I love documentaries. I don’t know why, but I think it has to do with the fact that they usually help you understand how other people think better. I’ve seen ones that are inspiring. And I have seen some that just make me sick.
Early this morning, I watched Valentine Road, which was about the murder of Lawrence “Larry” Fobes King by Brandon McInerney. The murder took place at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, California. It happened because King, who identified as gay, but was more likely transgendered, asked McInerney to be his Valentine at school the day before. Apparently, McInerney got embarrassed because he was asked out by a “boy” in front of his friends. It probably pissed him off even more that Larry was also biracial, since Brandon was apparently a white supremacist. In the documentary, his half-brother tried to explain that he wasn’t a supremacist and wasn’t a racist, but a separatist. Dude, it’s still racism and it’s still white supremacy. The only people who think that it isn’t are generally people who feel some level of guilt or shame about their affiliation with it.
Anyway, if it wasn’t bad enough that a fourteen year old killed a fifteen year old for his gender, sexuality, and race, there were adults who were okay with what he did. A fucking teacher said, “I do believe in a heaven and a hell, and I do believe Larry honestly did not have a clue, honestly, the consequences of his actions. I relate to Brandon because I could see my own self being in that very same position. I don’t know if I would have taken a gun, but a good, swift kick in the butt might work really well.” She went on to say some other stuff. All of which came across as this woman, this “teacher”, promoting the idea of gay-bashing.
And there were jurors who not only empathized with killing a gay kid, but who justified Brandon’s drawings as just doodling. Yeah, because every student who learns about the Holocaust ends up “doodling” a hand crushing a bleeding Star of David with Swastika in the background. I remember first learning about the Holocaust and, even know, I will admit to being fascinated at how messed up the Nazis and Hitler were, but I don’t ever remember feeling any sort of adoration towards them. I don’t remember ever wanting to carry around books that promoted antisemitism or wanting to doodle things like what he drew. (My school-age doodles were typically flowers.)
Experts for the defense blamed Larry for everything, of course. He was too sexually aggressive. And Brandon’s friends and some teachers at the school blamed Larry as well. Apparently, because Larry just asked Brandon out, he came across as being too aggressive. I had a boy ask me out once, and I didn’t like the guy, but I never thought of killing him. I just said no, thanked him, and hung up the phone. I was pretty sure the guy who called was doing it to make fun of me, and I still didn’t want to kill him. Do you know why? Because that’s the wrong reaction to that kind of situation. If you don’t want to go out with someone, you turn them down. You don’t come into school the next day and put a gun to the back of their head and fire it twice. Larry couldn’t have expected to get murdered for asking someone out because that doesn’t make sense.
There were just so many messed up people in the documentary. It really makes Oxnard look like a place that has a lot of backwards thinking folks. It seems more like what you would expect from people around here than from people out in California. I guess that bigotry is something you can find anywhere.
It was a wonderful documentary, but I just was so sick after watching it. I hate that so much ignorance exists in this world, but it is really upsetting when you realize that it can even come from educators. And it’s upsetting when it infiltrates judicial proceedings because it really isn’t supposed to. That’s not what’s supposed to happen, and even though I know that it does on a regular basis, I hated seeing it in video form. I hated seeing these people justify their ignorance.