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School murder of gay teen spurs new legislation

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  1. World of Twist 15 Feb 2008, 7:48pm

    What a sad ending for what sounds like a very brave young man. Some one who is not afraid to express themselves they way they wish, whether it “freaks” anybody else out or not is to be lionised in my view.Very sad indeed.

  2. Bill Perdue 15 Feb 2008, 8:03pm

    Lawrence Kings life couldn’t have been easy. He as in foster care after his birth parents reputedly tossed him in the street for being gay. At school he was maliciously taunted by christian bigots. At the end, far from accepting the innate beauty of his genetic heritage, they killed him for it. In a better world the shooter would be given the death penalty and his family, friends and cult leaders would be indicted as accomplices and what ever cult he belonged to would be shut down. But we’re not there yet because we don’t count. Conservative and centrist politicians from both US parties sent a clear message about our worth as humans when they dropped antidiscrimination (ENDA) and anti-hate crimes bills from consideration in December, 2007. At the same time they refused to repeal bigot laws on the books from the Clinton Administration like ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ (DADT) and the christian bigots’ favorite, the ‘Defense of Marriage Act’ (DOMA). Those bigoted politicians sent a strong message to street thugs that we don’t deserve to be treated like citizens and humans. Just as Howard and the ALP do in Australia, as well as the Conservatives in Canada and the Thatcher-Major-Cameron Conservatives in England. Their pigheaded opposition to samesex marriage, anti-hate speech legislation and other protective laws lets the bigot thugs know that they have friends in high places who also think we’re less than human. In Oxnard, a coastal town about an hours drive north of LA, one of the thugs got the message loud and clear and murdered a young gay man. He, his family, his accomplices and his church should be treated as ruthlessly as possible and if that wrecks their lives so much the better. This murder was the second this year, following on last years total of at least 25. There will likely be more this year because of the bigoted electioneering of the christian right and the politicians of both parties who pander to them. This murder points up the need for national demonstrations to demand the passage of the Matthew Shepard Gate Crimes Bill and ENDA along with the repeal of the Clintons DOMA and DADT. We need a militant massive campaign to force our agenda into law because it’s obvious that the Republicans and Democrats don’t give a damn about our lives. RIP Lawrence King.

  3. Amen to that World of Twist …a very brave young man to be honoured for his courage.

  4. Sister Mary Clarence 15 Feb 2008, 9:07pm

    As the murders of Jody Dobrowski found out after they kicked him to death on Clapham Common, in a horrific homophobic attack, in this country, thanks to legislation introduced through out membership of the European Union, homophobic hate crime is punished severely. Both his attackers are serving a minimum of 28 years in prison.Similarly, David Copeland, not only guilty of homophobic hate crime but also racist hate crime, who was picked up only a matter of hours after detonating the bomb in the Admiral Duncan pub that killed three people plus an unborn baby and maimed and injured 139 others, is serving six life sentences.The establishment, society and the public in general do not turn a blind eye to the murder of gay people in this country in perhaps the same way they may do in other countries. There is no mainstream party to the best of my knowledge in this country that advocates that anyone should. Violent murders of adolescents whilst at schools and colleges in fortunately not a phenomenon that has crossed the Atlantic and are probably a result of in breeding and moonshine over there, if anything. My mind cannot help but wander to the value of good education whenever I read one of your postings, Bill. How you conjure up your reasoning for some events is quite beyond me.Some poor kid has died and you have seized on the opportunity to dredge up a series of your causes célèbres – same sex marriage, Conservatives in England, Christian bigots – as invariably you do.Surely it would be more appropriate to be lamenting another failure of authorities to identify a child with mental health problems or a severe personality disorder – or maybe start campaigning for some sort of gun control that stops junior space cadets for shooting all their classmates.

  5. Robert, ex-pat Brit 15 Feb 2008, 9:52pm

    This definitely seems to be overwhelmingly an American phenomenon, rare that this happens in Europe and elsewhere. The love affair with guns, violence and the thirst for the death penalty in the U.S. creates a breeding ground for this kind of disaster. Its about time the right to bear arms, as delineated in the constitution be repealed. It was applicable to the militia during the revolutionary war with Britain, the context in which it was written, and has no relevance to 21st century living. We have enough protection in the form of the police, why would any civilised society demand the right to own firearms, for what purpose exactly, other than hunting, and I even have a problem with that? Its utter madness, no wonder violent crimes using firearms is higher in the U.S. than in any other western society.

