Shooting of Gay CA Student Officially Labeled a Hate Crime


Brandon McInerney, a 14-year-old eighth-grader, has been charged with attempted murder as a hate crime in the shooting death of Lawrence ‘Larry’ King. The charges are expected to be upgraded to murder once King is taking off his ventilator, which is keeping his body alive so that he may donate his organs. McInerney is to be tried as an adult. McInerney reportedly turned 14, which is the cutoff age to be tried as an adult, on January 24th.

McinerneyKing was shot in the head in front of a full classroom of students. It still has not been disclosed where McInerney got the gun that he snuck into the classroom.

According to King’s father, when King arrived at the hospital he was making some unintelligible sounds but doctors quickly induced a coma as part of his treatment. He survived for six hours but then suffered a massive stroke, which caused his brain to swell, and ultimately, his death.

Via the AP: “[Ventura County prosecutor Maeve] Fox said she could not discuss the facts behind the allegation of a hate crime because those details of the case have not been publicly disclosed. Oxnard police have not specified a motive but said there appeared to be a personal dispute between the two. King sometimes came to school wearing makeup and high heels, eighth-grader Nicholas Cortez, 14, told The Associated Press. Another eighth-grader, Michael Sweeney, said King’s appearance was ‘freaking the guys out,’ the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday. ‘He would come to school in high-heeled boots, makeup, jewelry and painted nails — the whole thing,’ Sweeney told the Times.”

The L.A. Times reports that “classmates of the slain boy, Lawrence King, said he recently had started to wear makeup and jewelry and had proclaimed himself gay. Several students said King and a group of boys, including the defendant, had a verbal confrontation concerning King’s sexual orientation a day before the killing.”

The paper adds, “Because he is a minor, McInerney will remain in Juvenile Hall and be taken to the Ventura courtroom for court appearances, Fox said. He is being held in lieu of $770,000 bail. If convicted, McInerney could face 50 years to life. The hate crime enhancement would add another one to three years to his sentence.”

Up top is a shot of King provided to the media by his family. His father explained that “In Port Hueneme, he used licorice sticks to catch crawdads.”

The Ventura County Star reports: “He said his son was headstrong, confident, artistic and sweet. Larry King loved to sing songs by folk rock trio Crosby, Stills and Nash, and was studying ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ in hopes of singing it at his younger brother’s baseball games, his father said. ‘He had a very gifted singing voice.’ He was so good, in fact, that one of Greg King’s friends — unaware of the family’s tragedy — called Wednesday to say his son should audition for ‘American Idol.'”

Oxnard school shooting called a hate crime [la times]
Charges Filed in SoCal School Shooting [ap]
Victim’s family members say they will donate teen’s organs [ventura county star]

You may have missed…
Gay Junior High Student Shot at School Declared Brain Dead [tr]
Gay Student Shot at L.A.-Area Junior High School [tr]


  1. Miles says

    It sounds like justice is going to be done. Though nothing will bring the King boy back.

    But now I’m starting to feel sorry for the perp as well, who is barely out of childhood. While it was his choice to pull the trigger, and he must pay for that, he also was raised in a society in which he was taught that boys like King are not quite human. He just absorbed the poison around him. That is what we have to address.

  2. andrew says

    Maybe if McInerney were drawn and quartered in public for the crime, maybe people might get a clue this is not acceptable – just a thought.

  3. BreckROy says

    I am with you Miles and deeply disagree with you, Andrew. Even in the abstract, the idea of torturing one child in return for killing another only compounds the tragedy. That’s what these were, children, and it is unnatural for children to kill each other. They need poisonous societal messages (or in their family of origin) and access to deadly weapons they have no business being anywhere NEAR. A 14 year old who kills is deeply, deeply troubled and I see no point in his being locked up for 50 years instead of getting mental help…but if that is the price, so be it. We have to address the underlying issues: the acceptabilty of portraying homosexuals as less than valued humans, the increased violence in child and teen-oriented pop culture, and the unacceptable access of people who have NO business with firearms to them. God bless the family of the young victim and the shooter tooo…may he and those around him see the utter sickness and tragedy and pointlessness of what has gone down…two young lives destroyed, all because of hate.

  4. says

    King and his parents are Heros to me, king for coming out at such a young age, and his parents for allowing him to do so. I really hope this doesn’t scare other family’s from acting out on this kind of bravery.

