Gay Coalition Calls for Lawrence King Killer to be Tried as Juvenile

A coalition of gay groups has urged Greg Totten, the District Attorney in the Lawrence King case to try Brandon McInerney, the troubled teen who shot and killed Lawrence King on February 12th in front of a classroom of students because he was gay, as a juvenile. Shortly after the murder, it was announced that McInerney would be tried as an adult.

McinerneySaid the coalition in a statement: “We are saddened and outraged by the murder of junior high school student Lawrence King. At the same time, we call on prosecutors not to compound this tragedy with another wrong. We call on them to treat the suspect as a juvenile, not as an adult. (The alleged perpetrator should) be held accountable for his actions. But we support the principles underlying our juvenile justice system that treat children differently than adults and provide greater hope and opportunity for rehabilitation.”

The coalition of groups includes Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Transgender Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, Equality California, Gay Straight Alliance Network, Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

The District Attorney’s office has not responded. McInerney’s arraignment is scheduled for May 8.

Coalition urging D.A. to try shooting suspect as juvenile [ventura county star]


  1. says

    WHAT?!?! Yet another instance of major gay groups and I having different opinions.

    How can we support hate crimes legislation and then plead for mercy for someone the judicial system is trying to punish particularly harsh as his crime was heinous and hate-motivated.

    If I currently financially support any of these groups, they can consider my checks stopped.

  2. Dennis says

    First, not all of us support hate crimes legislation. Assault, murder, harassment are crimes; there is no need to get into why someone did it.

    But more to the point, we are asking for tolerance, acceptance, and compassion. If we cannot express compassion for others–even those that have wronged us–then we don’t deserve what we are asking for. The boy is too young to be treated as an adult, no matter what his crime.

  3. kujhawker says

    Dennis, I completely agree with you, both on the fact not all of us support hate crimes legislation, and that this is an excellent opportunity to show compassion. Granted my initial reaction was let the kid fry, but stepping back I realize that this kid shouldn’t be treated like an adult.

  4. Anon says

    “First, not all of us support hate crimes legislation. Assault, murder, harassment are crimes; there is no need to get into why someone did it.”

    Well then some of us are idiots. The “why” is crucial: it distinguishes between first and second-degree murder, manslaughter, self-defense and justified self-defense.

    It distinguishes between a terrorist and a freedom fighter.

    It distinguishes between a petty thief and Jean Valjean.

    When a crime is committed because of bias all of those affected by the bias are victimized in some way – e.g., maybe we feel more threatened. When a crime is committed because of what someone did – say, if Laurence King had thrown a stapler at his killer and was killed in the ensuing melee – it is less harmful to society because it doesn’t victimize all gays in the same way. I’m sure someone else will make the distinction clearer for you.

  5. David says

    I do think why someone commits a crime is important. There are varying degrees of culpability, and the law needs to reflect that. Interesting how some people are for harsher sentences for child rape and killing, but then don’t think gays should have “special” protection. The government has a legitimate role not only to set sentences, but also to send a message to the populace about certain crimes.

    As for being tried as an adult, that’s just absurd. He’s a kid. Period. If he can be saved, he should be.

  6. says

    Internalized Homophobia strikes again!

    Gay lives aren’t supposed to matter shit, and here comes an org to confirm that!

    Just the other day a “gay panic”defense story was posted in here — with a murderer getting a “manslaughter” instead. This has got to stop.

    But don’t expect our well-monied gay orgs to do the stopping.

  7. Dennis says

    Anonymous, you are right. I was being too glib, and I apologize.

    ‘Why’ someone did it is important in just the way you describe. What I meant (and what I should have said) is that I do not agree with the concept that we can ever really know why someone did something. Motives can only be inferred, they cannot be truly known. Making a statement of law dependent on something that can never really be known leads to a dark place. I do not want to try to make windows into men’s souls; to me, that’s not justice and it has nothing to do with prevention, punishment, or honoring the memory of the victims. It makes other people feel better.

  8. says

    I think there’s more to their reasoning than you might think. First and foremost, his age is taken into consideration because of the possibility for rehabilitation. Secondly, experience has taught me that “bullies” or people who disdain gays for no other reason than who we are, are usually closeted themselves. I know two such individuals who ultimately committed suicide. Finally, if you think juvenile incarceration is a cakewalk, think again.

  9. Dan E says

    Good. He’s a junior high school student. He should be tried as a juvenile.

    There’s good reason to try children as children; there are differences in brain development and socialization that make the younger among us more prone to being successfully rehabilitated. The child deserves that chance.

    And to claim that this is internalized homophobia is utter and complete nonsense. It’s called compassion.

  10. Fred says

    You guys are funny…
    You want it both ways!
    The murder of Lawrence King is a hate crime, no question, but it’s also about KIDS killing kids.

    As much as 15 and 16 year old kids may want to be adults, they are not. They ALL do stupid things, they ALL do things they regret, and most have moments when they behave badly, very badly. None of you need look beyond yourselves to understand what I’m talking about. While that’s certainly no excuse and the murder of Lawrence King was a horrible event, these events are not just about kids killing kids, it’s about the lack of involvement of parents and schools, and it’s about schools and teachers not protecting students.

    Kids are kids, not adults

  11. says

    I don’t understand where these groups come up with these idiotic statements – like none of us were 14.

    Sure, 14 year old have poooor impulse control, but this wasn’t an impulse. The evil piece of shit had to find a gun, probably test it, figure out how to get it to school and keep it concealed, then create this whole sick scene where he executes King in the middle of his classroom.

    That’s a whole lot of clever planning to commit a horrible murder!

    The only thing left is he didn’t understand murder is wrong…

    Tried as an adult, because he is an adult!

  12. peterparker says

    Bravo!!!! I hope the District Attorney sees fit to change his decision and try this kid as a kid!

  13. says

    Here’s the thing. The human brain doesn’t completely evolve until around the age of 22-25: that’s when a brain becomes an adult brain. Before then, kids aren’t fully able to reason right and wrong in longterm views: things seem like the end of the world, when really they can be quite trivial in the grand scheme of things. For these reasons, I’m vehemently opposed to trying 14 year olds for murder 1 as an adult. I do think that for the most heinous crimes, trying as a child doesn’t work quite well either, because then they can get out of prison by around 21 – and that’s just not fair for the victims, not enough of a deterrent for people under the age of 18. If someone 14 or under commits that kind of crime, I don’t think they should be in prison any longer than 25. Older than that and I think the fair vs. unfair calculation would need to be morphed, though at no point do I think people who commit these crimes should have their *entire* lives ruined when there’s a chance they can be rehabilitated and be productive members of society at some point, especially if these crimes are committed before the brain was fully matured.

  14. Craig says

    I am rather conflicted on this. On the one hand, he is a juvenile and I do think juveniles should be handled in a separate system; however, the notion that he will be released from juvenile detention at 18 or 21 for a heinous premeditated murder without regard to whether or not he is rehabilitated upon becoming an “adult” is disturbing. Part of the problem with the rehabilitation programs of the juvenile justice system is that they cannot hold an unrehabilitated prisoner after becoming an adult and they can’t send the prisoner to an adult facility or some other alternative facility thereafter for further rehabilitation. Personally, I think such alternative facilities designed for children who become adults while being rehabilitated would be imminently more preferable than sending a fresh adult into hardcore prison with hardened criminals as an influence. Just look at the children who committed the shooting at the Jonesboro middle school. They got out at 21 and one of them has already been arrested twice since his release. He murdered 5 people and was also convicted of attempted murder of 10 more, and for those offenses served less than 7 years in a facility. This situation is no different. Unrehabilitated child-murders should be able to be held beyond their 21st birthday if they continue to pose a threat to society, but it also does society no favor to per se treat them as adults. The system needs a third way.

  15. scientitian says

    The US penal system is messed up beyond belief – there’s really no “good” option here. The rehabilitation system is ineffective for adults and children (eg, the criteria for having been rehabilitated is reaching 18/21 years of age), yet the adult system is a completely syphon of time, space, and money, while at the same time making little or no effort at rehabilitation prior to the completion of a sentence. Or, they just send someone to the chair, since I guess we’re all bloodthirsty barbarians with a desire for unfulfilling revenge.

  16. says

    If all the apologists for teenage fag killer Brandon McInerney want him tried as a juvenile out of some concern that he’s not responsible for his actions, then don’t you think we should pass federal legislation banning minors from using, owning or possessing firearms under any circumstance?

    If teenage impulse control is inherently so questionable as some on this board contend, then under no circumstance should they ever be allowed around guns, period. However, that is not the case because, as Hillary Clinton can tell you, and there’s a wonderful tradition in America of fathers passing down their love of guns to their sons. Indeed, the reality is that the overwhelming majority of teenagers do own and use guns responsibly, and have the maturity, control and wisdom not to start murdering people they don’t like with them.

    Moreover, some of these apologists for Brandon McInerney have really missed the mark; the fag killer was not involved in some silly “boys-will-be-boys” misguided prank out of impulse; rather, with pre-meditation he carried a gun to school with the specific intent of murdering another human being which he in fact carried out. What the hell was “impulsive” about this? There was nothing “juvenile” about this perpetrator other than the fact that he was a couple of years shy of being allowed to joining the United States Marines.

  17. says

    “If teenage impulse control is inherently so questionable as some on this board contend, then under no circumstance should they ever be allowed around guns, period.”

