Twenty years ago today (December 12), a man was murdered in Amarillo, Texas. The murder, and subsequent trial, brought a lot of attention to Amarillo. Major national news outlets carried the story, including in-depth investigative pieces like this one from ABC:

What made this murder case different? In my opinion, it was an atrocious, appalling and an obvious miscarriage of justice that was allowed to happen because of a toxic notion of what makes some people "good people" and others "bad people" -- despite their real personality and actions.

Brian Deneke, a "punk," was intentionally and maliciously ran down by a football player, Dustin Camp. Despite this, Camp received an offensively light sentence: 10 years of parole. And that is heartbreaking. It seems that 20 years ago, being "normal" let you get away with murder.

Marilyn Manson commented on the case as well: "He [Brian Deneke] was killed again in the trial."

I never got to meet Brian, but I have many friends who care for him deeply. He was more than the figure of a infamous murder trial, he was a person. A kind, thoughtful and loving person:

Brian was the nicest guy ever and had a very gentlemanly way about him. If any of us girls were cold, he’d be the first to offer his leather jacket or share his drink if you were thirsty or food if you were hungry. -Michelle

 

Brian and I were both the ones booking the majority of the bands during the mid 90’s and we would help each other try and bring bands to each other’s town. Brian booked my band and other bands on a label I was on and always took care of us. [...] Brian hated smoking: he would like to break people's cigarettes. -Jme

 

He sent me postcards from all over, as he traveled the gutters of the country [...] he was always the friend you had when everyone else was sick of your sh*t. -Troy

If anyone ever "lived on" through their family and friends, it was Brian Deneke. And now his story is being told in the film Bomb City, which has already racked up awards and rave reviews as it's traveled the indie film circuit. Negotiations to have the film screened in Lubbock are underway.

It is my hope that this film brings Brian's story to a larger audience. I'm sure many reading this have felt ostracized, bullied and even unsafe for simply living their life as their true selves. I hope this film emboldens those people to radically love themselves, as Brian was radically loved by his friends.