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Prosecutors Call Student's Shooting A Hate Crime

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Prosecutors in Ventura County, California say the shooting death of 15-year-old Oxnard junior high school student Lawrence King was a premeditated hate crime.

The "Los Angeles Times" reports King's classmates say he recently started wearing makeup and jewelry and proclaimed himself gay.

Several students say King and a group of boys, including the suspect Brian McInerney, had an argument about King's sexual orientation a day before the killing.

Doctors were optimistic about King's recovery and for a while he did show signs of improving. However, neurosurgeons declared King brain dead on Wednesday.

If convicted, McInerney could face 50 years to life in prison.

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Guest Rustic Monk

i cannot stop thinking how that could have been me or any one of my friends.

i have had many such physical confrontations while i was in middle school.

it is sad we are turning out this way.

sooner or later these kids will get tired of victimization; and they'll be the ones with the guns. just like virginia tech and columbine. so where does that put us? do you think the legality of those home-made 9mm smg's stopped them? do you think making it harder to get guns means people won't get them? do you think guns really have anything to do with this?

a transgendered person's throat was slit in the middle of time square. do you think no weapons should be allowed in times square? do you think making it harder to get a swiss army knife will stop people from getting them?

a young man in alameda bludgeoned an older man to death while they were sleeping together in the same bed. should we therefore stop selling baseball bats and wrap every hard object in safety foam?

your ideas for policy changes are all well and good. but you're overlooking personal accountability. that's the most important thing of all. sure, many people own guns, I have a few now. but what stops me from shooting that idiot on the street obviously wasn't there for who shot King. we need to address that.

this isn't an isolated incident in my opinion. this is another school shooting at another school. no, i think this is more than school shootings. this is bigger than gun control and tolerance. i think there's a sickness in america that needs to be addressed. and it shouldn't be addressed after it's too late.

you guys need to shut the fuck up and stop arguing politics and gun laws here. someone has died.

you should instead look to where you can prevent something like this from happening again. otherwise, you're just blowing smoke.

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Gentlemen!

I posted this topic to point out the fact that a double tragedy has occurred... two lives lost, both Larry's and Brandon's.

The question of whether the death was caused by a gun, a kitchen knife or a baseball bat is a moot point, although prosecutors will undoubtedly link that with the hate crime/premeditated aspect of their case, as killing someone with a baseball bat or even a kitchen knife could fall within the realm of a momentary act of passion, but that probably would not fit 'death by gunshot.'

OK I think we know that - like religion and politics- the question of firearms is another one of those highly controversial topics that will not be resolved in the AD Forums. We all pretty much come down on one side or the other of the question, and all the talking and discussion in the world is unlikely to convince someone to change his or her mind on the subject.

I think Cole put his finger on what the real question is here... where did the hate come from? Brandon learned it somewhere and the description of his home life and father seem a plausible explanation. A more interesting discussion might be 'should responsibility for hate crimes perpetrated by young people be shared by their families?'

Anyway.. let's not escalate the gun control pro/anti aspect to the extent of personalalities, as it's honestly a side issue, especially in this case.

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Edit: Addition:

I wrote and posted the following while Dude was posting.

I agree with him that personal attacks are wrong in any debate.

I wrote the following in response to TR's fear that all Americans might be judged by the actions of a few.

...

I can only imagine what citizens of other countries think when they read these endless reports of 'gunmen' and 'stand-offs' and such here, most likely they think we all walk about armed and dangerous. Frankly, that's how I generally feel about my own fellow citizens, particularly in states like Texas or Oklahoma. I don't even honk at bad drivers, for fear they may be armed...and that's no exaggeration, many people carry guns under their seats or in the glovebox while driving.

...

Why some kids can do that, be openly different and remain safe, but others cannot is a puzzle that needs solving, for the sake of the ones who suffer. Or die.

TR :hehe:

Strangely enough, TR, as a citizen of another country, I try not to judge any country by the actions of some of its population.

I say strangely, because I am used to hearing from many quarters a derogatory but ironic, "Americans -you gotta love 'em."

Unfortunately, ever since we had a gun recall in Australia, a few years ago, I seem to notice an increase here in the number of deaths by bullet in suburbia. Statistics of course would prove me wrong. As I watch our ever increasing adoption of fear tactics by politicians and religious leaders, I notice an increasing reluctance to discuss first.

More and more people are shooting their mouths off in a blaze of unthinking statements that incite one hate crime after another.

Car rage is becoming a national pastime. Why road traffic controllers do not understand that too brief traffic lights contribute to this rage is beyond me. So too why do we not see that a half-cocked gun in the pocket is too easy an answer to our frustrations, our fears, our inability to look beyond the impulse to react?

The movie, "Hate Crime" is an interesting if horrific study in this, but I do not know whether it was intended to question if one hate crime can justify another, or if the movie was just plain gratuitous vengeance. It comes razor close to being the latter, but I hope it was meant to encourage debate?

"The right to bear arms," issue, was to my mind never meant to be taken as a right to rush around with a fully-loaded gun, shooting at whomever disagreed with the bearer of the arms. It was meant to offer protection, a means to defend ones-self and family from attack from others in a more pioneering climate than we live in today. Defending one's belief by shooting those who oppose those beliefs seems barbaric to me and not the intention of the "right to bear arms."

But in life and school, persecution often leads to assassination, and sadly we seem in my country and others, too easily swayed to shoot first and then when it becomes obvious that we have a so-called Mexican stand-off, we find it impossible to hold meaningful peace-talks, or even begin to understand the consequences of being there.

Sadly these situations seem on the rise, everywhere. They appear to be fueled by age old fears and prejudices, by unwillingness to accommodate the differences in nations as well as individuals. But most of all, they seem to come from irrational thoughts of immature egos, still playing games in the school yard, in an attempt to defend what they have been led to believe without question.

It is patently obvious to any one who looks beneath the surface that no one should judge a people by the actions of some of the nation.

It is also true that you cannot judge an individual by the collective actions of a nation.

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I am opening this topic again in the hope that it will not degenerate into another name-calling, vitriolic exchange. That is the ultimate form of thread hijacking.

This is an important topic that needs to be addressed... urgently.

HERE is the Associated Press's take on it:

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This is an important topic that needs to be addressed... urgently.

HERE is the Associated Press's take on it:

Dude, that video has been removed and is no longer available at that link. Can you furnish another info source?

TR :stare:

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AP VIDEO to right center of story

I think the above link to page with imbedded video link may be the video Dude wanted us to see, it begins with a close-shot of the boy's face. Video is within story page, midway down, on right.

TR :stare:

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It was reported in one recent account that the victim had told the shooter the day before that he liked him.

How many gay boys have been through this, to varying, or the same, degrees? Tell someone you find them attractive or that you like them, and sacrifice any and everything up to your life because of it?

Brandon, the victim, had a great deal of courage and resolve to live as he wanted to despite the consequences. And now he's dead.

C

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Unless the person telling me they liked me was Hannibal Lecter, I'd be hard pressed to get upset over it. How anyone could take offense at being liked speaks of a very damaged psyche.

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Brandon, the victim, had a great deal of courage and resolve to live as he wanted to despite the consequences. And now he's dead.

C

14-year-old Brandon David McInerney is actually the suspect being charged with premeditated murder (bail set at $770,000).

The victim was schoolmate 15-year-old Lawrence King who was shot on his junior high school campus and later died of head wounds.

It is the AP-release video clip about Lawrence that Dude was directing us to view.

Just wanted to clarify.

TR

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It is not gun culture. It is America itself. :S

We have gun-control here. Permit to carry license, permit to own, permit to purchase, stuff like that. My father has an M-16, a shotgun, and a revolver. I have seen it at different times, but we were never allowed to touch it. I have only seen dad use the shotgun once. On a really BIG king cobra on the front yard.

