Documentary About The Murder Of Lawrence King Shows Teachers, Jurors Sympathized With His Killer: VIDEO

Jurors

On Monday night HBO aired Valentine Road, a documentary of the murder of high schooler Lawrence "Larry" King by his classmate Brandon McInerney. Some of the clips available from the show are positively gut-wrenching, particularly when King's former 7th grade teacher Shirley Brown says, without an ounce of shame, that:

"When he asked me what to do about the situation [of his orientation], my response to him was, 'Nothing! What to do about the situation is 'nothing,' and to keep it private, and to dwell upon on it.' Larry shouldn't have expressed himself so blatantly, openly transexual."

He came to her for help, and Ms. Brown tried instead to make him feel shame.

Arguably worse are the attitudes of some of the jurors who can't seem to quite grasp the gravity of the crime of one student murdering another, clucking amongst themselves as if McInerney was an 8-year-old child who had gotten into a fight rather than a 14-year-old young adult who deliberately killed his classmate. They also seem intent on making sure that King bore some of the responsibility for his own murder. Said jurors Diane Michaels and Karen McElhaney to each other:

"Where are the civil rights of the one being taunted by another person who is cross-dressing? They have to address that, it's very important. No, it wasn't addressed, and he had no one he could turn to because the school was so pro-Larry King's civil rights. But where was Brandon's civil rights?"
"It was the high heels, I think it was the makeup, the behavior…"
"Because Marina…"
"Yes, she had a girlfriend, they were told not to hold hands in school, so they stopped."
"She got it."
"Exactly."
"And Larry didn't get it. And had he followed her example…"
"We wouldn't be here today."

It's remarkable they didn't blame King for the gun being loaded. The video clips are tough to watch, but if you have the stomach for them, you can see both of the clips quoted above over at Gawker.

Comments

  1. Gigi says

    It’s the age old “blame to victim” story. Women deserve to be raped because they “entice” men with their womanliness and gay people deserve to killed because they’re gay.
    The Gay Panic defense. It’s 2013. When will this stop?

  2. Adrenan P says

    The type of homophobia expressed by these women is an extension of the gender war against men who dare to challenge the rules as invented by women.

    Note that women expect us to accept their own cross-dressing (wearing trousers) but not men wearing dresses.

  3. Sean says

    No, thank you. I’ve suffered enough ignorant white trash bigots in my life, I do not need to volunteer to watch them on a website. Hell all I really have to do is watch the 113th Congress!

  4. Thedrdonna says

    I hope that in 25 year’s time, when LGBT rights have progressed a lot farther than they have now, these people are rightly viewed as ignorant and bigoted, by the populace at large. I do have faith that things are changing, but stories like this turn my stomach.

  5. Steve says

    Lol. Look at all the hatred directed at these folks for stating their opinion. Too bad, folks. They have a point. The point is not that the murder was justified. The killer was convicted and is in prison, as he should be. The point is that King was not a pure angel who was just minding his own business. It is pretty clear that King was not a typical gay kid, if he was even gay at all. He was clearly caught up in transgender behavior and may well have identified not as gay, but as a hetero trans “girl.”

    Like a lot of trans people, King had poor judgment and was unable to assess the risks of his conduct. King taunted McInerney, trying to suggest to the whole school that McInerney was gay and in some sort of relationship with King. Well, you bait a 14-year old boy and you just might get a violent reaction.

  6. olympiasepiriot says

    @ Steve @ 1:18:58 —

    Take out all the other stuff and re-read the last sentence: “Well, you bait a 14-year old boy and you just might get a violent reaction.”

    And if it were a “real” girl? Just one he didn’t want to date?

    Among the many lessons we are supposed to learn in life is how to reject someone, that someone might find you attractive but you don’t have to find them attractive, but you should be courteous in your rejection. The teenage years are as good as any to start practicing this…if you haven’t already learned to negotiate unreciprocated friendships in kindergarden.

