A year ago today, on February 12, 2008, Lawrence King, a 14-year junior high school student was fatally shot during class. The then 14-year old Brandon McInerney is accused of the shooting, apparently a hate crime. The Ventura County Reporter carries the following update:
For the past year, Brandon McInerney has been in the spotlight of the Ventura County courts. Nothing short of the standard, expensive, cinematic courtroom drama, McInerney’s trial, to some, has become less about the now-15-year-old murder suspect than about the attorneys, the egos, the endless appeals and the protracted proceedings that commonly define an embattled legal system.
“They’re really into it for the glory and the movie rights. They say they have the best interests of the child at hand,” says Jay Smith, executive director of the Ventura County Rainbow Alliance.
But ask Smith or any proponent of equal rights for the gay and lesbian community, and the biggest consensus may just be that the trial has shifted away from its intended focus, overshadowing the very victim it’s seeking justice for. Lawrence King was a 14-year-old junior high school student who was killed, allegedly, for expressing his blossoming identity as a homosexual teen.
King, whom McInerney is accused of murdering, will be remembered this week at an evening vigil in Ventura, one year to the day of his death. It was on Feb. 12, 2008, that King was shot twice point blank during class at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard; McInerney has been accused of pulling the trigger, presumably motivated by an emerging hatred towards gays.
Thursday’s event, Remember Lawrence: Year One, seeks not only to memorialize the Oxnard youth, who belonged to the Rainbow Alliance’s youth group, but also to raise greater awareness toward the acceptance of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Sponsored by the Rainbow Alliance, it stresses visibility in numbers. Following a procession to the Ventura pier, speakers are encouraged to share stories, conversations experiences and memories of King.
Approximately 500 people attended a vigil held last year following King’s death. Smith hopes for a similar turnout for this week’s event. “Perhaps people will come out and show solidarity and support,” he said.
The vigil begins at 6 p.m. at 856 E. Thompson Blvd., Ventura. For further information on the event, e-mail the Rainbow Alliance at firstname.lastname@example.org
Previous related posts:
- Lawyers of Lawrence King’s alleged killer denied access to files (December 30, 2008)
- Don’t panic (July 31, 2008)
- “The one thing we should change is hate” (May 5, 2008)
(Cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia)