A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.

Monday, February 25, 2008

LGBTQ: The Murder of Lawrence King

Lawrence King

Time magazine ran a piece this week about the murder of gay teenager Lawrence King of Oxnard, California that deserves an award of some sort. Possibly for being the most duplicitous piece of shit ever written on LGBTQ issues.
Police have charged a sweet-faced boy called Brandon McInerney, 14, with first-degree murder and with a hate crime [....]
says the writer, one John Cloud.

We here at La Casa de Los Gatos cannot question Mr. McCloud's bona fides because we don't really know a lot about him. We can, however, question that statement, and many others that Mr. Cloud makes throughout the article. What's McInerney's "sweet" face got to do with anything? Does it make the dead boy any less dead? Would Mr. Cloud prefer a "sweet-faced" killer to a regular-looking, or even, by gum, an ugly lad?

That "sweet-faced" fourteen-year old somehow managed to get his hands on a gun, took it to school, walked up to Lawrence King, and shot him in the head, killing him. All because he didn't like the fact that Lawrence King wore makeup, or girls' clothes, or boots, or some combination of the bleeding lot. Not a very "sweet" thing to do, is it? An execution-style shooting? It is, in fact, no doubt to Mr. Cloud's great surprise, murder. Premeditated, cold-blooded, malice aforethought murder.

This is the kind of killing that is most dangerous and unacceptable in a civilized society. Society accepts that people are not always in control of their feelings. Sometimes, their emotions overcome their good sense and reason, and they strike out, killing someone. Killing your spouse or partner, and even your children, often falls into this category of murder, and courts, judges, and juries are reluctant to punish spouses, parents, partners, or kin who act in the heat of passion.

McInerney did not act in the heat of passion. He had plenty of time to cool off before committing murder. And the dead boy had done nothing to incite the murder. Society tends to punish murder less harshly when the victim provokes the murderer. Had Lawrence King beaten up Brandon McInerney or raped McInerney's sister, or even shit on McInerney's lawn, the law would probably cut him a little slack.

But &mdash once again, we repeat &mdash without any provocation, and in a cold, calculating, manner, Brandon McInerney, together with a group of his friends, attacked Lawrence King because Lawrence dressed and acted in a manner that made McInerney and his little friends "uncomfortable." According to King's classmates, King had revealed (to whom?) that he had a crush on McInerney, shortly before McInerney murdered him.

And please don't tell us that the "uncomfortable" Brandon McInerney gets a free pass because of the "gay panic" defense. Because if that's the case, every single girl and woman who kills the next stupid motherfucker who makes her "uncomfortable" should get a free pass too. And that's gonna be a lot of girls and women.

Mr. Cloud states, in part, in his article:
[...] the task force is exaggerating the frequency of assaults on gay kids, the vast majority of whom make it through school safe and happy.
We have to wonder to which gay kids Mr. Cloud is referring. Only those who did not come out had a chance to make it through school safe and happy. We distinctly remember the savage attacks against those who failed to hide their differentness. Even those het kids who happened to "look gay" were targeted &mdash hell, het adults who, in the teeny warped and twisted minds of homophobes, appear insufficiently het are often targeted for violence verbal and physical. Mr. Cloud must be living in a parallel universe.

Mr. Cloud blithely goes on to assert:
[...] fully 78% of gay and transgender kids say they feel safe at school, according to a 2005 GLSEN report.
Let's see, does that mean that 22% of gay and transgender kids do not feel safe at school? Doesn't that work out to one out of every five LGBTQ kids feeling unsafe in an environment where they spend the better part of each day?

Mr. Cloud then adds to the asininity of his remarks:
According to another GLSEN survey released in 2006, only 18% of gay and transgender students said they had been assaulted in 2005 because of their sexual orientation
That's still nearly one out of every five LGBTQ kids getting their ass kicked by their homophobic little classmates, Mr. Cloud. We're guessing you were never the recipient of one of those asskickings, because we can assure you that one feels very differently about these things depending on whether one is the kicker, the kickee, or some random purportedly innocent bystander.

Mr. Cloud then opens his mouth again, swiftly changing feet:
True, 66% of gay and transgender kids said they had heard homophobic remarks. But roughly the same proportion — 62% — had heard sexist remarks.
So what are you saying, Mr. Cloud, that makes it OK? If not, why even bother mentioning it? Homophobia and misogyny are rife in our society, Mr. Cloud. Homophobia, in fact, owes a lot to misogyny. Gay men are targeted for being too much like women. Just look at the epithets thrown at them: sissy, pussy, girlie-man (courtesy of Ahnold "nonuts left 'cos I took steroids" Teh Terminator).

And lesbians are targeted for being insufficiently wussy, pussy, and sissy.

Relishing the peppermint flavour of his soles, Mr. Cloud quickly repeats the foot-changing feat:
Some 16% of gay and transgender kids said they had been harassed because of their sexual orientation, but 18% said they had been harassed because of "the way you look or your body size." (Teachers reported they heard sexist comments more often than homophobic ones, and they also saw more harassment based on appearance and weight than on sexual orientation.)
Mr. Cloud, you appear to be ignoring the fact that Lawrence King was being harrassed based on his appearance. The harrassment occurred because King was wearing "cute" boots and makeup. We would also like to point out to Mr. (Hedina) Cloud that the number of people who get killed for being overweight or unfashionably dressed is, to our knowledge, vanishingly small. However, violence against people of colour, women, and LGBTQ people is endemic.

But if you can control yourself long enough to complete reading the article, it becomes clear what Mr. Cloud is saying: he doesn't approve of hate-crime legislation because it "criminaliz[es] people's thoughts."

Pardon us while we call bullshit, Mr. Cloud. Hate-crime legislation does not address the thoughts of the person committing the crime, but their actions. By targeting an individual for murder because of their gender, sexuality, skin-color, race, ethnic group, language, you are not just murdering an individual; you are sending a message to every other individual who shares that common trait with your target that they, too, are in danger from lunatics like yourself. That is what hate-crime legislation is intended to fight, Mr. Cloud. Not the suppositions that you are pulling out of your rear end. Why are idiots like this paid good money to write for our media? And why is Time publishing such scurrilous opinion pieces and attempting to pass them off as journalism?

If you have the patience to read to the end of the cited article, you will find this disclaimer:
The original version of this story has been amended. It now makes clear that the conclusions of the two cited GLSEN reports are at variance with the writer's own conclusions from studying the same statistics. Also, the story originally described the second GLSEN report as "released the same year," that is, in 2005, but GLSEN says it was released in 2006. Lastly, the story originally reported that 22% of gay and transgender students who claimed that they had been assaulted because of their sexual orientation said the incident wasn't serious enough to report; the actual figure is 13%.
Another one of those things that makes us go Hmmm.

"Sweet-faced" Brandon McInerney

Frankly, the kid looks like a bully and a psychopath to us, but we're prejudiced. According to Pensito Review:
Brandon McInerney’s father has a police record that includes several run-ins with the law, including disturbing the peace, drunk driving and one count of domestic abuse.
Monkey see, monkey do. Ladies, if you're in a relationship with an abusive man, for the love of your children, dump the motherfucker but quick. Because if you don't, your kids are going to learn from his behaviours and, assuming he hasn't already killed you, you may be the sad mother who waits fifty years for her son to serve his term for a crime that has its roots in his father's sins.

A memorial was held for Lawrence King on Friday, February 23rd, at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Port Hueneme. Some 500 people attended. The L.A.Times is reporting that a march was held on Saturday, February 24th, and approximately 1,000 people attended that event.

A site has been created to memorialize Lawrence King. You can find information about other memorial events there.

La Casa de Los Gatos would like to take this opportunity to register our disgust at this murder, and at the disingenuous Cloud-like characters who profit off their puffery about such incidents.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Stumble It!


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home