  5. Chris says

    What about the perp’s parents? I find it really hard to believe that a kid can be capable of a crime like this without coming from a sick and twisted home environment.

  6. says

    True Chris. But what about the other boys who confronted King? This is an extreme result but its connected to something far more widespread in a culture that demands gender-role conformity and is smugly self-rigtheous about expressing its contempt for anythign that deviates from a “norm” that is heterosexual, male, white, “Christian,” and “Conservative.”

  7. tjc says

    All that’s going through my head right now is that Lawrence was just a kid.

    Just a fucking kid. With his whole life ahead of him.

    Christ. He was 15. Shot and killed for having a sense of self far greater than mine at that age.

    What a fucking waste.

    Oh, man. This is really getting to me.

  8. tjc says

    While I do agree that our “society” and culture have allowed a 14-year-old to shoot a classmate is a serious and tragic problem, I’m not willing to let the shooter off the hook.

    At some point, no matte how twisted or demented you are, you have to take responsibility for your actions. It wasn’t “society” that made McInerney bring a gun to school to shoot someone. It was his own deed.

    I’m not suggesting that any Towleroad readers are implying he should be let off easy. I’m just saying that while of course we need to fix the underlying problem — an implicit tolerance for violence against the GLBT community — we also need to ensure that we don’t forget that responsibility for an individual’s actions belongs solely to that person (outside of some very limited circumstances).

    I have no sympathy for the shooter at this time. Perhaps at some point, but not now.

  9. cd says

    wow, just when you think it’s ok to be different, ugly people should not be allowed to kill beautiful people. RIP.

  10. tjc says

    Just to clarify, I mean “just a kid” in the sense of a tragic loss of life, not in the sense of ignorant or less valid. I hope that came through, but I know text without vocal nuance can be tricky to interpret and I want to stave off any unnecessary in-fighting.
    Like Andy touched on yesterday, the idiot lawmaker in TN and a superintendent in VA pulling “And Tango Makes Three” (the kids’ book about penguins NYC Roy and Silo) are part of the problem.

    A problem that is getting our people killed.

  11. Derrick from Philly says

    Lawrence King’s parents & family should be proud that they raised such a brave child. It takes incredible courage to risk your life just to be yourself. At age fifteen, hearing/seeing what his classmates, neighbors, most of the damn society thinks of feminine males; yes, he knew what danger he could be in, but he was determined to find & be himself. I am in awe of Lawrence King’s courage, and the courage of all those like him in every culture/society they dare to be themselves in.

  12. says

    Update on what Gay American Heroes Foundation is doing as of February 15,2008:

    Friends of TowleRoad:

    “Stop the Hate in 2008″ — support Gay American Heroes Foundation

    Gay American Heroes Foundation and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force are acting on this horrible event, as well as many national organizations. Kevin Jennings, ED of GLSEN, made a statement yesterday and we are making one today.

    We have personally contacted HRC, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, Congressman Barney Frank, Elke Kennedy and her foundation, Judy Shepard and her Foundation, Daniela Sea (the L Word), The Gill, Robert Gant, The AP, and Matt Foreman of Task Force to ask for national statements and a re-call to action of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill, which died last year.

    Our thoughts go out to the family of Lawrence King and thank them for allowing his organs to be donated to save lives. Elke Kennedy, who is on our Board of Advisors, and Sean (who was murdered) also allowed his organs to be donated which led to saving 5 lives.

    You can go to to see the work we are doing, to read about gay murders, Sean and many others, and also to learn about the “grass roots” work we are doing to “Stop Hate in 2008″ by educating our communities about these senseless murders and honoring those who have died. Please consider making a donation of $25 to help us build the traveling, educational memorial and adopting a “hero.” All details are on the site. We have raised over $135,000 the past 3 months and need to raise another $65,000 to secure 2 full years of travel at 25 committed Universities, to date.

    For those of you who still don’t think “living out as you are” in America today is heroic, you are proved wrong, again, by Lawrence King’s death and 27 other identified LGBT murders in 2007.

    Please join us to build this important project and travel with it throughout the USA to educate those who otherwise may pick up a gun one day and aim it at you!!!

    Respectfully submitted,

    Chip Arndt
    Founding Board Member

  13. says

    I agree wholeheartedly with Derrick’s comment.

