(Editor’s note: West Hollywood-based LGBT rights activist Richard Noble has walked 1400 miles in his personal crusade to Walk Across America to draw attention to and get official recognition for a LGBT Equality Omnibus Bill – which he says openly gay Rep. Jared Polis has committed to introduce in January. On Oct. 1, Noble sought out the site near Laramie, Wyoming where gay college student Matthew Shepard was attacked 13 years ago on Oct. 6-7. He died on Oct. 12, 1998. Richard emailed me his thoughts on that visit. – Karen Ocamb)Reflections of my recent visit to LaramieBy Richard NobleSix days ago I went on a road trip from Boulder, CO to Laramie, Wyoming in an attempt to lay flowers where Matthew Shepard was brutally attacked.My friend and I didn’t know the exact location and cross referencing information on Google we were left at an intersection that looked nothing like the photos I remember seeing from news reports.We went to ask a neighbor who was watching us from his porch. He told us he had nothing to say and that we were on private property and would call the police if we didn’t leave.We noticed a ribbon on a pole and I originally set the flowers I bought there when a lady pulled up to get her mail. We inquired about Matthew. She was a longtime resident and pointed down a closed road that was desolate and not well traveled. She said the area where they found Matthew could be reached two ways, but you’d need to hike it or have a truck. We took our chances. She said to follow her and she would take us to the road across from Walmart that had no street sign and the gate in is usually locked.It wasn’t this time. A gal who lived in Laramie and knew the property owner was walking her dog. We thanked the other neighbor and Inquired again. The resident said the spot was way back and the car might not make it. Just look for X’s on the ranch fence and that’s what your looking for. I was driving and said thank you and began navigating the car up a hill and down an old ranch road weaving in and out of rocks and huge water-made crevices in the road. It went on for about 10 minutes of driving.We looked back and slowly the lights and town of Laramie disappeared. Off to the left way back in this desolate place was a water tower. We thought we might be in the wrong place – until there it was. The old barbed wire gate made of wood with the X’s in it. She said also to look for the water tower. We saw that.Sherri – who was with me – and I were sad. Upset to put it mildly. If we were to keep going we would have come down and out that private road we saw before. We’d almost done a circle coming in from the other way. Whether it was down around the other spot with the new houses or the one we were at, we didn’t know. We could see it was the fence system we were looking for.In that place I could yell and scream and nobody would hear me. Nothing. It was very quiet. This was the place I laid Matthews flowers down. I was numb.I remembered those days when I got cornered by bullies in school and was defenseless. Those times I would get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach and imagined this night was like that, only infinitely worse. I said a prayer and an apology for how so sorry I was not to have been there to hear his cries and how I wished I could have been.Sherri and I were both pretty upset. I took some quiet time by the fence and just stood there, feeling panic and going over what happened in that place.The sun was going down, the air cool. I had read stories about what happened and applauded the hate crimes act. But there I was at the same time of year at dusk in approximately the same location, still very sad. Then I got very angry and said to Sherri it was time to go.I reflected when the kids from school spit on me at the bus stop trying to get home, always looking around corners or over my shoulder to see who was going to try to pick a fight with me next – just because I was gay.And I’d flash to Matthew’s crying and bleeding and being cold and more than likely just wanting, hoping his assailants would stop.I looked to the ground to see there a piece of barbed wire about 6 inches in length. I picked it up and tapped it to the staff I am carrying with me and for the next 1800 miles will let it be a reminder: we are not just fighting for our equality and civil rights, we are fighting for our lives and the lives of each other.And lastly – my heartfelt gratitude to the Shepards and President Barack Obama and the lawmakers who passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Like we say in Interventions, without consequences, the bullies will continue. You have brought justice to Matthew’s life and the rest of us in the LGBT community.Thank you.