That said, we live on Mindanao. The most volatile island in the Philippines. Where the islamic separatists and the terrorists are. We are a prominent (in name) family here, and we have received threats before.

The guns are justified. It is there for protection.

However, I once had this high school teacher. Young (probably only in his early thirties when he started teaching). The son of a prominent member of the University. He was a 'bad boy' who 'found religion'. A prodigal son, you might call him. He carried a gun whenever he goes out drinking. On the fiesta of the nearest city here, he got angry at the comments of another guy. He was drunk. He attempted to pull the gun (a .45) from his holster with every intention of shooting the guy.

He was lucky. He fumbled and pulled the trigger. He shot himself in the leg instead (his thigh I think). Much much better than murder. He went MIA at school for 2 weeks, then when he came back he was on crutches. He acted like the victim, and he actually broke down in front of the class, apologizing and stuff. He was a prick. Nobody liked him.

America... is not a warzone. Why the need for guns? I doubt any 1984-esque government control is eminent any time soon.

Anyway, gun control is not the issue. It is public education systems over there. It encourages bullying, xenophobia, homophobia, social stratification. I have a childhood friend studying now in Texas, and she says the schools there are waaay different than it is here. The cliques are much more... umm... self-contained, everyone gets labels, and the teachers just don't care. Isn't it strange that almost all of the school shootings by students happen in America?

Until the schools there start educating children against hate crimes, or at least to be more accepting of diversity, school shootings, suicides, and murders will still continue. Gun control won't stop that alone.

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Yeah, you're right, TR. My error.

Watching vidoes of Lawrence's friends speaking, reading accounts of the boy, are simply heartbreaking. And you can't help but feel for the other boy. I will never understand trying a boy as an adult. An adult would not have made the decisions he made.

The entire situation is simply awful.

C

14 is way too young to be tried as an adult, though even if he is released at 18 or 21 he has very little chance of ever living a normal life even if he is "fixed". I guess a crappy life is still better than what King ended up with. Reminds me of the British case where two 12 or 13 year old boys (may have been younger than that even) kidnapped and killed a 5 year old boy. They were both tried as adults and when they were release at 21 they had to get name changes as people were trying to kill them 10 years later.

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It is not gun culture. It is America itself. :S

We have gun-control here. Permit to carry license, permit to own, permit to purchase, stuff like that. My father has an M-16, a shotgun, and a revolver. I have seen it at different times, but we were never allowed to touch it. I have only seen dad use the shotgun once. On a really BIG king cobra on the front yard.

-snip-

Anyway, gun control is not the issue. It is public education systems over there. It encourages bullying, xenophobia, homophobia, social stratification. I have a childhood friend studying now in Texas, and she says the schools there are waaay different than it is here. The cliques are much more... umm... self-contained, everyone gets labels, and the teachers just don't care. Isn't it strange that almost all of the school shootings by students happen in America?

Until the schools there start educating children against hate crimes, or at least to be more accepting of diversity, school shootings, suicides, and murders will still continue. Gun control won't stop that alone.

I cannot tell you how many things are wrong with this.

You cannot base your opinion on someone else's. The problem in America is not the education. The problem is not America. There is no 'problem' to be fixed in just America. It is the natural order of things: people feel the need to be protected. Many Americans don't know the difference between third-world poverty and what they consider to be a low-income area. Why? Because it is all relative. I can tell you that just as many people own guns in rural Mexico as they do in the United States and, while there are nearly no school shootings, all the problems revolve around the same things (at varying degrees, and concluded differently).

I cannot stand here and say "the problem is America" just because I once lived in a country with different problems (while it's true that community crimes are scarce, we also have a really big problem with armed burglary and assault in tourist areas). Different countries are different (just be logical, people).

Everything has an effect on everything else. These 'statistics' are caused by combined factors of basically everything happening inside the country and everything happening outside the country. Americans are constantly bombarded with images of violence, stories about armed burglary, documentaries on the problems of other countries, and accounts of the problems in America and of America (gang violence in certain areas, the war in Iraq, etc). It is not only natural that people lose sight of real problems and project the problems of other areas (even as remote as other countries) into their reality.