    The shooter may have been only 14, but that’s certainly old enough to know that killing is wrong. It’s entirely possible that he has a pretty significant mental illness going on, and that should be investigated throroughly.

    When something like this happens, we bend over backwards trying to find a reason or an explanation for such horrible violence among children so young. Sometimes, it just comes down to the combination of psychopathology and an easy target. It’s horrendous, and should serve as a cautionary tale for Americans everywhere.

    Poor kid. Rest in peace.

  14. SH says

    There will inevitably be cases of school violence (see also: NIU), but without stricter control of firearms, the violence turns out more fatalities. While we need to work at promoting tolerance to our youth, we need to also lobby for stronger gun control laws. Perhaps we need to hold more accountable those who made the firearms accessible to the perpetrators in the first place…

  15. Taylor says

    @SH: Don’t use the word tolerance. Tolerance won’t fix problems like this, it will just lessen them.

    Demand acceptance. Nothing more, nothing less.

    This story is heartbreaking. It’s going to be a long day at work today…

  16. JJ says

    In our society, 14-year olds have ready access to guns. Also, homophobia is taught and encouraged from an early age. Its part of our societal fabric.

    So, a child kills a child.

    Let’s get that unit on gay people into the California school curriculum without delay.

  17. says

    No, David. It’s not an excuse. Mental illness is never an excuse. It’s just a possible explanation for a tragedy that never should have occurred.

    It’s important to remember that these are children we’re talking about. I’d love to lock the shooter up and throw away the key, but he’s just a child… and civilized societies do not do that to children.

    It’s not very gratifying, I know. I’d love to back my car over him myself. But that is why our laws should never be dictated by an emotionally-driven mob.

  18. gabriel says

    I can’t even read all the comments, but I agree with what a lot of you said.

    There are two problems to solve here and we must not forget that.

    This story makes me tear up every time I read something new…. but Andy, please continue to follow this (I know you will).

  19. davey says

    An important issue here is gun control. I am amazed that the media and people in general are so surprised when something like this happens when anyone can get a gun seems we see shooting after shooting in and out of schools every month on the news. Tougher Gun Laws need to happen or this will continue always.

  20. peterparker says

    Wow! I’m amazed that you guys think it is okay for a FOURTEEN YEAR OLD to be tried as an adult!!!! Yes, it was a horrible, horrible, horrible crime. And it is particularly disturbing to us not only because of King’s age, but because someone killed a person who belonged to our ‘tribe’. And no, I don’t think McInerney should get away without any consequences. But the shooter in this case is still a child himself!

    I’ve worked with juveniles who were referred for psychotherapy by the juvenile justice system. Some of the kids I worked with had committed some pretty serious offenses such as sexual assault. And while these children could understand the difference between right and wrong, the gravity of their offenses was often lost on them, either because of poor parenting or because they simply had not reached a developmental level that facilitated empathy. But almost every kid I ever worked with was ‘redeemable’. It was *always* the case that the family environment was toxic as hell. Once you began to work with the child and his family, things started to change. Children who didn’t have empathy for others began to slowly develop it. And they were healed.

    What I fear in this scenario is that McInerney will be tried and convicted as an adult. That scenario would surely see him spending much of his life in prison for a crime committed as a child. And when he does get out of prison, he’ll be a hardened criminal who has absolutely no idea whatsoever how to negotiate the world as a free man. And that will just lead to more crime once he gets out, possibly against another homosexual.

    Though the consequences of his actions were horrible, he shouldn’t be tried as an adult. He should be tried in the juvenile justice system (which, trust me, is plenty tough enough) and sentenced to spend at least the rest of his childhood and even better, up to the age of 25 (the cutoff for an inmate in the California Youth Authority facilities), in CYA, the equivalent of jail for minors. While he is in CYA, he should have extremely limited contact with his family and he should receive LOADS of counseling in order to stop this cycle of violence.

    Isn’t it better to rehabilitate than it is to simply punish?

  21. Zinc Alloy says

    In this day and age, a 14-year old isn’t a naive, innocent child. This was no accident. If we are going to allow guns in this society, then the people who use them need to be held accountable, even if they are teenagers. Unless it can be proved the shooter had no idea what he was doing, he needs to be tried as an adult.

