Alex Blaze

The trial's about Brandon, not Larry

Filed By Alex Blaze | July 21, 2009 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: brandon mcirnerney, California, guns, larry king, murder, oxnard, shooting, transgender

A year ago national media descended on Oxnard, California, to answer the question: what made Larry King flaunt his sexuality and gender, which ended up getting him killed? Was it irresponsible teachers and mentors? A bad family life? Or was he just a bad kid?

All the while they pretty much ignored Brandon McInerney, who shot Larry in the back of the head. You see, Brandon's reaction was normal, expected. No surprises there - if you act out of line, you act like a fag, you can expect to be killed. It's tragic, yes, but in the same way the death of a mobster is tragic.

It didn't make the assertion that Brandon himself didn't have any problems himself any truer, though. There was a brief mention in the Newsweek article that accused Larry of "flaunting" himself of Brandon's interest in Nazis. Now this:

McInerney made the comment to another student at E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard sometime before walking into the classroom and allegedly gunning down gay classmate Larry King on the morning of Feb. 12, 2008, said Oxnard police Sgt. Kevin Baysinger.

"Brandon said if he ever wanted to kill anybody, his dad had a bunch of guns and he had the capability," Baysinger told the court.

Of course we can't blame the guns or even Brandon for killing Larry. Guns don't kill people, dangerous minorities (in this case, queer) do.

The defense is obviously going to try a permutation of the gay panic defense:

Defense attorney Scott Wippert sought to show that King provoked violence by taunting McInerney with his effeminate dress and romantic pursuit. At one point, Wippert sharply questioned Oxnard police Officer Ramiro Albarran.

"Did you inquire if Larry King was making sexual advances toward McInerney ... you do realize he's charged with first-degree murder? That he was provoked?" Wippert said.

The defense sees the obvious winning strategy: keep the focus on Larry, not Brandon. Someone needs to be blamed, and it might as well be the dead kid who's not around to defend himself. As long as Brandon seems like a normal kid pushed to the edge by all this gender bending and talk about gayness and sexual bullying from a kid half his size, his lawyer estimates people will be less willing to punish him.

The LA Times also had an interesting story this weekend on the teacher who was present at the shooting. She had been friends with Larry, and even gave him a green dress to affirm his gender expression. She says she didn't encourage Larry to flaunt it:

The teacher heard he'd been roughed up the day before by boys put off by his effeminate manner. So, as she walked her eighth-graders to the computer lab on Feb. 12, 2008, she pulled him aside.

"Look Larry, you can't shove this into people's faces," Boldrin recalled warning the 15-year-old who had a habit of taunting those who made fun of him. "That's as wrong as them saying there's something wrong with you."

It's not just as wrong, but she's also being sued by Larry's parents for encouraging him to express himself and has been deeply depressed for over a year.

The truth won't come out at this trial, but at least we'll get a little closer to knowing the background here. The state of California, it seems, has more interest in looking into Brandon's past than the media that went to Oxnard did.


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The gay panic defense lives on - even with school kids.