    Doesn’t that go without saying? And since when could 14 year olds own hand guns? If that’s the case in some parts of the country, I’ll add it to the list of reasons I can thank god I’m from Massachusetts.

  18. Mark says

    Ask yourself which is more important, justice or revenge.

    Call it what you will, but trying Brandon as an adult isn’t justice. I don’t see how it could be. Those that think murdering gays is acceptable aren’t going to be deterred by one boy going to prison, aren’t going to think twice about the consequences to them or others. Tougher hate crime laws haven’t deterred anyone so far, in fact the number of hate crimes has gone up in the past eight years. Tell me what purpose sending a boy to prison will serve?

    Personally, I would rather see justice done. I support the efforts to show compassion to someone who still has a chance at rehabilitation. I can only hope he doesn’t waste that chance if he gets it.

  19. says


    My understanding is that teenagers (& younger) are allowed to use and carry guns; I grew up in a small, rural town, and yes there was a lot of unsupervised gun use by juveniles, and some kids even got rifles and shotguns as Christmas presents; however, to the best of my knowledge, none of them ever went on human killing rampages because — contrary to the so-called LGBT leadership referenced in the original post — they in fact had the maturity, control, knowledge & wisdom to understand that murdering people is wrong. There may be age-restrictions in some states on carrying a concealed permit for a handgun, but the reality (and the law) in most places in America is that teenagers can own and use guns otherwise in accordance with the law.

    If teenagers legally are allowed access to and the use of guns, then they should be held responsible as adults for illegal uses of those guns. However, if people now are contending that teenagers lack the necessary ability to handle guns responsibly, then under no circumstance should the law allow them ever to have any legal access to guns of any type.

  20. coolbear says

    This is great news–a victory for common sense, as well as compassion, in dealing with this terrible event. From very early on, gay groups (whom I often disagree with) have showed inspiring leadership in arguing that socially prescribed fear and anxiety affect everyone, and not only the most obvious victims.
    Aside from the significant differences in the adolescent and adult brains, one difference between an adult who commits a serious crime and the juvenile who does the same is that the adult is not spending one-third of his daily life entirely under the control of an involuntary social system apparently dedicated to confusing, harassing, intimidating, belittling, and boring him. Whether you consider it from the point of view of traditional concepts of justice or a more utilitarian concern for simply reducing acts of violence, juveniles need to be treated as juveniles.
    By the way, folks close to this case–friends of Larry and his family–have repeatedly said that Brandon was harassed because of his apparent tolerance of Larry, and in agony before the shooting. Even if he were tried as an adult, this would affect the status of the charge against him. The awful lesson of this case is that he wasn’t some rotten kid looking to beat up a faggot, or, as someone here conjectured, boasting about it afterward. If you don’t think junior-high school could drive a person literally to violence, try teaching in one in 2008.

  21. says

    It appears that in most jurisidictions you have to be 21 to buy a handgun or ammunition, and 18 to buy a rifle or shotgun from a shop. Also, under-18s are banned from possessing a handgun or ammunition, and it is illegal to provide a handgun or ammunition to minors.

    However, it’s okay to give an under-18 a rifle or shotgun even if s/he can’t buy one on their own at a shop. My point simply is that under no circumstance should an under-18 be allowed the possession of a shotgun or rifle to use if they purportedly could go psycho on a moment’s notice as the LGBT leadership in the this case contend.

  22. John says

    Well, the District Attorney won’t change his mind. If he does, he’ll be an ex-District Attorney in November.

    Ventura County is a pretty conservative area by California standards. And if there’s anything conservatives hates more than fags, it is DAs who don’t go after violent criminals with the full arsenal at his/her disposal. I don’t think it should surprise us that counties where the community encourages bigotry, are also the ones to punish hate crmes most harshly after the fact. It;s a way of shifting responsibility away from the churches and schools themselves.

    It’s part of the hypocriscy we’ve come to accept here in America. I support an adult trial because I believe this was pre-meditated murder rather than manslaughter (and I explained at the time why I thought so). But there’s a political dimension to that as well.

  23. Zeke says

    ANON, EXCELLENT explanation. The best I’ve ever read.

    Sorry DENNIS, you’re still wrong on the facts. Hate crimes prosecution is not nearly as simple and etherial as you make it out to be. Hate crime designation is actually quite difficult to accomplish. The defendent has to have made a verbal, and publicly witnessed expression of his/her intent in order to even be considered for hate crime enhancement. Even then judges/state’s attorneys/lawyers don’t always grant a hate crime enhancement.

    I used to be against hate crimes laws too. I discovered that I, like some people here, misunderstood what they actually are, what they actually do and how they are actually applied. After being educated I came to support hate crimes laws.

    Having said all that I have to say that I do support the appeal of this gay coalition. This kid should certainly be punished but I disagree that he should be tried and punished as an adult. He is young enough to be rehabilitated from the hate and bigotry that he was TAUGHT by surroundings. If we don’t throw him away, and we actively work to educate him, he will likely become a gay rights advocate with a VERY powerful story to tell. If he’s locked away for life in an environment that just makes him more angry, more homophobic and more evil, how does that change what happened to Lawrence? How does it benefit society? How does it benefit the gay community?

    I also love how this act of compassion from these “heathen” gay groups shows the so-called “Christian” groups “who have been so unChristian throughout all of this) for who and what they really are.

  24. noah says

    What the kid did was terrible and he should pay for his crime as juvenile and not an adult.

    This idea of judging children as adults is nothing more than a Right-wing revenge fantasy that has eclipsed the progressive movement’s success in changing attitudes that led to children being executed for crimes. Children do not have the mental capacity of adults. Period. The adult brain is not fully formed until one reaches one’s early twenties.

    Unless this kid had a history of sociopathic behavior, it makes no sense to put him behind bars for the rest of his life. Come on. How many of can say that they are the same person as an adult of say 27 as they were as a child of 14 or 15?

    Put the kid in jail; treat him with lots of therapy; and let the psychiatrists judge his ability to return to society.]56

  25. noah says

    “Moreover, some of these apologists for Brandon McInerney have really missed the mark; the fag killer was not involved in some silly “boys-will-be-boys” misguided prank out of impulse; rather, with pre-meditation he carried a gun to school with the specific intent of murdering another human being which he in fact carried out. What the hell was “impulsive” about this? There was nothing “juvenile” about this perpetrator other than the fact that he was a couple of years shy of being allowed to joining the United States Marines.”

    No one is apologizing for McInerney. The kid is a killer who deserves to be punished for his crime. The question is how should he be punished. Just what kind of sentence to do you think he should receive? Thirty-years? The death penalty?

    Vengeance is an appealing idea but what will it actually give us in this case if this kid can be rehabilitated? As I understand it, juveniles can be held up to age 25. If they are deemed mentally ill, they can be held until such time as they are deemed fit.

    Frankly, I think more anger needs to be directed at the adults who foster views that dehumanize people. Why hasn’t someone shoved a microphone in the face of the Rev. Ken Hutcherson, Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan or James Dobson? Aren’t they the monsters who constantly push homophobia? What about Karl Rove or George Bush who used virulent anti-gay propaganda to win elections? How much have their words and actions led to or will lead to continuing death and destruction?

    As for someone being 18-years-old and allowed to become a marine, it’s always struck me as predatory to make children fight the wars for adults. Look at the young people who bravely sacrificed their their lives in Iraq based on a lie? Most of those kids are from the underclass and go into the military not only for patriotism but also because it might be the only way to achieve a better life.

  26. says


    My problem with the position taken by those who purport to represent the LGBT community is that it fails to recognize that what Brandon McInerney did was clearly “adult” in every meaning of the word save for the happenstance of his age at the time he committed the crime.

    The undisputed facts are that Brandon planned and thought out his crime in advance of its commission, took deliberate steps to acquire, conceal and transport the gun to school, and then in accordance with his pre-meditation shot his victim exactly as intended. If Brandon McInerney’s crime should not be tried as an adult, then I cannot conceive of any circumstance in which a juvenile ever would be qualified to tried as an adult.

    And no, I do not want the death penalty for Brandon McInerney simply on the principle that I am against all death penalties. And frankly, what punishment he should receive is not a consideration whether he has the capacity to be tried as an adult. Indeed, at sentencing, should he be found guilty, then the trial judge can take into account all of the mitigating and/or aggravating circumstances underlying the crime.

    I mean goodness: seventeen-year-olds can join the armed forces, according to Hillary Clinton children are raised in a proud tradition of guns, and indeed many teenagers responsibly use guns in accordance with the law. Accordingly, I do not see the problem with holding Brandon McInerney responisble as an adult for murdering someone with a gun. Perhaps his age may be a mitigating issue at sentencing in the event he is found guilty but it has no bearing on the fact he knew fully well — as well as any adult — both what he was doing and the consequence of his action.

  27. Yeek says

    All this talk about teenage brains and impulse control defies a basic concept of justice: children are judged by how their behavior compares to the behaviors of other children the same age. While many teens may wreck cars or steal cash from grandma or stomp on frogs, blowing someone’s head off with a pistol is something relatively few teenagers do. McInerey’s actions are way, way out of line with the way the overwhelming majority of kids his age behave. Yet all teens have “unevolved brains.” Therefore, McInerey does not get a pass based on his anatomy, since so many others teenagers with same shitty brains don’t kill people. McInerey’s CHARACTER is the problem.

    Then there’s the whole argument of how distraught McInerey was before he shot this other kid. Well, don’t you think most murderers are emotionally overwrought before they stab someone to death or go on a shooting spree? This fact changes nothing, and it should not earn him even a second of consideration.

    Lastly, justice should be about punishment (or reward) first – rehabilitation comes in second. Justice cannot be served if your desire to make the world nicer or safer outweighs your motivation to be fair – even if being fair makes the world more dangerous, incites mobs, lynchings, wars, whatever. In fact, it is that very excuse that has been used to oppose so many civil rights movements over the years. “I realize you should have the right to vote, but there will be riots!”

    I say try McInerey as an adult. If he’s smart he’ll cop to murder three.

  28. Leland Frances says

    “Karen Franklin [is] a forensic psychologist whose dual interests in psychology and the law brought her to question the roots of anti-gay hate crimes. Her interviews with perpetrators and with San Francisco Bay Area college students provide badly needed empirical data on the nature and extent of negative reactions to gays. Franklin does not find one motive for anti-gay violence, but many, with ideological opposition to, and plain hatred of homosexuality, only one among them. In Franklin’s view, the focus should be on cultural norms—an attitude that SOCIETY GIVES PERMISSION FOR ANTI-GAY VIOLENCE—rather than on individual psychology.” – “Assault on Gay America,” Frontline, PBS.

    These 27 mostly LGBT groups are murdering 15-yr. old Lawrence King all over again.
    Most of these goddamn “Love Us We’re Liberals” demand LGBT inclusion in hate crime laws in the morning and, come the same afternoon, are demanding that King’s killer not be tried as an adult as the law has long allowed. Is teenage homohate any LESS hate? Is King any less DEAD because the person who SHOT HIM TWICE is 14? And it’s NOT about punishing him it’s about sending the message to others that assaults on gays WILL be punished accordingly.

    Such pussy feelings and actions as this herd of fools is demonstrating are the EXACT reason gays are still groveling for first class citizenship over half-a-century after the first enduring gay groups were formed in the US. Brandon McInerney isn’t the “child” here—they are!

    While many of these groups have a great deal of accomplishment to be proud of, only the Safe Schools Coalition has done ANYTHING of any consequence to combat hate crimes, to prevent them from happening. Most of them simply periodically cry crocodile tears while using pictures of such victims as King and Matthew and Gwen Araujo ad infinitum to fund raise to perpetuate their own existence.

    The nature of trials and sentencing is as much, if not more, about sending a message to others that such crimes won’t be tolerated, as it is “punishment” of a specific offender. We have gone from a society in which kids having access to, let alone using, guns was virtually unheard of to one in which kids are killing other kids and adults everyday—PRIMARILY BECAUSE of the Pollyanna attitudes of such groups as these.

    In addition to Lawrence King, at least FIVE other LGBTS have been murdered in the last year alone:

    Ryan Keith Skipper, 25, stabbed twenty times before dying March 14, 2007
    Sean W. Kennedy, 20, killed May 16, 2007
    Satendar Singh, 26, killed July 1, 2007
    Talib Stewart, 25, stabbed multiple times in the chest and throat before dying February 9, 2008
    Lawrence King, 15, killed February 12, 2008
    Simmie Williams, 17, shot to death February, 22, 2008

    —TEN YEARS after the world was outraged about the murder of Matthew Shepard and such groups as these were saying the same kind of limp dick crap they ooze in their current statement: “We must respond to this tragedy by strengthening our resolve to change the climate in schools, eliminate bigotry based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and hold schools responsible for protecting students against discrimination and physical harm.” Their grade after ten years: FFF for Fat Fucking Failures!

    These 27 arrogant, clueles groups—all privileged adults who don’t have to face the terror of going to school every day as Lawrence King did—wiped their hands in his blood and used it to scrawl a letter to the prosecutor’s office pleading for leniency for his premeditated murderer—and anyone who sends them another dime will, too! I urge everyone to write them and demand that they stand up for the victim as much as his killer—and to realize that their action is sending the message that killing someone simply because they’re gay is no big deal—GUARANTEEING future murders of LGBTs of all ages.

    American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California; American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties; American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California; Ally Action (CA); Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere (COLAGE; national); Community United Against Violence (San Francisco); Different Avenues (DC); Equality California; Gay Straight Alliance Network (CA); Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD); Human Rights Campaign; LAGAI – Queer Insurrection; Lambda Legal; LifeWorks Mentoring (Los Angeles); Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center; National Black Justice Coalition; National Center for Lesbian Rights; National Center for Transgender Equality; National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) National; Safe Schools Coalition; San Francisco LGBT Community Center; Sylvia Rivera Law Project (New York); TGI Justice Project (CA); Transgender Law Center; The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center (NY); TransYouth Family Allies, Inc.