  22. ZEKE says

    This is a tragedy on SO, SO, SO many levels.

    I hope justice will be served but for the life of me I can’t take pleasure in knowing that a 14 year old boy was so screwed up in his thinking due to influences in his life that he committed such a hate filled crime that will end the lives of TWO children. I take no delight in knowing what lies ahead for this 14 year old child. I know some people will blow a gasket that I would feel ANY compassion for the killer but I do. My nature, my Christian faith and my Buddhist life philosophy demands it.

    When will we as a society, culture and country begin to treat the cancer instead of reacting indignantly to the symptoms while continuing to ignore the underlying causes of such atrocities? Bigotry goes unchecked and bullying in schools is considered to be just another part of growing up. But then when the bigot ends up killing someone or when the bullied child kills the person who bullied them, or the person who allowed the bully to go unchecked, people become outraged, they throw the perp in jail, they feel all is well with the world, they go back to their happy lives and ignore the fact that NOTHING that caused the tragedy has been fixed or even addressed and it is still there to claim the next victim.

    This has happened OVER AND OVER but our collective answer seems to be to put up more metal detectors in schools, to try kids as adults, to stiffen penalties to punish AFTER THE FACT and to build bigger and bigger and more and more prisons where these people can be warehoused and forgotten rather than looking at prevention before the fact and rehabilitation afterward. Honest to God, how is that REALLY working for us? Are we any safer now than we were back when there was a more thoughtful approach to the justice and penal system? I sure as hell don’t think so.

    And the beat goes on. And the next hate crime/school shooting/bullied child/suicide is a matter of minutes, hours or, at the MOST, days away.

    The very definition of insanity!

  23. Bart says

    Peterparker has valid points, but then, so do most of the others who have commented. I see this as being a whole series of problems, not just one simple tragedy. The whole societal non-acceptance of minorities, and even attacks on them, is the main issue. It is not just gays, but ALL minorities which get treated with way. Surely it is a case of dehunanizing minorities and then attempting to eliminate them, but shunning, brutality, and murder. To put it at the door of guns is not fair either, because the intolerance is the real problem. Would it have been any better to have Lawrence King beaten to death? Of course not.

    Sadly though, this whole issue could once again be swept under the carpet. Either the killer is moved to adult court, and a media frenzy occurs, with subsequent copy cat situations when someone else want their minute of fame, or the killer is tried quietly in juvenile court, and while he might be rehabilitated with help, the underlying problem, intolerance, is once again forgotten. What needs to go on trial, and desperately so, is the intolerance and aggressiveness in our society. Not really the ‘perps’, but the causes of their behaviour.

  24. noah says

    This is so sick. Anyone who’s been terrorized by bullies at school, on the street, or at work know how much psychological and physical violence can destroy one’s confidence and cripple someone in all ways.

    I wonder what all of those politicians and others who fight against anti-bullying laws think about this. Do they even know about this tragedy?

    There should be a campaign sending copies of the article and pictures of Larry to them. Why are the media not camping out on their doors?

    Moreover, I agree with PeterParker; while the killer committed a horrible crime, he is only 14. There are more than enough studies that show that the brain development for logical thinking is not completed until the early twenties.

    Obviously, this kid needs to be punished, but he also needs serious help. Something went horrifically wrong in this kid’s life to twist him into this kind of thinking.

    I’d want to see what psychiatric investigation reveals about this kid. Is he a sociopath–just a cold-blooded killer, mentally ill, or something else. What the hell happened to twist a child into a killer? What did his parents teach him?

    If the killer were over 18, I could see the 50 year sentence but 14 year olds are just kids.

    Finally, someone send copies of the articles to Dobson, Hutcherson, and other homophobes and ask them if they approve. Wasn’t Hutcherson and his wife at some school board meeting complaining that they were being harassed because Rev. Ken’s hate? Why doesn’t someone ask the good Reverend Ken and his wife what they think of the murder of a 15 year old child? Ask him if he sees the connection between his anti-gay tirades and the action of the killer.

  25. says

    Every time this happens, I hope that people will learn from it. Yet, we’re continually persecuted across the world and kept in second-class-citizen status here in America, while we’re also bashed and even occasionally killed just for being who we are.

    This is a tragedy.

  26. says

    I’ll tell you this … I’m sick and tired of reading these stories.

    And right now I’m angry enough to feel perfectly okay with this kid being tried as an adult and serving whatever sentence gets sent his way.

    But only if every parent in my state also gets sat down and told that their kid is next.

    Because I didn’t spawn anything that walks the earth that can kill. These parents have, however, and it’s their responsibility to make sure they don’t load them up with all that hate.

    If they do, then the parents should be punished, too, though I have no idea how you would do something like that, or even prove it.

  27. Bart says

    Joe has a point. The parents are obviously at least a certain amount to blame in getting this child to that point. Maybe there should be instant intervention and therapy for all family members whenever any child commits a crime of violence (including verbal violence like bullying remarks). In other words, at the first sign of a problem with a child, intervene in their personal situation in order to make things better. Counselling at that point might be a lot cheaper financially over the long haul, and would certainly be better than continuing violence.

  28. Derrick from Philly says

    I respect all of y’all who ask, “what could make a fourteen year old behave this way? Let us think about the societal causes/family dysfunction while we’re punishing the perpetrator.” Well, this is where some of us liberals part ways: the issue of violent crime. The damage done by violent criminals in our lives is so great–sometimes the wounds never heal. Whole families can be destroyed by these acts of violence.

    You can treat the teenage criminals. You can use our tax dollars to do it. In exchange, we want them sentenced in a way that may make them understand what pain and suffering they’ve caused; and more importantly, help the victims and loved ones of the victims feel there has been some justice, and, yes, PUNISHMENT.

    Are there bad people? When do they become bad? What do we do with them and at what age? How do we do it fairly?

    Dammit, when you hurt someone, you pay for it, then you can seek redemption.

  29. Cory says

    Where are the parents of this 14 year old? THEY should be held accountable for his crimes. As someone who has studied social psych, children learn by observation, especially in the family home. Lord, it wasn’t until I was in high school that I began to realize everything my parents believed in wasn’t the only truth. My father is a republican (whom has changed his belief structure in recent years, in part from having me as a son), and growing up with him I often adopted many of his beliefs. I am not discounting this child’s actions, however why must the sins of the parent be brought on the child? Our adults are the individuals who have been creating a world of hate and ignorance, the children are reaping what they sow. Until we hold these PARENTS, ADULTS RESPONSIBLE the rest of the world will not realize THEY are the ones who are RESPONSIBLE. With all these school shootings, it seems the country is infected with a disease, looking to blame other people. “It was Marilyn Manson” “No, it was the gun companies” “No, it is the video games and movies and violence”. The truth is, it is US. It is the parents who are raising their children with their own hate and ignorance, their own sins.

    Children are like sponges, they will absorb anything and everything they encounter. May it be from their parents or other children, however it STARTS with their family life. You need a license to drive a car but anyone can have a child, and that is the first problem. People are having kids that don’t know how to raise them, and their children become extensions of their own issues that are released upon the rest of the world. It starts there, hold these parents responsible.

    Kudos to Chip Arndt for all his efforts. It is great to know there are people working to make a difference. It’s a shame that other people in his position aren’t using their celebrity for more (cough*reichen*cough*cough).

  30. John says


    I’ve said societal intolerance is the root cause, but I’m not the sort who would use that as an excuse against punishment. I think the District Attorney made the proper decision in seeking 53 years to life (with the hate crimes enhancement).

    Remember, there’s a degree of legal strategy to this, as that number would go down if the suspect plead guilty. If the suspect’s lawyers attempt to deal, the DA’s now in the position of saying he won’t go lower than 20-30 years. Obviously, a few years in juvenille hall isn’t fair to the victim’s family. And this will give them a degree of peace.

    However, punishment is an act of (righteous) vengence. It is not a deterrent. We can certainly take the vengence, but we also need to explore different ways to improve prevention in the future.

  31. says

    I agree with those who have pointed to the family. The biggest issue here to me isn’t that this kid committed a hate crime, although that is a huge issue. To me the root issue is that the kid was raised with the kind of abuse that taught him that killing someone was okay. The kind of abuse that resulted in intensely painful, repressed emotions, with no outlet for them at home or, apparently at school. This is partly a societal problem not just because society backed up his family’s obviously homophobic, genderphobic abuse, but because the society he saw around him had no compassion or support for him either.

    It’s not even enough to say that families in which violent acts are committed need to be put in therapy right away. I seriously doubt that there are enough therapists who actually know what they are doing and how to treat abuse and how to reach incredibly abused, abusing, defensive people who are there against their will that this would ever scratch the surface. We need to understand abuse, how it works and its effects and how to approach it, much more deeply and widely as a society, and begin reaching out to people of all ages and especially young children with the support and tools that they need to combat the incredibly intense legacy of abuse in which they are being raised.

  32. ZEKE says

    DERRICK, I don’t think anyone here has said that they thing the kid shouldn’t be punished. I think we’re all in agreement that he should be. Some people are just pointing out that punishing the individual without addressing the environment and the influences that lead up to the crime does nothing more than take an individual off the street and give the family some sense of justice but it leaves the rest of the world vulnerable to the next f’d up kid or adult that comes along because the influences haven’t been addressed.

    Sorry for the run-on sentence.

  33. ZEKE says

    We may very well find out that this kid was a victim of abuse and sexual assault himself. We may find out that his extreme reaction was not so much about the victim’s non gender conforming behavior and appearance but more about his him reacting in rage to something that reminded him of his own abuse. I have no evidence to back up such a consideration and it wouldn’t excuse the crime even if it were true, I’m just saying that we MUST find out what runs through a child’s head to lead him to such dispicable acts of violence. Simply locking him away, throwing away the key and moving on as if the problem is solved may make some people feel better but it won’t help his victim or potential future victims of others like him.

    I would prefer that we spend more time, money and energy preventing crime and violence and less time building and maintaining prison warehouses.

  34. Derrick from Philly says

    Yes, Zeke you’re right. I’m just trying to explain why some of us seem to have no sympathy for the perpetrators of violent crime. Most rapists/child molesters/murderers experienced horrific childhoods. I feel sympathy and even pain for them, but I feel more sympathy and more pain for those these former victims victimize.

    In 1983, I took revenge for violence that happened to me. I ended up in bigger trouble than my victim did when he originally victimized me. My reason for taking my revenge? I didn’t get justice, Zeke.

    So, how can I take such a hard line against violent criminals when I was one for a moment? My victim wasn’t innocent.

    A childhood of abuse may create a violent criminal, but lack of justice may make law abiding folks seek their own justice.

  35. TJC says

    Derrick, I’d really like to meet you some day because you seem to me like a very interesting person with more “life experience” than I expect I’ll ever have.

    I don’t always agree with your comments but I do find them interesting to read.

    Thanks for providing a perspective different from my own.

  36. Paul R says

    I agree with Peter Parker. It’s really just a coincidence the killer is even 14—he was 13 until late January. And having 14 as the cutoff for standing trial as an adult is bizarre anyway. Outside the justice system, no other part of society considers anyone an adult (with any of the attendant rights and responsibilities) until at least 18.

    I also agree with everyone who has pointed to the killer’s family. The lack of response from them is rather telling. It would not exactly be a huge surprise if the killer’s father is virulently antigay, and the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

    I’m actually surprised that school officials allowed Larry to dress like that. Ventura County isn’t San Francisco, after all. I wasn’t allowed to wear eyeliner in high school, much less full makeup. (See Derrick, I went through my sissy stage too.)

  37. Bill Perdue says

    Lawrence Kings life couldn’t have been easy. He as in foster care. At school he was maliciously taunted by christian bigots. At the end, far from accepting the innate beauty of his genetic heritage, they killed him for it.

    In a better world the shooter would be given the death penalty and his family, friends and cult leaders would be indicted as accomplices. I have to disagree with those who sympathize with the shooter. He, his family, his accomplices and his church should be treated as ruthlessly as possible and if that wrecks their lives so much the better.

    We’re not in that better world because we don’t count. Conservative and centrist politicians from both parties sent a clear message about our worth as humans when they dropped ENDA and the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes bills late last year. At the same time they refused to repeal bigot laws like DADT and DOMA sponsored by the Clinton administration

    Some might say that the these maneuvers don’t really mean that the Democrats and Republicans are bigots. And they say that in any case nobody pay attentions. They’re dead wrong. These bigoted politicians sent a strong message to street thugs that we don’t deserve to be treated like citizens and humans. Their message to the thugs is that they have friends in high places, friends who agree with them that our lives don’t count. In Oxnard, one of the thugs got the message loud and clear and acted on it. Brandon McInerney murdered Lawrence King.

    This murder was the second this year, following on last years total of at least 25. There will likely be more this year because of the bigoted electioneering of the christian right and the politicians of both parties who pander to them. This murder points up the need for national demonstrations to demand the passage of the Matthew Shepard Gate Crimes Bill and ENDA along with the repeal of the Clintons DOMA and DADT. We need a militant massive campaign to force our agenda into law because it’s obvious that the Republicans and Democrats don’t give a damn about our lives. I hope Pelosi, McCain, Frank, Huckabee, Billary Clinton, Obama and Reid have to guts to apologize for what they did, but I won’t count on it.

    RIP Lawrence King.

  38. Paul R says

    This is a minor issue, but I hope that King’s parents were genuinely supportive of him. The father’s comments certainly make it sound like it, but the photo he released looks like a boy much younger than 14, engaged in a traditionally masculine activity. My parents refused to take any pictures of me from the ages of 12 to 17, when I looked too weird for them. Really nice.

  39. Derrick from Philly says

    “…more life experience than I expect I’ll ever have…”

    Oh, yes you will have them, TJC. The difference is yours will be positive–I hope. I’m certainly not proud of seeking stupid revenge back in ’83, and it sure didn’t pay off.

    I love to listen to other people’s stories on this and other blogs. The blogs have become my social life–for now. But stories such as this one make me remember horrible moments when the very way we walk can get a bottle thrown at your head. The violence against brave young people like Lawrence King happens every day–every day.

  40. David R. says

    I also agree with Peter Parker on this. In my minimal brush with the foster care system, I’ve been exposed to an amazingly large number of awful (hetero) parents. The damage they do to their kids, and then grandkids, is immense. Maybe all high school kids should have basic parenting classes in their senior year so that we can reduce the number of McInerney’s around.

    Oh yeah, and stronger gun control so the kids and adults who are messed up don’t have the access.

  41. JerzeeMike says

    The thing that’s going to get to me is that the Phelps clan are inevitably warming up the RV as we speak. Those degenerates will no doubt try to picket this poor kids funeral and lob more grief onto the King family. We should do to the Phelp’s what those veterans did at the last military funeral they tried to picket and surround them with rainbow flags and drown them out with some Sister Sledge or Donna Summer.

  42. JerzeeMike says

    The thing that’s going to get to me is that the Phelps clan are inevitably warming up the RV as we speak. Those degenerates will no doubt try to picket this poor kids funeral and lob more grief onto the King family. We should do to the Phelp’s what those veterans did at the last military funeral they tried to picket and surround them with rainbow flags and drown them out with some Sister Sledge or Donna Summer.

  43. Bart says

    Slightly off topic, but not far. It was said in an earlier comment: “A childhood of abuse may create a violent criminal, but lack of justice may make law abiding folks seek their own justice.” I would like to point out that this is probably the major cause for road rage, and goodness only knows how many other criminal acts, like vandalism, and even shoplifting.

  44. nic says

    ever time i think that the youth of our country are in a better world, this kind of shit happens. everyone loses and human kind is worse off. two lives which will never show their promise were snuffed out in the blink of an uncaring eye. what was in the assassin’s mind (for surely this was tinged with politics and polemics)? who or what planted the germ there to fester in an impressionable mind? until we can answer that question, our problems will persist.

    i know at least this much: we should snuff hate not life. simplistic? i know. but in the face of madness what is the basic human response?

  45. tommy says

    I agree with Peter….as horrific and nauseating as this crime was, we are talking about a fourteen year old perpetrator…who is a child. We have options within the juvenile system to actually work to punish and to save this we really want to throw him in with adult criminals, and expect anything positive to come out of this?
    And as for those who believe that this draconian kind of punishment will actually serve to deter other children from killing or behaving in such a reprehensible manner, please remember some basic concepts of human development….kids that age simply are not wired for complex understanding of consequences to behavior, particularly if they have been screwed up in their own home environment.
    We serve nothing but the basest form of revenge seeking if we insist on treating children like adults in the penal system.

  46. John says

    Excuse me, but I’m going to have to defend the Ventura District Attorney’s decision here.

