Friday, February 15, 2008

Oxnard School Shooting of Gay Student Called a Hate Crime

Yesterday I blogged about the murder of Lawrence King (pictured above left), a 15 year old gay student in Oxnard, California. Today's Los Angeles Times (,1,1414535.story) indicates that the murder was a premeditated hate crime. Moreover, the killer has been identified as a 14 year old student, Brandon McInerney (pictured above right). This sad event shows the need for recently enacted SB 777 the goal of which is described by it supporters as follows:
The achievement of a totally integrated society and calls upon Americans to eliminate, by statute and practice, barriers of---gender, sexual orientation---and genetic characteristics that prevent some individuals, adult or juvenile, from exercising rights enjoyed by others, including liberties decreed in common law, the Constitution, and the statutes of the United States."
Every child is entitled to a safe and positive school climate that provides for the emotional safety of the students; supports and recognizes each person's efforts to achieve his/her full potential; and provides the social and cultural acceptance every individual needs for high self-esteem."
Unfortunately, some find such goals reprehensible since they will limit the right of bigots to spew hate and discrimination. In the forefront of this opposition is Capitol Resource Institute ("CRI")which describes itself as an organization seeking to to "educate, advocate, protect, and defend family-friendly policies in the California state legislature and at local government levels." It further describes itself as a "watchdog for family values here in Sacramento." I guess killing those who are different is one of CRI's family values. They certainly work to create an atmosphere where those with an anti-gay mentality feel they have a license to harrass, attack, demean, and apparently kill gays. I can only wonder what impact "family values" organizations and/or homophobic churches had in warping the mind of Brandon McInerney.

Here are more highlights from the LA Times:
Ventura County prosecutors charged a 14-year-old boy with the shooting death of a classmate Thursday and said the killing in an Oxnard classroom was a premeditated hate crime.Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Maeve Fox declined to discuss a motive in the shooting or why prosecutors added the special allegation of a hate crime against Brandon McInerney, who was charged as an adult.
But classmates of the slain boy, Lawrence King, said he recently had started to wear makeup and jewelry and had proclaimed himself gay. Several students said King and a group of boys, including the defendant, had a verbal confrontation concerning King's sexual orientation a day before the killing.King, 15, was declared brain-dead and was expected to be taken off a ventilator late Thursday so organs could be removed for donation, said Craig Stevens, senior county deputy medical examiner.
McInerney was charged with premeditated murder with enhancements of use of a firearm and a hate crime.Because he is a minor, McInerney will remain in Juvenile Hall and be taken to the Ventura courtroom for court appearances, Fox said. He is being held in lieu of $770,000 bail.If convicted, McInerney could face 50 years to life. The hate crime enhancement would add another one to three years to his sentence.
Authorities said McInerney sneaked a handgun into school on the day of the shooting, but they have not disclosed how he got the firearm.McInerney's family lives in the south Oxnard neighborhood near E.O. Green school. Court records show that his father, Bill McInerney, has had brushes with the law in recent years.
The case is drawing attention from a growing number of gay rights groups, which said they would be watching developments closely."In the 15-year history of this organization, this is the first time we've seen the district attorney act this swiftly and clearly to say 'This will not be tolerated,' " said Jay Smith, executive director of the Ventura County Rainbow Alliance, a nonprofit group that advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights."We're assuming that the hate crime component has to do with [King's] sexuality," Smith said. "Because of that, we are very eager to see the district attorney follow through."

No comments: