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The Awful "He Was Asking for it" Defense: Gay Teen Blamed for His Own Murder


A 15-year-old boy is shot twice in the back of the head -- murdered -- by a fellow high school student. The shooter's defense? He "was pushed to the breaking point" by the victim when he repeatedly wore makeup and high heels to school, taunting and hitting on other boys.

It sounds absurd, or at least like something that could never happen in 2011, but this is a true story. The confessed shooter, Brandon McInerney, is currently on trial for the murder of Larry King (no relation to thatLarry King). Gawker brings us the details:

According to a story in the L.A. Times today, "McInerney's defense attorneys... acknowledge that the boy pulled the trigger but say that he was pushed to the breaking point by King's taunts." Yes, it's the tried and true "gay panic defense" that preys on juries' homophobia to get confessed killers cleared for murdering gay people. It was even used against Matthew Shepard, when one of his killers said he was driven to kill the gay college student because he hit on him.

In the case of King, apparently he was wearing makeup and high heels to school and would follow around a group of boys taunting them by saying, "You know you want me." That enraged McInerney so much that he was compelled to kill King. At least, that's what the defense is resting on.

As Gawker notes, King was wrong to taunt his classmates. But -- and I can't believe this even need to be said -- that's no justification for murderingthe kid.

But wait, it gets even more enraging:

Even worse, school officials and teachers are teaming up to vilify Joy Epstein, the one administrator that seems to have showed King some compassion and understanding. A teacher told King that he wasn't supposed to wear makeup to school, but Epstein, citing that male students are allowed to wear makeup or female articles of clothing as long as they didn't break the school's dress code, said it was allowed. Teachers claim they complained to Epstein about King's behavior many times but she was "more intent on protecting King's civil rights than in acknowledging that his dress and behavior were causing problems."

So the school administrator who stood up for King's civil rights is also to blame?

This story reminds me of the cultural perceptions that SlutWalkers are working to combat: no woman deserves to be raped, regardless of how she dresses or acts.

Similarly, no human being deserves to be murdered, regardless of how he dresses or acts.

Newsflash: if you're driven to violence by women in short skirts, or teenage boys wearing makeup, the problem is you.

Read the full post over at Gawker.

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at August 12, 2011, 5:17am

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