Let me repeat: it is not an American problem, as many people would like to say. It is a world problem. It's nice to be able to point your finger in any direction, instead of recognizing that one's own problems have an effect on other people. Having said that, events in America--as seen very clearly in this topic-- have an effect on others... just look at how many people are arguing about something that happened here!

Maddy (:

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IMHO, it's a "nurture" problem. There's one passage in the Bible that I have always believed in, and it says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." It's somewhere in the Book of Proverbs. If Brandon actually grew up as someone who does not think that he has to need a gun in order to deal with another guy liking him, but instead ask the counsel of a sensible adult, then this tragedy would not have happened.

But it already had, and I really feel bad about it. If there's a way Brandon would be exiled instead, then I would propose that. (If his family would agree, of course.) But that's just unfair to the other boys who had been sentenced the same way before him.

Everything boils down, for me, to each of us. It's just a matter of treating everyone right, being polite and all.

Anyway, I'll stop now. That^^ seemed to be impossible to ask for in this world.

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I think we all need to remember that the media makes things SEEM worse than they are. In the past, there might be an 'incident' and there would be one mention of this in the newspaper. Before papers, there might be nobody outside the immediate neighbourhood who would even hear about it. Now, though, we don't just hear it once, but dozens and even hundreds of times. Each TV news show, for days, will rehash it. Each channel does. It goes on You Tube, and people pass IMs and emails. Before you know it, the one incident seems to be a whole armada of incidents. It seems that we are overrun with problems. It is simply not true. This 'rant' is not a condemnation of the media either. It is not their fault. It is simply the nature of the job, of the medium, even of our need for stimulation and learning about something other than our relatively boring lives. And truly, we do lead, for the most part, boring and uneventful, and yes, peaceful lives.

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However, I once had this high school teacher. Young (probably only in his early thirties when he started teaching). The son of a prominent member of the University. He was a 'bad boy' who 'found religion'. A prodigal son, you might call him. He carried a gun whenever he goes out drinking. On the fiesta of the nearest city here, he got angry at the comments of another guy. He was drunk. He attempted to pull the gun (a .45) from his holster with every intention of shooting the guy.

He was lucky. He fumbled and pulled the trigger. He shot himself in the leg instead (his thigh I think). Much much better than murder. He went MIA at school for 2 weeks, then when he came back he was on crutches. He acted like the victim, and he actually broke down in front of the class, apologizing and stuff. He was a prick. Nobody liked him.

America... is not a warzone. Why the need for guns? I doubt any 1984-esque government control is eminent any time soon.

You cannot classify everyone over the actions of a few. We can all think of time when we've seen an idiot driver on the road, but do we condem every driver as being incompetent because of that?

As for America not being a warzone; google VT massacre, NIU shooting, Trolley Square, Omaha Mall, etc. The perpetrators may be Americans but that doesn't make them any less of a threat or any less deadly than an Islamic militant.

I agree completely with Rad, it is a total "nurture" problem. All these "no child left behind", "zero tolerance", and other policies that are suppose to better our children have done the opposite and sheltered them from truth and reality. When some are confronted with a real world big issue they have no idea how to repond and, more times than not, act inappropriately. They say the worst roads are paved with good intentions. It sounds bad, but maybe our children might fare better later in life if we make it harder on them now than they currently have it. (I'm saying "our" in a collective sense). There needs to be a balance and a conservative tone. Kind of like anti-biotics. We need them to help cure infections, but overuse can make them ineffective and the bacterial strains stronger and harder to fight. Implementing massive amounts of policies and banning everything under the sun is not helping any.