  29. ANON (Same as above) says

    To those who say that it’s an adult crime, or it’s the same as an adult crime, or in the words of the verbose Leland Frances “Is King any less DEAD because the person who SHOT HIM TWICE is 14? And it’s NOT about punishing him it’s about sending the message to others that assaults on gays WILL be punished accordingly.” the answer is – yes – they are different crimes, different acts, and different homohate. While it’s true that King is no less dead, that’s a red herring – we don’t punish deaths, we punish murders.

    But I submit that the crime was less of a murder, less of a gay bashing, than if the same act had been committed by an adult. Why? Because of our (naive) intuitions about responsibilty, culpability, and control over one’s actions.

    Suppose an evil hypnotist brainwashes Leland into murdering Larry. Is Leland guilty of murder? Of course not – though Larry is just as dead. Suppose the hypnotist instead brainwashes Leland into having vicious hate for gays such that, at some future time, he would kill Larry. Is Leland guilty of a hate crime or murder? Still no.

    Now suppose that instead of an evil hypnotist, we have naturally occuring – and I confess, I lack the biological knowledge to give a good account here – chemicals and hormones that cause similar effects. Perhaps not to the point of hypnosis, but feelings that are nonetheless out of Leland’s control. That is the situation here, to at least some (noticable) degree.

    What follows from this? Certainly, kids should be kept away from guns. Only Americans would be in a position to debate that on a forum. More sensibly, all people should be kept away from guns – we were not designed (nothing theological follows from my use of that term) to make good decisions in the presence of such devices. Should we charge Larry’s killer as an adult? Of course not, he didn’t have the same control over himself. It would be as if we addicted to you to heroin, then charged you with a crime when you couldn’t fight the urge to go get some.

    But should we keep the killer locked away? This is entirely a question of public safety, and as such it must be entirely pragmatic. Will he kill again? Will his brain develop normally (viz. give him a greater measure of control)? These are questions only trained professionals can answer – nobody here is in such a position. Some have suggested adult sentences are useful deterrents. But this is a naive view. Since young brains are very poor at understanding consequences, there is no deterrent effect – young Christian boys are told they will go to ETERNAL HELL for a variety of acts, all of which they regularly engage in. How many of you were told your *SOUL* would be condemned for laying with another man? Jacking with your friend? Trying some weed? And yet you did it.

    So there is no juvinile deterrent. It might deter adults from committing similar crimes, but then we risk becoming criminals ourselves – exploiting the young killer to protect ourselves from other adults.

    Let me just make something clear. To posters like the following: ” the fact he knew fully well — as well as any adult — both what he was doing and the consequence of his action.” I say this: you are as fucking stupid as the Christians who say that a flat Earth was created by god in 7 days and set intelligent design into motion. Claims like this fly in the face of every single piece of available evidence. Every. Single. Piece. Go find a job at the Discovery Institute.

  30. nic says

    not too much more than two weeks before larry king’s execution-style murder, he had started to wear nail polish, high-heeled boots, and make-up. the day before he was killed (feb. 11), he had an argument with brandon mcinerney and some other boys. one of the boys was heard to shout at larry, “you better watch your back!”.

    the following morning while larry and the other 20+ students were settling in for their first period class, 14 year old mcinerney pulled a gun he had secreted into school and shot twice, hitting larry in the head. no words were exchanged between the two boys. mcinerney bolted from the room and fled.

    larry was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. at one point, he was responsive to hospital staff. but, his condition worsened. the next day, valentine’s day, feb.13, he was declared brain-dead. at the request of his father, the boy’s body was kept alive until his organs were harvested on feb 15, because, the father said, larry would have wanted it that way.

    so that is the long and the short of it. in dying, larry became the gift that will keep on giving. he will at least live on, even if within the hearts and bodies of others. we will never know what gifts he may have given had his young life not been snuffed by hatred and bigotry in the form of mcinerney.

    in my mind, a 14 year-old boy who has a school-yard argument with a classmate one day, then goes home, goes to sleep, wakes up the next day and proceeds with the quotidian activities common to children throughout the world (well, except for the fact that he secrets a gun somewhere on his person or belongings) prepares for school, gets to school, then, in a classroom full of students, shoots that classmate in the head without warning — without giving his victim a chance to defend himself, is already a psychopath. psychopaths are incorrigible; there is no redemption to be had.

    in california, 14 is the legal cutoff for charging an adolescent as an adult, and prosecutors have the option of charging underage suspects as adults. i believe this is apt in this case. this was not a crime of passion where, in the heat of the argument, mcinerney picked up an object and hit king, causing his death. this was a crime that involved premeditation and malice aforethought (in this case, conduct with a depraved heart).

    mcinerney committed a vicious act, a crime that by anyone’s standards is heinous. he should be tried as an adult. let the judge and jury take into account any mitigating or extenuating circumstances.

