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04/19/2007


Murder in the Classroom

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An unfortunate juxtoposition of headlines at the L.A. Times.

Writes Dan Savage: "Too bad that gay kid didn't make the honor roll."

Larry King's father lashed out at the jury during today's sentencing:

Greg King, reading a biting four-page statement to the court before Brandon McInerney was sentenced to 21 years in state prison, called jurors "incompetent" for failing to reach a verdict in the murder trial. McInerney pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and manslaughter rather than go to trial a second time.

More on the McInerney sentencing here, earlier.


Brandon McInerney to Be Sentenced Today for Killing of Gay Classmate

Brandon McInerney is scheduled for sentencing today in the death of his gay classmate Lawrence King:

McinerneyA Southern California teenager faces 21 years in state prison when he's sentenced Monday for killing a gay student during a computer lab class three years ago.

In a deal reached with Ventura County prosecutors last month, 17-year-old Brandon McInerney agreed to avoid a retrial and plead guilty to second-degree murder, as well as one count each of voluntary manslaughter and use of a firearm.

The L.A. Times reports that tensions still simmer at the E.O. Green elementary school where King was killed and some parents still wonder if their children are safe there:

Leaders of the Hueneme Elementary School District, which operates E.O. Green and 10 other schools, say they have no plans to make policy changes as a result of the shooting. Supt. Jerry Dannenberg said there is no need because E.O. Green administrators acted appropriately before and after the shooting on Feb. 12, 2008.

An investigation carried out by the district's insurance carrier determined that no laws were broken nor policies ignored, Dannenberg said. He also defended a memorandum distributed to the school's staff a few weeks before the shooting advising them that King was within his rights. Students "don't have to like it, but they need to give him his space."

Dannenberg said the school board determined that, legally, no changes were necessary. In a lawsuit brought by the Kings, the district admitted no wrongdoing but did settle with the family for more than $250,000.


Hate Group Leader Bryan Fischer Wants to Make the World a Safer Place for Homosexuals: VIDEO

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How to do that? Curb flamboyant homosexual behavior at schools, so that kids like Larry King won't get their heads blown off by classmates. Because it was Larry's fault that he's dead now, right?

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

In a written piece, Fischer goes on about how King's killer McInerney, was the real victim:

McInerney complained to school officials about this obviously inexcusable sexual harassment, but school officials did precisely nothing, just telling McInerney to suck it up and take it. Even when teachers reported the growing tension between King and McInerney, still school bureaucrats did nothing. Other teachers admitted during trial testimony that they decided to say nothing because they didn’t want to jeopardize their shot at tenure.

Can you imagine the school would have been as sanguine had a straight student been harassing a homosexual student like that? That student wouldn’t have been around long enough to repeat the behavior.

Rush Limbaugh echoes Fischer:

Now we’re told in Newsweek that an assistant principal was encouraging this kid to be flamboyant because it furthered an agenda. I wonder what that agenda could have possibly been? Anybody want to take a wild guess? Back in 2008, the parents and brother of Larry King, the kid who was shot, claimed that the school was allowing him to wear makeup and feminine clothing, and that this was a factor leading to his death. [...]

Is it any wonder that parents get a little worried when they send the little tykes off to school, because I’ll tell you, folks, what’s happening, especially in these blue states, what’s happening in these public schools, the last thing going on is what we’ve all thought of as traditional education. There is education taking place, and there are agendas that are being promoted, but they’re not what you and I were taught in school. So now a confused 17-year-old is dead because the school, “Ah, there’s nothing we can do. There’s nothing that we can do about this. So sorry.”

Continue reading "Hate Group Leader Bryan Fischer Wants to Make the World a Safer Place for Homosexuals: VIDEO" »


Larry King's Father Reacts to Plea Deal Accepted by His Son's Killer, Brandon McInerney: VIDEO

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FOX News 11 spoke with the father of murdered gay teen Larry King yesterday after news broke that his killer, Brandon McInereney, accepted a plea deal that would put him in prison for the next 21 years.

Said King: "I honestly believe that murder is murder and that Brandon McInerney executed my son with the precision of a cold-blooded assassin. I don't think this is second-degree murder. I don't think it's manslaughter."

Of McInerney's sentence, King added, "At the end of the day I think this is something that we can accept."

