragedy as a way to get faggotry protected under hate-crime legislation. Far from it.
The Bible argues that sodomy is a transgression punishable by death, and who is Bob to argue? But as he makes clear on ShadowGov.com, an Internet "shadow government" (and, um, merchandise headquarters) whose constitution will be unveiled on January 1, 2000, he also believes that convicted murders should be treated like rabid dogs -- put 'em down, and do it fast.
And if the jurors or the judge or other representatives of the liberal governing bodies currently afflicting us are too wimpy, too gutless, too metaphysically misguided to do the deed when it comes to McKinney, well, Enyart is more than happy to do it for them, and in an appropriate way, too. Tie him to a fence, just like he and his sick-minded buddy, Russell Henderson, did to Shepard. And then beat him. Beat him like there's no tomorrow. Because for him, there wouldn't be.
To illustrate his willingness, Enyart has cooked up a live-action presentation that he plans to debut with a little help from his friends. Nellis will play McKinney -- he doesn't look much like him, but with plenty of fake blood and a tub of shoe polish to turn his light hair black, people should get the idea -- and he will be joined by a merry band of co-conspirators: Jo Scott, who's been a full-time missionary and anti-abortion activist for nearly two decades; Ken Scott, Jo's husband and fellow missionary, a strapping, tightly wound sort with a way of setting his jaw that says, "Mess with me at your peril"; Doug McBurney, Enyart's business manager and closest associate, a compact, charismatic bundle of righteous indignation; John Geiser, a kindly jokester who retired a while back from United Airlines; Marc Geiser, age fifteen, John's often jarringly intense grandson; Matt Sutherland -- like Marc, a fifteen-year-old product of home-schooling à la the religious right; and Josiah Enyart, Bob's son, an unexpectedly rebellious-looking sixteen-year-old whose short-cropped hair has a blue tint to it. "He's spent some time in public schools," Enyart explains.
They hardly look like shock troops, but these eight ShadowGov defenders have been on the picket lines often enough to be ready for anything -- which is why they headed north from Denver to Wyoming only after making the proper arrangements. Enyart found out who was the badge in charge of overseeing the various demonstrators eager to grind their axes outside the McKinney trial and had let him know the time and date of their impending arrival well in advance.