  31. Leland Frances says

    Sean’s last wish
    Gay man’s killer should be the last homophobe to get away with murder.

    The Washington Blade
    Friday, April 11, 2008

    “SEAN WILLIAM KENNEDY would have turned 21 on April 8, but his life was taken from him last May when he was beaten to death while walking home from a bar in Greenville, S.C.

    After an evening of fun with friends, you’re happy as you walk toward the comforts of home. A car speeds up beside you. An unfamiliar man jumps out. He calls you a faggot and punches you in the face knocking you out. As you fall, unconscious, your head cracks on the curb.

    Stephen Moller, who issued that blow to Sean’s head, later left this voicemail for a friend of Sean’s: “You tell your faggot friend that when he wakes up he owes me $500 for my broken hand.”

    As punishment, Moller will likely serve less than a year in jail for an act of violence motivated by hate and fear. Less than a year for ending the promising life of a mother’s son, brother to loving siblings and a friend to many.

    In Sean’s case, the prosecutors claim they cannot prove “malicious intent” — that Moller intended to kill Kennedy.

    So, they have formally charged him with involuntary manslaughter. While this carries a maximum sentence of five years, Moller will likely be set free with little to no time actually served.”

  32. ANON (same) says

    “in my mind, a 14 year-old boy who … [describes circumstances of murder] … is already a psychopath. psychopaths are incorrigible; there is no redemption to be had.”

    Whether or not someone is a psychopath is a matter for science, not you, to determine. If he is the next Michael Myers then, on pragmatic public safety grounds, he should of course be locked away. But none of us have access to this knowledge – it is a purely biological question.

    As for redemption – what are we, Christians now? Leland, maybe that’s how they do things at the Discovery Institute, but I’d prefer to have science and truth on my side instead of empty rhetorical nonsense.

  33. queendru says

    Try him as an adult. All this talk of compassion here is inane. You don’t offer compassion where there is no remorse. If warranted, compassion can come in sentencing. Compassion can come after he’s served out his sentence and is returned to the community.

    This was a cold calculated execution. It was not an impulsive action of a teenager. He doesn’t seem to warrant treatment as a juvenile who can be rehabilitated.

    Lawrence King’s life was worth more than at most 6 years in juvenile detention. Remember the victim. His sentence was death.

  34. Bill Perdue, RainbowRED says

    GLBT groups who call for leniency for this racist homophobic killer are as wrong headed as they can get. The ideas of non-violence, turning the other cheek and forgiving ones enemies are a betrayal of our struggle and particularly so in the midst of a growing campaign of violence inspired by political and religious leaders against us.

    Adopting positions like that gives a green light to the thugs. This call for clemency sends a mistaken message, that it’s we, not the bigots who should bear the cost of their bigotry. We are NOT going to get any sort of justice in matters like these until comprehensive Federal Hate Crimes and Hate Speech laws with harsh penalties are in place. That’s not going to happen with Democrats and/or Republicans controlling the government. As the election campaign progresses it’s becoming clearer that, irrespective of fantasy and wishful thinking, both major parties are cesspools of bigotry.

    A little rough justice will be served by harshly punishing McInerney but to be honest the only punishment that fits his crime is the death sentence. No matter how much time he gets or whether it’s in the adult or juvenile systems, the little sack of shit is going to discover ‘God’, get ‘reborn’ and ask for parole. If he gets an indeterminate sentence he’ll be out before we know it. Nationally the average time served for murder is 5.5 years and in California it averages a little less than 3.5 years.

  35. nic says

    ANON (SAME), are you addressing me, or leland? you quote me, but you mention leland. whatevah!

    there are some things that are self-evident. if a person is capable of planning and executing a dispassionate murder, that person is not “right in the head.” how am i wrong?

    surely, you are not suggesting that regardless of legal constructs, we, as a society should become immured in the esoteric purview of science? if so, our hands are tied.

    of course, we should grant science (psychiatry and neuro-scientists) time to decipher the origins of sexism racism, bi-polarism, bisexualism, transgenderism, and any other -ism you can come up with; but when it comes to a clear and present danger as demonstrated by the 14 y.o. boy who is capable of this enormity, we need to be rational and reasonable.

    if the neighbor’s pitbull gets loose and attacks the girl across the street, should we ruminate over the whys and wherefors while it mauls her? and once she has been mauled to death, should we consider that maybe the beast was mistreated by its owner? give me break.

    look up the home-lives of these two boys. you will find that neither had an ideal rearing. you will find, however, that the victim had it much worse than his killer. more than that, i do not care to speculate. what has become more and more apparent, however, is that — no matter how counter-intuitive it is — it was the boy who had an easier life that became a killer.

    redemtion, btw, is not a word peculiar to xtianity. (you are not the “anon” who claimed to have argued cases before the supremes, right?).

    from american heritage dictionary:

    redemption; the act of redeeming or the condition of having been redeemed; recovery of something pawned or mortgaged.

    the payment of an obligation, as a government’s payment of the value of its bonds.

    deliverance upon payment of ransom; rescue.

    and finally, christianity; salvation from sin through jesus’s sacrifice.

    anyhoo, i will no longer respond to cravens who comment under “anon.”

