In this moment, Rulon Stacey, the hospital’s spokesperson, gives an update on Matthew Shepard’s condition. Rulon describes how Matthew was admitted to the hospital in critical condition and was immediately treated for hypothermia, a head fracture causing bleeding in his brain, and a fever. Rulon reads a statement by Matthew’s parents thanking the public for their support and requesting that the media respect their privacy.
Rulon Stacey’s update reminds the reader of the victim at the center of the crime, tracking Matthew’s declining medical state and the bodily consequences of violence. The use of Rulon as a spokesperson also suggests the difficulty of navigating personal, familial grief while under such intense media attention.
Hospital CEO Rulon Stacey gives another medical update, saying that Matthew Shepard is still in critical condition. Rulon asks again that the media respect the family’s privacy.
Again, Rulon’s updates remind the reader of the real person and family behind the vigils and conversations about homophobia.
Rulon Stacey gives the statement that he prepared with Matthew Shepard’s family. He informs the public that Matthew passed away, and expresses the family’s gratitude for the public’s support. The family is thankful that they did not have to make a decision about whether to continue Matthew’s life support. Matthew’s mother asks the public to go home and give their kids a hug and tell them they love them every day.
As he delivers this statement, Rulon becomes teary and choked up, triggering a variety of responses from thankful and kind to hateful that are described in the next scene. Rulon’s emotional response shows how stories like Matthew’s can profoundly move people and, in doing so, perhaps make them more accepting.