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I think we all need to remember that the media makes things SEEM worse than they are. In the past, there might be an 'incident' and there would be one mention of this in the newspaper. Before papers, there might be nobody outside the immediate neighbourhood who would even hear about it. Now, though, we don't just hear it once, but dozens and even hundreds of times. Each TV news show, for days, will rehash it. Each channel does. It goes on You Tube, and people pass IMs and emails. Before you know it, the one incident seems to be a whole armada of incidents. It seems that we are overrun with problems. It is simply not true. This 'rant' is not a condemnation of the media either. It is not their fault. It is simply the nature of the job, of the medium, even of our need for stimulation and learning about something other than our relatively boring lives. And truly, we do lead, for the most part, boring and uneventful, and yes, peaceful lives.

True, but the media is a business that will only report on what sells. It's funny that we rely on this business medium for our source of information and consider it to be mostly factual and representive when ,for the most part, it can be extremely biased. Good stories are hard to find, but death and destruction are a dime-a-dozen.

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Ellen DeGeneres Responds to Killing of Lawrence King

Ellen DeGeneres cleared some time during an episode of her talk show, set to air today, to comment on the killing of 15-year-old Lawrence King who was shot Feb. 12 in Oxnard, California allegedly because he was gay. In the commentary, posted to her website last night, Ellen talked about equality, homophobia and the importance of screening politicians on equality. She became emotional and choked up.

ELLEN DEGENERES RESPONDS TO KILLING --STORY and VIDEO

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From Harvard's The Crimson

An American Miseducation

Recent hate crime reveals the failings of American attitudes toward homosexuality

Published On Friday, February 29, 2008 1:16 AM

By THE CRIMSON STAFF

Two weeks ago in Oxnard, Calif., Lawrence King?an eighth-grader who had recently come out as gay and had begun wearing makeup and dressing like a woman?was shot in the head by a 14-year-old classmate. While crimes motivated by homophobia are unfortunately not unheard of, this incident struck many as particularly disturbing.

This murder at a middle school in a comfortable, middle-class beach community has been classified as a hate crime for which the perpetrator?who is being tried as an adult?faces up to 52 years in jail. Despite the heinousness of this crime, the killer seems to have suffered at the hands of American cultural attitudes, just as his victim did. This incident was an eloquently horrible manifestation of some of the effects of latent homophobia in the United States.

Simply put, 14-year-olds do not take it upon themselves to kill homosexuals without a considerable amount of ideological influence, be it from family, friends, or the media. A boy of 14 years is not known for making the most rational decisions. Nor are 14-year-olds notoriously free from outside influence.

The media culture of violence coupled with the accessibility of guns in this country never ceases to spell disaster for frustrated teens who can think of no peaceful recourse to their problems. Thus, trying a 14-year-old as an adult when a 14-year-old does not have the capacity to make adult judgments is nothing short of absurd. Hate crimes in particular require a certain level of conviction and premeditation unique to adults. A statutory age should be considered in the charging of hate crimes.

There is no explanation for an act such as this other than that the killer was imbued with homophobia from an impressionable age. While the influences the young killer encountered weighed heavily on the crime, equally important were the teachings he did not encounter.

Homosexuality is an issue that is notably absent from the ?diversity is beautiful? curricula of elementary and middle schools. We are proud to say that the American educational system and our society at large have progressed to an extent that racial slurs are no longer tolerated in most schools. However, American educational attitudes toward homosexuality remain lamentably ambivalent.

On the one hand, Lawrence King felt comfortable enough in his school environment to come out at such a young age. On the other hand, many young people who have unconventional sexual or gender orientations are subject to merciless teasing (and in this case, ultimately death) because of attitudes that schools have not done enough to curtail.

If homosexuality were presented to children in schools from a very young age as an acceptable facet of diversity (as race and religion are), we would certainly see a decline in the blindly cruel homophobia of American youth. The death of a 15-year-old in the name of homophobia is an issue that transcends the objections of the religious right. Refusing to discuss homosexuality with children does not make homosexuality disappear. Rather, it makes the issue shadowy, frightening, and more salient than ever to the most impressionable members of American society.

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