Asked to comment on the fact that teachers reportedly encouraged Larry King's effeminate behavior, King said, "They should have to answer for what they did, but, uh, at the end of the day Larry did not deserve to be murdered and the Defense trying to paint that Larry somehow deserved to be murdered, to me, is unconscionable."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Larry King's Father Reacts to Plea Deal Accepted by His Son's Killer, Brandon McInerney: VIDEO" »


The AP On Bullying And Blame

LarryKing-BrandonMcInernyA fascinating AP survey of the last year's anti-bullying sentiment appears in today's Washington Post. It's a well written, balanced, succinct piece of work, and it's probably doomed to aggravate a lot of people. 

Writes the AP:

Federal laws clearly uphold students’ rights to express sexual orientation -- boys, for example, are legally allowed to wear skirts just as girls can wear pants -- and obligate schools to provide all students with a safe environment, but problems tend to arise on a social level, often outside the classroom.

The California trial of 17-year-old Brandon McInerney, charged in the 2008 classroom killing of 15-year-old Larry King, showed how a school fulfilled the law by upholding a boy’s right to wear makeup and high heels, but grappled with the social fallout -- bullying of King and King’s response, which was to aggressively flaunt his sexual orientation, including flirtatious and harassing comments to boys.

One of them, McInerney, then 14, is accused of shooting King to death in a classroom. After an August trial ended in a hung jury, prosecutors now plan a second trial.

Testimony from several teachers showed they struggled to cope with escalating tension between King and his bullies, while also respecting his civil rights.

Read from one POV, this reportage is just good common sense. Out gay kids are more likely to get teased than closeted ones. Teased kids, possessing egos like the rest of us, may well respond to teasing with aggression. Tensions may escalate, violence may be done, and some sensitive soul will inevitably wonder if the coming out was worth the trouble.

Read from another POV, the AP story comes perilously close to victim-blaming.

This line has been straddled before, and much less sensitively -- notably in a famous Newsweek story from 2008. In that story, full-time Newsweek writer and freelance gay-baiter Ramin Settodeh described Larry King's relationship with Joy Epstein, an assistant principal at his school:

... as Larry became less inhibited, Epstein became more a source of some teachers' confusion and anger. Epstein, a calm, brown-haired woman with bifocals, was openly gay to her colleagues, and although she was generally not out to her students, she kept a picture of her partner on her desk that some students saw ...

... she formed a special bond with Larry, who was in the eighth grade. He dropped by her office regularly, either for counseling or just to talk -- she won't say exactly. "There was no reason why I specifically started working with Larry," Epstein says. "He came to me." Some teachers believe that she was encouraging Larry's flamboyance, to help further an "agenda," as some put it. One teacher complains that by being openly gay and discussing her girlfriend (presumably, no one would have complained if she had talked about a husband), Epstein brought the subject of sex into school ...

... William Quest, Brandon's public defender, hasn't disclosed his defense strategy, but he has accused the school of failing to intercede as the tension rose between Larry and Brandon. Quest calls Epstein "a lesbian vice principal with a political agenda." Larry's father also blames Epstein. He's hired an attorney and says he is seriously contemplating a wrongful-death lawsuit. "She started to confuse her role as a junior-high principal," Greg King says. "I think that she was asserting her beliefs for gay rights."

Stomach-churning though it may be, that's all straight reporting. The AP story is more free-form, and the writer was at far greater liberty than Settodeh to curate ideas and quotes at will. As a result, it reads more like an attempt by a rational person to participate in a conversation that, so far, has been largely ceded to certain sects of literate homophobes. How misguided, the writer seems to wonder, is the perceived dogma that it's a good idea for all 14-year-olds to come out, at all times and in all plces? And if that dogma exists, how much havoc has it wrought? Towards the top of the AP story, the writer includes this graf:

"A lot of people have the idea that coming out as soon as possible will make themselves feel more comfortable," said Raymond Ferronato, a 16-year-old gay junior in Antioch, Calif. "I tell them come out when you’re ready to come out, and only do it when you’re safe."


Jurors Say Brandon McInerney Deserves Leniency Because Larry King was the Bully

More jurors from the Brandon McInerney trial are speaking out with one saying McInerney got "a raw deal".

Kingmcinerney The L.A. Times adds:

One juror, identified only as Lisa S. because she did not want her whole name used, said many jurors came to believe that King was bullying McInerney by making unwanted sexual advances.

"This wasn't about him being gay,'' she said. "This was about bullying. There was a ton of evidence that Larry was acting inappropriately with other kids at school, and they didn't do anything to stop him."

As for the new case, she added: "It was overcharged and an abuse of power, and I don't think a new jury will see it any different."

I'd say getting shot in the head point-blank and killed by your classmate is a "raw deal" but that's just mho.


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