    A violent response is never, ever appropriate unless you are physically, immediately at risk.

  7. Thedrdonna says

    Steve, it’s kind of funny how much you sound like the right wing bigots whenever they rail against the “homofascists” and their “recruitment of our poor innocent children”.

  8. jamal49 says

    Absolutely appalling! The teen murderer’s civil rights were violated because another teen cross-dresses? I found all this very disturbing. This is blaming the victim.

  9. Carlie says

    @Steve

    Like a lot of white supremacists, McInerney had poor judgment and was unable to access the risk of his behavior.

    The jury decided, in direct contradiction of evidence, that McInerney was a pure angel who was minding his own business. He owned white supremacist literature and clothing and objects with white supremacist gang symbols. There was expert testimony explaining the connection between white supremacy and violence. There was expert testimony that McInerney was a member of the local white supremacist gang.

    There was an obvious, premeditated, bias-based, murder with 30 eye witnesses, yet it took two trials to get a conviction. What emotion should be directed at these jurors?

  10. Steve says

    @Mikey:

    Thanks for proving my point. You felt provoked by my comment, and you responded by wishing violence on me. Presumably, you are an adult, yet you still felt that impulse and you felt justified in putting it down in writing. Now you can understand why it was so dangerous for King to provoke a 14-year old boy with reduced impulse control. And not with a single comment on a blog, but in person and on a daily basis in front of peers.

    TheDrDonna:

    I have no idea what you are talking about. I said nothing about recruitment or fascists. King was not trying to “recruit” McInerney. Just the opposite. He was taunting him, knowing that McInerney found his overtures – made in school in front of peers – to be not tempting, but offensive. King kept doing it. Not to recruit or seduce, but to provoke McInerney to rage. Well, he succeeded.

    OLYMPIASEPIRIOT:

    You spend a lot of time explaining why McInerney was wrong. But there is no need to argue that point. I said as much. I think everyone agrees that what he did was wrong. He was convicted and he is in the prison system today.

    The reason these documentary clips became hot is b/c the teacher and some jurors pointed out that King harassed McInerney. They are right. King’s case was very different from the typical gaybashing in school case. In the vast majority of these cases, they gay kid will go out of his way to avoid conflict in school over sexuality. He is pursued by bullies despite his or her best efforts to make peace.

    By contrast, King, who may not even have been gay, went out of his way to confront and provoke, without knowing or understanding the risks involved. He even followed McInerney into the bathroom to harass him there. I don’t see any reason to demonize the teacher or the jurors for making truthful statements.

  11. Thedrdonna says

    @Steve. Your blindness to your own ignorance is not surprising. Most bigots truly believe whatever horrible thing they’re saying, without any awareness of how much they sound like other bigots. Given your obvious anti-trans animus, attempting to explain it to you would be a waste of time.

  12. Steve says

    @TheDrDonna:

    First you claim that I posted something about recruitment and fascism. Then, when called out, you throw in the towel on argument, even while you take the time to call me names. Well, as long as we are name calling, you are intellectually dishonest and shallow.

    @Mark:

    I am gay and I have experienced bullying. So sorry not to fit your preconceived notions. Again, not one person is saying that the homicide was justified. It wasn’t. Just because folks point out truths about the victim does not mean that they endorse the crime.

  13. Jamie says

    This is to Steve.

    First off, I’m not going to bash you since that’s EXACTLY what you are looking for. Obviously you knew you were going to ruffle some feathers with your comments and you succeeded. Good job.

    However, my first question to you is have you actually seen the documentary? I mean the ENTIRE documentary, because I seriously suggest you do before you start making any more comments about Larry King.

    “Just because folks point out truths about the victim does not mean that they endorse the crime.”

