William Quest, the public defender of the boy who shot Larry King in Oxnard last month, will be trying to move the case to juvenile court and pushing a variant of gay panic:
Quest said he believes school administrators supported one student expressing himself and his sexuality -- King -- and ignored how it affected other kids, despite complaints. Cross-dressing isn't a normal thing in adult environments, he said, yet 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds were expected to just accept it and go on.
And, of course, folks who don't do "a normal thing" deserve to die.
More after the jump.
They had both been at E.O. Green and even had a class together previously, but Quest said he's not aware of any problems until they came back from vacation.
It was then that King began dressing differently, becoming a focus of conversations on campus, Quest said.
Students have said they witnessed confrontations between King and McInerney in the weeks or days before the shooting, including King's teasing McInerney and telling him that he liked him.
McInerney perceived King's treatment as harassment, Quest said. Quest, however, declined to discuss any specific confrontations or issues between the boys. He also declined to say if McInerney ever sought help from an adult to deal with the issue.
That last sentence means that McInerny didn't. But who really cares? He shouldn't have had to have told anyone that he was being harassed; the boy in high-heels and make-up was plainly obvious to anyone looking. It's almost as if these teachers didn't consider gender non-conformist behavior harassment.
It's interesting that his defense is coming down to, for a large part, entitlement. He shouldn't have to see abherrant behavior like King's since he's one of the normal folks.
How the fact that there weren't any problems for McIrnerney before King came out means that the problem was him expressing himself and not McInerney's reaction to that expression is beyond me. But that simply isn't the logic that we're dealing with here. Gender non-conformism is aggression.
If, contrary to the way the Ventura County Star story is written, the harassment being claimed here is King's already-noted confrontational behavior towards McInerny, then the fact that he never went and told a teacher short-circuits that argument. Especially since the larger argument that Quest is making - that the school should have stopped this conflict before it got to where it ended - doesn't work if McInerney didn't say that King flirting with him bothered him.
But the subtext of his argument (at least the one Quest is making to the media now) is obvious in the before-jump blockquote: King expressing himself and wearing feminine shoes and make-up isn't about King or the shoes or the make-up or anything else. It's an attack on our children.
And whether McInerney said that King's confrontational reaction to being teased bothered him, whether it did bother him, is completely unimportant because a masculine straight male was forced to acknowledge that a femmy boy existed, was forced to see him happy, and was forced to accept that he was a peer with an equal right to express himself.
In fact, in that before-jump blockquote, one almost gets the impression that Quest means that the school cared more about protecting the fags than it did the real Americans. Which is simply ludicrous in light of the fact that the school didn't have a sexual orientation or gender identity relevant aspect to its diversity education.
The school dropped the ball there, but the argument, I guess, is that they didn't drop it far enough. Why not just go one step further and say that King himself is to blame? Why not just put the victim on trial for living his life?
On the issue of being tried as an juvenile, Waymon posted about that last week and I agree with him. It makes a lot more sense than trying a barely 14-year-old as an adult, especially since arguments about the heinousness of the crime don't at all address the reasons we have a separate juvenile court system (minors have less intellectual capacity than adults and a less ability to do the right thing).
The conservative mantra that "adult crimes" should be tried in "adult courts" makes little sense when put up against the opposite - should a 44-year-old man who commits a juvenile crime (like spray-painting a penis on a wall) be tried as a juvenile? Would these people start saying that "juvenile crimes" should be tried in "juvenile courts"?
Of course not, because arguments about heinousness are just about getting revenge and trying to get the most punishment for the crime. Proportionality has nothing to do with it.
(h/t Lena Dahlstrom)