Young, gay and murdered in junior high--hate crime/sexual harassment issues

Basically, the story is about a young boy murdered by a fellow schoolmate. The boy, Larry King, is gay and the boy who shot him, Brandon McInerney, is straight. From the article linked above, though, I get the impression that both boys seemed very disturbed, and perhaps it wasn’t as simple as just “gay-bashing,” but rather, that the attention that Larry was focusing on Brandon was making him uncomfortable.

Homophobic? Perhaps…would Brandon have overreacted like this had it been a girl giving him unwanted attention? I suppose we’ll never know…

I do get the impression that a lot of Larry’s taunting of the other boys was due to them treat him badly as well…it seems like the staff kind of failed both boys.

What’s the debate?

One possible debate would be “Who would name their kid Larry King nowadays?”

Basically, what I’m wondering is is this just a simple hate crime, where a boy gets killed because he’s different? Or are the actions of the victim part of why he got killed?

Any debate on that topic would be pretty speculative. I assume the killer’s motives will get an airing at his trial.

Of course the actions of the victim were part of why he got killed. That boy wasn’t cruising around knocking off gay kids willy-nilly, he chose one in particular to kill for personal reasons.

What are you trying to say here? It reads like you’re blaming the victim. Please clarify.

Not blaming the victim, but was the kid who killed him acting just out of homophobia, or was it because he felt threatened by him?

It’s way fucked up to kill someone over something like this, but I could see why it would happen if the killer is sufficiently disturbed. It seems like he did it because the guy was outright stalking him. If it was a girl who was the recipient of all this attention I think it would most certainly be called sexual harrassment and the perpetrator would be suspended or expelled from school for it.

The boy did not kill King because he was gay. To label this a hate crime would be a mistake, at least from where I’m seeing it.

Well maybe not a hate crime, but certainly cold blooded murder.

This has a bit of resonance for me as it happened in a hardscrabble town about 50 miles down the road. As the article states, both kids had horrible home lives. Larry was an obnoxious flamboyant cross dressing gay kid with psychological issues.

Brandon’s dad shot his mom with a gun some time before the murder. I’d call this less than a stellar parental model for firearms handling. In any case, Brandon shot Larry in the head before a bunch of witnesses. I thought the whole thing was rather shocking and disturbing.

If a girl had been doing the same things to Brandon, would he have shot her in the back of the head? We’ll never know, but it’s not clear to me at all that this isn’t a hate crime. At least not from what was in the article.

A better question is, how would you feel about this case if the killer was a female and the harasser was male.

My opinion is that you don’t kill people who are not immediately physically threatening you.

He’ll probably claim homosexual panic and get a slap on the wrist. Whilst this doesn’t sound like a hate crime per se I don’t think that changes the fact that it’s murder. “He was coming on to me” isn’t a particularly good murder defence, IMO (unless the person is gay, in which case homosexual panic is a great defence).

Larry King, Sr.

It was murder, plain and simple. More of the “fucked up kid who snapped” kind than anything else, like Columbine, but still murder. I’m certainly not arguing that.

The guy was doing more than “coming on” to him though. He was outright stalking him.

That’s fucked up. That’s not just coming onto someone. It’s mind-fucking them and manipulating them in a pretty sicko way.

So we are blaming the victim, then?

Stop with this blaming the victim strawman. I’m trying to explain why someone who was mentally disturbed would do something like this not out of homophobia but because he was simply pushed to the brink.

I’m not blaming the victim. The proper response to someone who’s stalking you and harassing you is not to murder them.

What I’m trying to make clear is the fact that it’s not as if the killer sat around thinking, “I’m going to kill this random guy who never did anything to me just because he’s GAY.”

Depends on who you think the victim is.
Is the act disproportionate to the threat? Certainly. Should King have been killed for his actions? Certainly not.

But, is King entirely innocent? Certainly NOT.

How would your reaction change if:

-King was a woman?
-McInerney was a woman?
-McInerney was also gay?
Most importantly, how would your reaction change if McInerney simply laid a good old-fashioned beating on King? Would that be gay-bashing to you?
Not all killings of gay people are gay-bashing.

In this case, it seems to me, that the sexual orientation of King provided him the impetus to do what he did, but his gender certainly defined the style of assaults he perpetrated on McInerney.
King conducted a repeated pattern of assault and psychological intimidation against McInerney, in response to which McInerney shot King. McInerney might be guilty of murder- it’s what I’d charge him with. But to call King an innocent in this case is disingenuous, and to imply that it was King’s sexuality that got him killed rather than his assholery is entirely inaccurate.

From the article:

“Brandon, 14, wasn’t working on his paper, because he told Mrs. Boldrin he’d finished it. Instead, he opened a history book and started to read. Or at least he pretended to. “He kept looking over at Larry,” says a student who was in the class that morning. “He’d look at the book and look at Larry, and look at the book and look at Larry.” At 8:30 a.m., a half hour into class, Brandon quietly stood up. Then, without anyone’s noticing, he removed a handgun that he had somehow sneaked to school, aimed it at Larry’s head, and fired a single shot.”
I will bet you one hundred American dollars that a defense of homosexual panic will not work.

If you had taken the time I did (about six minutes) to research the defense, you would have come across the “Gwen Araujo Justice for Victims Act,” which became law a couple of years ago, which severely limits the use of the homosexual panic defense in California, which is where the shooting happened.

Furthermore, the gay panic defense is, in essence, a diminished capacity defense contingent upon immediate circumstances, hence, “panic.” Reading the article would have revealed the paragraph I posted above. An investment of eight minutes and some logic would have precluded an arguably bigoted reference to the homosexual panic defense.
King was a douche. He didn’t deserve to die for it. But you’re wrapping the case in terms that it shouldn’t be.

I would blame the deceased for the bullying and stalking he was inflicting on the kid who was the murderer.

Or are we condoning that behavior, then?