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The following is a statement from U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) regarding the murder of Matthew Shepard:

First and foremost, Diana and I would like to join with the people of Wyoming in extending our deepest and heartfelt sympathy to Matthew's parents, his family, his friends, and all those who knew him and loved him. Our thoughts and prayers will be with all of you. We are all saddened and angered that such a senseless act of brutality and mindless violence could happen in Wyoming.

Much to his credit, Governor Geringer has urged us all to enter into a dialogue about this terrible crime and our reaction to it. I strongly support him and all the people of our state in this effort as we recommit ourselves to doing everything we possibly can to ensure that such a crime never happens again.

Now, we must come together as one, our families, our spiritual and church leaders, our local and community leaders, and the citizens of our communities to foster and reinforce in our children and all our citizens the importance of treating each other as we would ourselves be treated, and respecting everyone's right to live their life. It is such a simple lesson -- it is never permissible to hurt another. Somehow, some of our children never learned it. Recent events make it clear that it's a lesson that every child must be taught, and every adult constantly reminded.

I have every confidence in the people of our state and our elected representatives on the local and state levels to address this issue. The individuals who committed this heinous crime may face the death penalty in their upcoming trial. Until then, let us continue our dialogue on this issue, let us pray for direction and guidance, and let us work together to ensure that we avoid the kind of hate and stereotyping that gave rise to this crime in the first place. Hatred in any form is destructive to the very foundation upon which our society is built.