    And just what folks are you talking about? What are these actual “truths” that you know that no one else here does? Did you know Larry or Brandon personally? Again, I am not trying to bash you here or make fun of you. The reason why I am asking you these questions is because I have noticed that there are many people out there (straight and gay) who are truly convinced that Larry is mostly to blame because he “sexually harassed” Brandon. But in the film, the only people who claim that Larry harassed Brandon is Brandon’s defence team. You can also read Marta Cunningham’s interview here where she talks a little bit about it…
    http://variety.com/2013/film/news/qa-valentine-road-director-marta-cunningham-on-her-hbo-doc-1200705725/

    I mean, I find that quite interesting. Even the homophobic teacher, Shirley Brown, doesn’t seem to mention any sexual harassment caused by Larry. She talks about how openly “transsexual” he was and you can tell by looking at her at how disgusted she is by gay people. She even talks about how she understands why Brandon did what he did. She even implies that Larry is in hell. So why wouldn’t she, out of all people, mention any sexual harassment caused by Larry? Because it probably did not happen in my opinion.

    But hey, it’s my opinion and you are clearly entitled to yours. But I honestly think you (along with many other gay men) are transphobic though. That’s a shame.

  14. FFS says

    Problem with that, Stevey, is that you aren’t pointing out truths. You’re asserting that a young child who let it be known that he had a crush on another child bares culpability in his own murder.

    You can repeat “obviously what McInerney did was wrong” all you like. The rest of what you type clearly belies that you don’t find that obvious or true, at all.

  15. Thedrdonna says

    @Steve:
    You: “He was clearly caught up in transgender behavior”
    Anti gay bigot Tom Mcmillin: “Caught up in the homosexual lifestyle”

    You: “Like a lot of trans people, King had poor judgment”
    The American Family Association: “Homosexuality is a poor and dangerous choice, and has been proven to lead to a litany of health hazards”

    You look like a bigot, you quack like a bigot. Evidence says you are a bigot.

  16. Kevin G says

    Just saw this movie. So well done, you see both sides of the story. Hear from Brandon’s family, Larry’s friends, teachers on both sides, the jurors, prosecutors and defense attorneys. Highly recommended, though it may, nay, will piss you off.

  17. Kevin G says

    For those empathizing with Brandon, realize he could have filed a sexual harassment charge against Larry. Putting two bullets point blank to the back of his head is a far cry from trying to stop the situation. If the teachers, educators thought Larry was at risk then either of the students should have moved to another school. In fact, Brandon couldn’t get his friends to go along with hurting Larry

  18. Jim says

    I think the adults are responsible and Brandon was punished for their absolute failings.

    And because of what happened they adults who are still teaching haven’t changed, all that happened is that a little kid is locked up and will come out a hardened criminal with white supremacist.

    A society that thinks it is ok to try 14 year olds as adults can never hope to develop tolerance.

    BTW I am gay.

  19. Steve says

    I want to apologize to everyone for my incredibly stupid posts. I have to explain myself – I’m a very insecure gay man who was beaten regularly by my parents when they caught me having sex with a neighbor boy when I was in my early teens. He was clearly much younger than me, but he was also effeminate and he provoked me into doing it. Because of this incident, I continue to get angry at effeminate gays.

    So, once again, I apologize for my hateful and stupid posts. I wrote what I wrote because I’m rather messed up.

  20. Corey Lovins says

    These people don’t have a good understanding and seem to have difficulty putting themselves in the shoes of another. From what I experienced in high school I can tell you that it doesn’t matter how out you are. Kids can just smell it and they’ll pick you apart for it because American youth are very very cruel people for some reason or another.

  21. Steven says

    “Apology” post above is not from me. I stand by everything I said.

    TheDrDonna:

    So you’ve dropped the recruitment/fascism charge and are now complaining that I said “caught up in transgender behavior” and made a point about lack of judgment. On the first point, “transgender” includes unconventional gender expression, which is behavior. So there is nothing anti-trans about referring to transgender behavior. I refer to that behavior instead of just referring to King as a transgirl, because I don’t know for a fact that he identified that way, which is also why I refer to King as he. Ironic that I have more respect for King’s identity than you do.

    As for a lot of trans people having a lack of judgment especially when it comes to risk assessment, that happens to be true. Not all, but a lot. Deal with it.

    @Jamie:

    Thank you for not bashing me. I shouldn’t have to thank you for basic civility, but on Towleroad, it is a rare gift. It would have been better had you made it all the way to the end of your comment without giving in to the need to label me and other people as “phobic”. Deal with arguments, not with pseudo-psychological diagnoses.

    The harassment was reported in the LA Times when the story initially broke. The LAT also reported that the school had encouraged King to crossdress and did nothing as he taunted McInerney, probably fearing that they would be accused by people like you of “transphobia.” If they had stepped in and told both King and McInerney to have no communication, this whole thing could have been avoided.

  22. Jamie says

    Steven,

    It’s interesting how you are telling me and others here to “deal with it”, but you clearly cannot “deal with it” when someone has good reason to believe you’re transphobic. Pseudo-psychology has nothing to do with it. Your comments did come off as pretty ignorant. TheDrDonna, and a few others here, cleverly pointed that out.

    I think I know about that LA Times article you are talking about. I’m pretty sure it’s the one Towleroad posted a couple years ago about some of the teachers testifying on behalf of the defence. Is it this one?
    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/aug/11/local/la-me-0811-gay-student-20110811

    The school did not “encourage” Larry to cross dress or wear makeup. Because of a law that passed, it was his right to wear makeup and jewellery if he chose. The school, for legal reasons, couldn’t stop him.

    I do agree with you though that Larry taunted Brandon at times, but I do not believe it was sexual harassment. From what other students have stated in different articles, Larry would fight back by taunting Brandon after Brandon and his friends bullied him. Basically, they started picking on him and he would get so upset that he reacted.

    “If they had stepped in and told both King and McInerney to have no communication, this whole thing could have been avoided.”

    Actually if the school promoted tolerance and understanding a whole lot more, which they didn’t do at all, this whole thing could have been avoided.

    I know you and I could probably argue back and forth forever on this topic, but again I have to ask if you have seen Valentine Road in its entirety? If not, you really need to.

  23. Jamie says

    Actually, I take back the part where I said the school didn’t promote tolerance and understanding at all because there was one teacher, Dawn Boldrin, who tried to do just that.

  24. Hazel says

    Gay, Transgender, confused, whatever his case was.. This kid DID NOT deserve to die because of it. He was only 15 years old.. He had a life ahead of him. It’s heartbreaking.

  25. Hazel says

    Gay, Transgender, confused, whatever his case was.. This kid DID NOT deserve to die because of it. He was only 15 years old.. He had a life ahead of him. It’s heartbreaking.

  26. Michael says

    Larry the queer should have never been allowed to wear makeup or women’s clothes at school. The school system enabled this killing and this issue should have been addressed; however, the killer should have just whipped his ass instead of shooting him. But you know that queers have a way of bringing out the worst in any class of people.

  27. Derrick from Philly says

    @ “But you know that queers have a way of bringing out the worst in any class of people.”

    I should remember that after a discussion has ended for more than a week that a f.cking lunatic may find his way to this blog.

  28. Jessica says

    This boy in no way deserved to be shot and killed duh. The taunting by the victim does not justify the killing however for someone to respond to it by shooting the person taunting in that way makes me wonder about what he went through as a boy. I wouldnt be suprised to find out he was molested and this taunting brought up unbareable feelings.

  29. Jessica says

    This boy in no way deserved to be shot and killed duh. The taunting by the victim does not justify the killing however for someone to respond to it by shooting the person taunting in that way makes me wonder about what he went through as a boy. I wouldnt be suprised to find out he was molested and this taunting brought up unbareable feelings.

  30. Cfrench says

    I cannot believe how much I want to smack those women with their cheap wine and shove their ignorance up their asses. I have never wanted to tell off someone so badly in my life. The teachers and administration should all be fired…and I am a teacher. How dare they impress such narrow-minded beliefs on children? Injustice is an understatement.

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