Don’t panic

July 31, 2008

I gather that today is National Orgasm Day, and that it’s some sort of marketing device by Scarlet magazine. Although I don’t consider myself especially prudish, I can’t help thinking that if some people were less obsessed with the secretions of their genitalia and their own self-gratification – and a little more concerned about their attitudes to sex and gender identity and sexual orientation; their relationships with their bodies and their sex partners, and so on – then maybe I wouldn’t find myself writing such a downbeat post on what is presumably being hyped as a day for focusing on the joys of sexual climax.

Two news items have caught my attention lately, and, sadly, I doubt that they’d have become newsworthy were it not for Penis Power™.

First of all, the Larry King case. I originally wrote about this at TFW back in March (link here; archive copy here at BoP). To recap: on 12 February, a teenager (Brandon McInerney) apparently murdered another teenager (Larry King) because he (McInerney) did not approve of King’s apparent sexual orientation and gender presentation. For a teenager to exhibit such homophobic behaviour, let alone manifest it in the form of lethal violence (McInerney shot King in the head from point blank range), is not only disturbing but a sad indictment of a society that tells us that hate crimes are an acceptable way for people to express their phobias about non-heteronormative, gender variant members of society.

The most recent update to this sad state of affairs, reported a few days ago in GayAgenda.com and elsewhere, is as follows:

A Ventura County judge has decided 14-year-old Brandon McInerney, who has been charged with the murder of his gay classmate, will be tried as an adult [and not as a juvenile]. If convicted, this means McInerney may have to face life behind bars.

Ventura County Superior Court Judge Douglas Daily passed the ruling down Thursday siting punishment would not be unconstitutional.

Brandon McInerney is charged with first-degree murder and a hate crime for the brutal killing of 15-year-old Larry King at their Oxnard school back in Feburary. King was an openly gay student and McInerney shot him point blank, in school. McInerney’s arraignment is set for August 7.

McInerney’s lawyer responded by announcing that he wants to get the case in front of a jury as quickly as possible.

Deputy public defender Willie Quest said he was disappointed by Superior Court Judge Douglas Daily’s finding earlier this week that there was no constitutional violation in Dist. Atty. Gregory Totten’s decision to try Brandon McInerney, 14, as an adult.

“We hope a jury will look at it in a much more reasonable light,” Quest said. “I’m not going to allow a 14-year-old to go to prison for the rest of his life without someone other than the D.A.’s office looking at this.”

So now we wait for the arraignment on 7 August – a week today.

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The second news item concerns the confession to the murder of Angie Zapata, by a man named Allen Ray Andrade. Ms Zapata was a trans* woman living in Colorado, USA, who was found beaten to death in her apartment on 17 July. The website of 9NEWS has quite a detailed report – link here – but the sequence of events seems to be that, having met on a social networking site, the two arranged to meet on 15 July. The report at 9news continues:

Zapata picked Andrade up in Thornton where he lived and the pair returned to Zapata’s Greeley apartment together. Andrade told police Zapata performed a sexual act on him.

The following day, the affidavit explains, Andrade started to look at photos in the apartment and questioned Zapata’s sex. That night, Andrade questioned Zapata directly, according to the affidavit, and Andrade says Zapata responded, “I’m all woman.”

Andrade told police he grabbed Zapata in her genital area and felt a penis. He became angry and hit Zapata with his fist before grabbing a fire extinguisher and hitting her in the head twice, according to the affidavit.

Andrade explained to police that he thought he “killed it,” referring to Zapata but when she made gurgling noises and started to sit up, he hit her with the extinguisher again.

He also admitted to police he stole Zapata’s car and drove away.

On the 17th, Zapata’s sister, Monica Murguia, called police saying she had not heard from Zapata. She also went to her apartment where she found Zapata’s body on the ground covered with a blanket.

Wednesday morning at around 1:45 a.m. Thornton Police responded to a noise complaint at Sierra Vista Apartment Homes in Thornton. There they contacted Andrade and linked him to the stolen car. He was arrested on outstanding warrants.

Maybe I’m just jaded, but even as I was reading the report, I found myself wondering how long before the old and tired ‘trans panic’ defence would be wheeled out. And, sure enough, towards the end of the article, there it is, spelled out nice and neat for us by 9NEWS legal analyst Scott Robinson:

“A prosecutor is going to talk about this being a knowing killing, that the defendant knew what he was doing. The defense is going to argue that it was the heat of passion, that he did it because he, the defendant, was so upset for being duped,” said 9NEWS legal analyst Scott Robinson.

Robinson believes that while the prosecution will be seeking a conviction for second-degree murder, the defense could seek a lesser offense of heat of passion manslaughter.

…*sigh*…

I have no more words right now.

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©2008 Helen G

3 Responses to “Don’t panic”

  1. inde Says:

    This makes me sad.

  2. J Says:

    For a teenager to exhibit such homophobic behaviour, let alone manifest it in the form of lethal violence (McInerney shot King in the head from point blank range), is not only disturbing but a sad indictment of a society that tells us that hate crimes are an acceptable way for people to express their phobias about non-heteronormative, gender variant members of society.

    It *is* a sad indictment of our societies, but I am far from surprised :/ Something about teenagers – or maybe it’s being in school, the culture of conformity, etc…


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