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.It’s so sensational.It will blow over for us, then the press will move on to someone else,” she frowned.“It’s not the news,” her husband said.He looked at the faces of their two children.He knew that he would leave them a worse country than he himself had grown up in, but he didn’t know how it had happened.“It’s something else,” he said with great pain.“After a brief statement she will be taking questions,” said Ms.Gillespie.“She will not answer every question, but these will be the only answers she will give.So, after today, we ask that you please give her and her family some privacy.”Victoria Gillespie turned and nodded to Samantha Goodwin.Amidst flashing bulbs, Samantha Goodwin walked to the improvised podium.Her husband followed alongside her.When she reached the podium, she drew in a deep breath to calm her nerves.She swallowed the lump that was in her throat and before she began, she was already fighting off tears.She said, “First off, I would like to thank all of my family, friends and neighbors who have joined together to help me in my time of need, as well as all the people from all over the country and all over the world who have sent cards and given their support.It has made such a difference to be able to hear your voices, sometimes overlooked, but always loving, always strong, and always…faithful.” As she spoke, her husband whispered words of encouragement by her side.She continued, “Second, I would like to say that the way I have been treated is wrong.I have been called a homophobe, a bigot, and a liar.I am none of those things.I was raised by a loving family in an atmosphere of acceptance and Christian charity.I have been taught that all people are children of God and therefore deserving of respect.I respect all genders, race, class, and sexual orientation.I have also been raised to tell the truth and to protect my personal integrity and personal reputation.Yet I have been attacked in the press, in the papers, on television, and on the radio.I have also been receiving hate mail, as well as having my family approached and intimidated.” Samantha Goodwin began to cry.As she cried, her husband continued to encourage and strengthen her with his words.When it looked like her crying was under control, she didn’t continue with her statement right away.One reporter deemed the pause long enough to provide an opening.He asked, “Do you think this will have a chilling effect for anyone else who might simply want to report suspicious behavior?”She answered, “I don’t know.I hope not.No one should have to go through what I have been through.It would have been easier for me to just look the other way that night, but if I hadn’t called the cops…who knows what would have happened.”“What effect do you think this will have on the relations between the homosexual and Christian communities?” another reporter asked.To this, Victoria Gillespie shook her head.Samantha Goodwin looked to her and Ms.Gillespie shook her head again.“Um…No comment…on that one,” Samantha Goodwin said.The husband reached out to grab his wife’s arm.He tugged her back toward the house.He wanted the press conference to be over.Samantha Goodwin began to show mannerisms like she was going to give in and stepped one foot back.The press saw this and hurled their questions at her faster, one on top of the other, aggressive and fierce.Samantha Goodwin looked to Ms.Gillespie and she stepped to the podium.Ms.Gillespie forcefully said, “I am sorry, but this press conference is over.”The reporters continued to shout out questions more angrily as Samantha Goodwin walked away in her husband’s arms.Suddenly there was a ruckus and the press saw Ridley Holt forcefully approach the podium.No one had seen where he had just come from, but his house was obviously next door.Rider quickly nudged the publicist out of his way and said angrily into the microphone, “What is wrong with you people? Have you lost your minds? Can’t you see what you’re doing? Can’t you see the damage you’re doing in the name of fighting hate? Can’t you see the direction that the hate is coming from? Look what you are doing to innocent people!”Rider looked at all the lenses in front of him and he picked one.He stared right into it and said, “You should consider this woman a hero.” He pointed backward at the house of his neighbor, who was already inside, and said, “This woman saved Stacy Oliver’s life.Trust me.Trust me.”Victoria Gillespie said to herself, This man really needs a publicist.“Has this whole country lost its mind? On the one hand, we have a man who we know has a problem with authority.We know he has a problem with people who serve as military and police officers.And, yes, we know that he has a problem with straight people.He has a chip on his shoulder so large that you can see it from space!“Then on the other hand, you have a man who serves his community, a man who not only has a gay brother, but took that brother in to live with him when his brother got sick.And you people sit and wonder which one might have acted out of hate?“Stacy Oliver’s hate is on display every day.Stacy Oliver makes a living stoking the flames of division in this country.“Yesterday, I actually saw a guy come on TV and say, ‘We know that it is common for police to profile; cops are known for their intolerance.’ How can you not see the irony in that? The sentence itself is profiling.The sentence itself is prejudice.How come only the underdog is allowed to be prejudiced? How come the loser is allowed to hate? Why is it that you are allowed to destroy lives in this country, as long as you can act like you’re the victim? You people make me sick.”CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVENStephanie was relieved to find that this gas station had one of those new-fangled pay-at-the-pump credit card machines.The last station at which she had to stop in Texas required her to go inside in order to pay.Stephanie felt like she had traveled back in time.This was her second time to need gas in Texas even though she crossed the border with a pretty full tank.The people were perfectly nice, of course, but they wanted to draw her into a conversation.Stephanie told herself that she was not being antisocial; I just don’t want to leave Jackson alone in the car…not in the state he is in.She didn’t mean Texas.The real reason that she did not want conversation was because she didn’t want to have to duck, dodge, and weave her way around the inevitable question, “Where ya’ll headed off to?”She told one lady behind the counter that she and Jackson were on their honeymoon.That may have been motivated by some wishful thinking.The lady gave her a peculiar look that Stephanie could not identify.Perhaps she figured that she was being lied to because Stephanie had no wedding ring, or perhaps she could not figure out where in West Texas they might be honeymooning [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]