    This was pre-meditated first degree murder. We’re talking about a calculated and cold-blooded act resulting from an altercation that occured at least 24 hours before. This wasn’t a schoolyard fight that got out of control or an accidental gunshot. Moreover, neither the McInerney family nor the perpetrator himself has shown any remorse for this despicable (and planned) behavior.

    So, on the one hand, you have a corpse of an innocent teenager. On the other, you have an apparently unrepentant murderer and his jackass bigoted family.

    You know what, I can’t say what I’d actually do without all the facts. But given what we do know, if I were that District Attorney, young Mr. Inerney would not find me in the mood for a “slap-on-the-wrist” couple months in juvenile hall.

  47. nic says


    i agree. until kids and parents are made fully aware that for every act there is an equal and opposite reaction, they may never learn. the day before yesterday, a 10 y.o. shot his younger sister in the face over a fight involving a bag of potato chips. his parents should be drawn and quartered for making a pistol accessible. too harsh? maybe, but right now i am not in a mood to negotiate.

  48. says

    What happened here is such a tragedy for all concerned.

    This reminds me of Azim Khamisa’s story from The Forgiveness Project. His son was killed by a fourteen-year-old, and he reached out to the killer’s guardian. The two started a foundation devoted to “stopping children from killing children.”

  49. coolbear says

    It’s true, 14-year-olds are capable of rehabilitation, but so are the vast majority of adults who go through our prison system. The awful irony here is that this kid, who was so freaked out by a classmate’s openness about being gay, if found guilty, will be sentenced to being forcibly sodomized repeatedly over many years. This isn’t a joke, even if it is some maniac’s idea of justice: practically every judge who investigates the penal system has declared that rape is almost inevitable and the prison system isn’t especially concerned about it, and neither are legislators or the public. It’s only by being in complete denial about the role of rape in prison life that people can pretend there’s some kind of justice in the system of incarceration. When he gets to prison, the perpetrator will find that the same guys who high-five him for killing a faggot are holding him down for blanket parties. That’s the reality of both homosexual conduct and homosexual panic.

  50. Nikko says

    you’re not a kid at 14 anymore: Mcinnery should be tried as a young adult: he knew exactly what he was doing and that there are consequences for such barbaric behaviour. As for King, I do not agree with him “dressin up” in drag to school in principle. School is not a fashion show. It’s innapropriate and obviously meant to provoke trouble. School rules: uniform. He should do that on his own time as a principle. The same goes for trans issues. Keep it at home.

  51. Bob says

    Truly senseless crime,and for which the victims familiy, his school, and society are responsible.
    Schools must allow, accept and encourage individual identities, and teach others that it is acceptable behavior.
    When we we recognize that Hate Crime laws are legally useless, though symbolically cathartic, that prioritizes victims are being more socially meaningful that other similar victims. Violent crime is entirely too random and lacking in motive to assign enhanced penalties because they supposedly target a protected class of victim – what a repugnant thought.

  52. SFshawn says

    The fact that over 1,000 young people turned out to mourn his death indicates these kids understand the difference between right and wrong. Now if more adults in positions of influence and authority(national and state legislators with the exception of Sheila Kuehl,school board members,parents,etc) could get past all their religious dogma/bigotry/discomfort and make all schools safe for ALL children what a better world it would be. But that would take actual courage,leadership and a reprioritizing of our national values away from war and violence and actually into investing in our childrens futures as well as our own and I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
    Thanks Andy for providing this blog. It’s one of the few media outlets I still trust.

  53. Q says

    what makes a kid think a person deserves to die just because he’s gay? to shoot someone repeatedly in the head just because he’s gay?

    i think if this kid was aware of the consequences, he probably would have shot himself.

  54. Lee says

    There should be no “trying”….no “convicting”….no “sentencing” involved here. There is nothing to try. This perpetrator was seen committing the crime. Why does that need to go to trial at all? Our legal system makes no sense in matters like this.

    And as for him being a child…no, he is not. He ceased being a child when he made the decision to bring a loaded weapon into a classroom and take the life of another human being. A child cannot make such a decision.

    What should happen? Within hours of this crime being committed, the perpetrator should have been taken to a town square and had his head blown open just like he blew King’s open. It should have been mandatory for his family and the other “children” that taunted King to be there and witness the punishment. An eye for an eye.