Monday, February 25, 2008

Remembering Lawrence King

Two weeks ago, 15-year old Lawrence King walked into a computer lab at his junior high school and was shot in the back of the head. Lawrence was doing everything a 15-year old kid is supposed to be doing: he was going to school, he had a lot of friends. But there was something about Lawrence that his killer didn't like: Lawrence was gay.

Lawrence's killing didn't get much national press, but then gay killings rarely do. Society seems to think of the killing of gays and lesbians as something that happens in back alleys on the seedy side of town. But listen up, America, these are your schools, and these are your kids:
Brandon McInerney, 14, who attended E.O. Green with King, has been charged with premeditated murder and will be tried as an adult. He is being held in Ventura County Juvenile Hall in lieu of $770,000 bail. McInerney could face 50 years to life in prison if convicted. Prosecutors added a hate crime allegation that could bring an additional one to three years.
I encourage everyone to take a visit to The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). Whether you are a parent, teacher, friend, or relative, you have an important part to play in ensuring that all of our children are safe. More from GLSEN:
Two of the top three reasons students say their peers are harassed in school are actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression, according to From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America, a 2005 Harris Interactive report commissioned by GLSEN. The top reason is physical appearance.

In the 2005 National School Climate Survey, nearly a fifth (17.6%) of LGBT students reported being physically assaulted at school in the past school year because of their sexual orientation and over a tenth (11.8%) because of their gender expression.

Nearly two-thirds of LGBT students (64.3%) said they feel unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation and two-fifths (40.7%) because of their gender expression.

GLSEN also lists many of the remembrance vigils scheduled this week for Lawrence King. Over 1,000 supporters came out for a vigil in Oxnard, Calif., where Lawrence was murdered. Other vigils are planned in California, D.C., Iowa, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, and Washington.

If you can't make it to a vigil, please do whatever you can to stop the hate and intolerance that exists in America today -- for the Lawrences and the Brandons of the world. You might just save someone's life.

UPDATE: Here's a long, sad look into the buildup of this terrible tragedy.

From LA Times: Nearly 1,000 Oxnard youths and other supporters turned
out today for a peace march meant to pay tribute to Lawrence King.


Cootamundra W. said...

May we all learn to listen to one another, and may we learn to live in peace with each other...
Why does it seem to be such a difficult thing?

Sue J said...

why, indeed.

we -- as a society -- have to take responsibility for this crime. kids aren't born hating, we teach it.

Arlie Rufus said...

I know all of my readers are used to reading about Arlie Rufus' comments on my fellow four legged friends. I'm becoming quite famous for making others think about the lives of homeless dogs and other pets.

But today is different. Today, Arlie Rufus wants each and every one of you to think about the recent senseless death of a 15 year old young boy in Oxnard, California. This boy was killed because he was gay. And the shocking, even sadder revelation to this story is: the killer was a 14 year old boy. So, just in case you need to understand what the Arlie Rufus is saying let me repeat: a 15 year old boy was shot in the head by a 14 year old boy because he was gay. That's right America, its 2008 and kids are killing kids because they say they are gay.

As the Arlie Rufus did his diligent work of reading the news about this, it was sad and somewhat embarrassing that other countries were covering the story and in some cases, they seemed shocked this happens in this day and this time in this country. But what I have only read a bit about (some news in the link above) was the killer’s parents. Where were they? Who are they? What in the wide world of beagles happened in the household that could have led to this action? Arlie Rufus believes God made all of us with ability to be good, upstanding, peaceful humans and animals. And much like some of my four legged friends, hate and meanness is taught, and in some cases witnessed. And sadly for many, there is no stable love in the place they call home. Well, it appears the young boy who pulled the trigger had such a home. His father had problems with the law -- domestic violence was one such problem. And the irony of this story, the victim had been taken from a bad home and was in foster care.

So let's recap here if the Arlie Rufus may. The victim was in foster care because he had been taken out of his home, and the boy who pulled the trigger was in a home with what appears to be an abusive father.

Now let me get to the point here because it is time to speak for those without a voice. Children, just like my four legged friends need a home full of love, respect, trust and caring. And people (I use the term people because no animal could ever do such a horrible act as this) that means one parent, one mom, one dad, two moms, two dads -- or yes even a mom and a dad. Do you think if the boy who pulled the trigger had been in a home full of love and respect for others -- and was taught those traits daily that this might not have happened? Yes, it is possible. So America, get your heads out of your tails and work for tolerance, respect, love -- and yes LAWS THAT PROMOTE AND DEFEND THESE TRAITS. No person -- and especially no child deserves to be shot in the head and killed because of his or her sexual orientation, what they wear, how they talk or walk, or for any perceived differences. Contact your U.S. Representative, U.S. Senators and for the love of Arlie Rufus even try "W" and DEMAND the passage of the federal hate crime law. The HRC is a resource for information on hate crime legislation, and for young readers of The Arlie Rufus Report, check out a wonderful organization in Arlie Rufus' hometown of Atlanta -- Youth Pride, that helps young people facing the challenges of coming out.

Sorry for the rant people, but this one has Arlie Rufus needing to really speak loud! Be tolerant, show love and compassion and maybe we'll soon see a "compassionate" nation.

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact that Larry did have a home "full of love". I've seen their devotion in action. Keep watch on this story, and you will see it too.

Sue J said...

Thank you Arlie! I agree with you completely.

Anonymous -- I don't really know anything about Larry's family, and I make no judgment on them. There could be many reasons why he was placed in foster care. I hope we do hear more about this story, but I'm afraid we'll have to look at the local papers and the international news. US national news reporters have pretty much ignored this story.