By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
"Everything Bob says about homosexuals is right," Oeschle says. "It's disgusting, they are exceedingly promiscuous, and many of them tend to move toward grosser and more vile practices because it's not fulfilling anymore."
Oeschle has since renounced his homosexuality ("I'm not free from my desires -- the flesh does pull -- but I'm certainly free from my desire to act on those desires") and is doing his best to live Bob's idea of a Christian life. He's picked up numerous items from the ShadowGov site in the past, and he's planning to purchase more because "I've got Christmas presents I need to buy."
People like Oeschle are keeping Enyart afloat. Financial records Enyart made available to Westword indicate that his assorted pursuits brought in around $293,000 from January 1, 1999, to the first week of December 1999, versus just over $400,000 in 1998. That's a considerable dropoff, but not as precipitous as Enyart expected: "When we went off TV, we thought we'd go down to 5 percent of what we'd done."
Previous Westword articles|
"The Gay Nineties,"
"Fact or Friction,"
"Slay It With a Smile,"
Of the 1999 total, around $122,000 came from sales of products such as videocassettes (God & the Death Penalty; Infanticide Exposed on the Pages of the New York Times; Terry's Call: On Converting a Homosexual), pamphlets ("Over-population and Murder," "Coming Out of the Closet," "Should Homos Adopt?") and curios like The First Five Days: The Rebirth of America, an Enyart-written novel about the institution of the Shadow Government that comes complete with a front-cover testimonial from none other than Doug McBurney (identified as "television producer, Denver"). Another $123,000 is credited to donations whose amounts correspond to "battle plans" against liberalism: $25 for "Guerilla Warfare," $50 for a "Small Incursion," all the way up to $5,000 for "Global Thermal [sic] Nuclear War."
McBurney makes it clear that these terms aren't to be taken literally. "We're willing to use inflammatory rhetoric, but the only things we'll blow up are words. People running around in camouflage gear, they're just nuts, whereas we live in the suburbs, we drive mini-vans. But" -- he pauses for effect -- "we do want to take over the government."
"Now we're at the boring part of the protest," says Josiah, as he helps disassemble the Aaron McKinney fence just outside the courthouse. "It's a lot different than it is at Planned Parenthood."
"At least there we get to save lives," Jo Scott points out.
"Yeah," Josiah responds, grinning. "And here we get to kill people."
The dead body -- Eric Nellis -- is tremendously dedicated to the thespian arts; he lays on the trailer in a brisk, chill breeze for more than fifteen minutes while Enyart leisurely speaks to each and every media member he can lasso. He's an equal-opportunity gabber, spending just as much time with a kid from a local high school paper as he does with network honchos. He even spares a few seconds for Jeffrey Montgomery, the spokesperson for the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, who watched the ShadowGov performance with gathering distaste.
"You don't really think these kinds of tactics can prevent homosexuality, do you?" Montgomery asks.
"Check the AIDS rates in Islamic countries," Enyart advises, "and see if they stop at the border."
Back at the trailer, the team finally lowers Nellis's prostrate form; as they're pushing him into the covered portion of the trailer, McBurney hisses, "Turn him toward the cameras. The cameras." After Nellis emerges, Jo Scott asks him if he'd told his mother what he was doing that day. When he says he didn't, she gasps: "Oh, no. What if she turns on the TV tonight and sees you dead?"
As it turns out, this fear is largely misplaced. Channel 7 in Denver ran a package on the protest as part of its 5 p.m. broadcast that day, but no other Colorado stations followed suit, and the national cable outlets ignored it entirely.
The print media didn't come through, either. Several Associated Press items quoted McBurney, but the Rocky Mountain News, which had given a lot of space to an August ShadowGov protest against televangelist Benny Hinn (who Bob feels is defrauding the public with phony faith healing) included only a sentence or two about the Laramie protest at the hind end of an article. More disappointing was the Denver Post, which had covered recent ShadowGov demonstrations against the allegedly blasphemous play Corpus Christi and Boulder district attorney Alex Hunter, whose refusal to indict John and Patsy Ramsey for the murder of their daughter JonBenét flies in the face of a labyrinthine theory that Enyart would be glad to spell out to anyone with three or four hours to spare. All that work, and the Post couldn't spare even one word!
Even more frustrating is the aftermath of the McKinney case. The jury did its job, finding the weasel guilty the day after the protest. But just as arguments about a possible execution were in the offing, Judy and Dennis Shepard, Matthew's parents, accepted a deal cooked up by McKinney's defense team for two consecutive life sentences without parole. A reporter for USA Today -- probably one of the twits who didn't give the ShadowGov display any ink -- called the Shepards' decision "a stunning act of mercy," but that's not the way Enyart sees it, especially after reports that McKinney is receiving the star treatment from his fellow prisoners.