  36. ANON says

    “if the neighbor’s pitbull gets loose and attacks the girl across the street, should we ruminate over the whys and wherefors while it mauls her? and once she has been mauled to death, should we consider that maybe the beast was mistreated by its owner? give me break.”

    Of course we do.

    Proposition XYZ states: we hereby declare the possession of a pitbull to be illegal, under penalty of blah.

    Pro: pitbulls are dangerous! Look at the recent mauling – that animal attacked that girl for no reason!

    Con: that particular pitbull attacked because it had been beaten for 5 years and the girl threw a stick at it, resembling the treatment of its abuser – but normal pitbulls do not attack children.

    The argument turns on precisely the point you wish to deny. QED loser.

  37. ANON says

    A teenage boy with a complete lack of foresight murders another teenage boy out of hate. So a group of grown men take that boy and call for his execution; or at least, for some “rough justice”. All of this out of hate – nobody has once said the boy has some untreatable illness. All that’s been said is that they are angry about what’s been done, and they are angry at those who disagree with them. So out of hate, some grown men with a complete lack of foresight murders, or at least removes the life of, a teenage boy.

    Congratulations NIC, Bill Perdue, and the rest of you. You’re no better than monsters like Brandon. In fact, you’re worse, because he’s a child – we pity his mistakes. You’re an adult – we are disgusted by yours.

    America: The civilized world awaits.

  38. Tim says

    I wish we could stop beating the issue to death (pun entirely intended). Trying McInerney as an adult is or isn’t fair. He goes behind bars for too long or too short a time. We all feel better. Someone new dies next week. We feel bad again.

    The fact remains that our society purports that it’s okay to (1) talk about people because they are different, (2) handle a gun (3) without adult supervision, through (item X) kill people as an expression of anger, confusion, goading, and/or hate. Yes, the kid’s a murderer, yes the case should be handled. Don’t waste energy on that.

    Energy expended on imposing consequences (treating symptoms) is never effective. In this case, people die, and THEN we talk about making an example of the killers. Energy expended on identifying and combating society’s mores that make hate acceptable (treating causes) is the only way the Brandon McInerney’s and Lawrence King’s of this world will have some peace in the safe, supportive environments they deserve. Support organizations like the Safe Schools Coalition, or better yet, Get Involved with kids Yourself.

  39. Yeek says

    The whole issue of trying McInerey as an adult (or pleading for the DA not to) is simply a PR ploy.

    Both the prosecution and the defense know that if you get a good-looking white kid on the stand who bursts into tears and blubbers about how sorry he is, the chances of getting all twelve members of a jury to convict him on murder one are questionable at best.

    The DA will lose huge amounts of credibility if the case goes to trial and they actually lose – they just aren’t going to take that kind of chance. Therefore, McInerey will be offered a deal before the case even gets close to trial, and he will take it, and he’ll be back home by the time he’s 22 years old at the latest.

    You don’t have to like it, but that’s the way it is.

  40. devilgirl says

    There’s a couple of facts we’ve forgotten here.

    What do Lawrence King’s PARENTS AND FAMILY WANT? This to me is the prime issue. The gay groups can proselytize all they want, but what is it really of their business?

    And what about the kids that Lawrence was brutally murdered right in front of? Those kids are probably experiencing nightmares, stress, and untold years of therapy ahead of them. I knew someone who witnessed a two-plane midair collision and saw body parts raining down out of the sky, and she was in therapy for over twenty years. These are children who witnessed a horrible murder. What about them?

    And I’m with the person above who said the murderer had to PLAN all this–how to get the gun, how to shoot it, how to get it to school, and where and when to do it. Don’t tell me that kid didn’t know what he was doing b’c his ‘brain was underdeveloped’.

  41. devilgirl says

    “Before then, kids aren’t fully able to reason right and wrong in longterm views: things seem like the end of the world, when really they can be quite trivial in the grand scheme of things.”

    Ryan, please tell me you weren’t saying murder is trivial. And please, let me assure you, at 14 I knew murder was wrong, and I bet so did all of the people posting here.

  42. E. says

    He should be tried as an adult and given the death penalty.
    Make an example of him and people should learn that it is not right to kill your fellow human being. Maybe this way parents will try harder to teach their children to respect life and other people’s rights.