  6. But this is precisely why America is failing. Failing because it has a distorted view of morality and right versus wrong; failing because nobody in American public life has the courage to say “this is wrong”; failing because the world sees them with guns and their death sentences and their outdated use of language, with utter contempt. America was once a country that I looked to as being the standard bearer for decency and human rights. Maybe that was due to the naivety of youth, because the Watergate scandal erupted when I was only nine or ten.. Matthew Sheppard was beaten, and died, frozen to death, tied to a fence, frightened and alone. This is the one image that paints the picture of America’s so-called morals, priorities and values.And when they sink, I will at least be able to look at them again – with some satisfaction – and say: “what goes around comes around.”

  7. Robert, ex-pat Brit 16 Feb 2008, 9:17am

    David S, well said. Actually, it has regressed beyond belief since Bush was elected. Can you believe the same dumb electorate voted for him not once, but twice, arguably he was “selected” the second time around. He was appointed by the Supreme Court for his second term because of electoral improprieties in Florida where more than a million votes were filched which would have gone to Al Gore who would have been the legitimate president and America wouldn’t have been in the mess its in now. That was a coup d’etat for sure. The stupid electorate accepted it as a fait accompli and the dumbing down of America continues, sadly.

  8. Robert, ex-pat Brit 16 Feb 2008, 9:18am

    Ben Cohen, if you are around, what is happening with haloscan? I’m still not able to access comments in the usual manner. Anyone else still having this problem?

  9. And as they continue to dumb down, they will lose the ability to communicate with and compete with the rest of the world. What is actually a very rich country, could, possibly, become one of the poorest, for to thrive means one has to think freely – outside of the box – and to innovate. Americans lost the ability to do that many years ago, which is why their products look so conventional, old-fashioned and just plain naff. Take Jeep and Harley Davidson for example. Their products look like museum pieces: totally impractical and unable to fit into people’s lives.

  10. Robert, ex-pat Brit 16 Feb 2008, 7:47pm

    David, precious little is manufactured in the U.S. any more, mostly everything is now imported from or made in China and elsewhere. Most manufacturing jobs have been outsourced to the far east and Latin America, the result being fewer jobs for Americans and lower standards of living and over 47 million without any access to health care. China is also financing the huge American debt, the first time in its economic history, unprecedented. China has now flexed its economic muscle and there is no turning back, the genie is out of the bottle, no thanks to trickle-down economics and disastrous policies instigated by the current administration. The media is also controlled by only several conglomerates now which explains why there is no real news in the U.S., we have to rely on the BBC and other foreign news sources for the news that really matters. All we are getting now is pure infotainment. This has only accelerated since the conservative Bush came into power but its genesis started with the Reagan era, yet another disastrous administration. Conservative (republican) governments believe in weak economies at the expense of the middle class, allowing other countries to finance its debt and now we’re seeing the results of that. We are not going to see much progress even if Clinton or Obama are elected, they’re nothing more than moderate conservatives dressed in liberal clothing, nothing more. Its a very sad commentary, the only superpower, the world’s richest nation lagging behind the rest of the industrialised world. The 21st century has been ceded to China and to some extent the EU. America’s golden era is over.

  11. Dominick J. 17 Feb 2008, 7:09am

    Ben Cohen, if you are around, what is happening with haloscan? I’m still not able to access comments in the usual manner. Anyone else still having this problem?Robert, ex-pat Brit***********************************Robert try this link and see if they can help you or at least send you to someone who can.Dominick

  12. Robert, ex-pat Brit 17 Feb 2008, 1:39pm

    Dominick, thank you, but I tried their website last week. Apparently, you hvae to have your own blog or website. They acknowledged my email but didn’t respond with a solution since membership is required based on having a site of one’s on. Sucks! I’ve tried accessing comments in the normal manner via Explorer 7.0, Firefox, and now Yahoo, nothing works. Ben Cohen is obviously not checking reader’s posts to post any further information, though he did indicate that the site may be switching to another web agent. Its so frustrating having to go through the alternate clumsy method to access comments.

  13. I have always believed that the EU will remain a force in our new, globalised world. I belive this for the simple reason that it’s workforce is well-educated and creative in a way that the Americans and, for that matter, the Chinese. You see, the Chinese don’t have the ability to think freely – a pre-requisite for economic success. In many respects, they have similar problems to the Americans; it’s just that they haven’t woken up to that yet. The Chinese manufacture, manufacture and manufacture – but they don’t innovate. Take Henry Ford and John Logie Baird – an American and a Briton – who invented two of the most powerful inventions of the last 100 years: the mass-produced motor car and the television. Even radio communications were developed by Marconi. Of course, the web was developed by an Englishman. Can anyone imagine that sort of innovation going on in China? I don’t think so.Within a century, I guess that two things will happen. Firstly, the citizens of the People’s Republic will develop much higher expectations, both of their government and of the capitalism that has generated all that wealth. Wages will go up, reducing it’s overall competitiveness. Finally, the cheap goods that has kept inflation low in the west, for so long, will have gone. Secondly, with global warming becoming ever more critical, it just won’t be acceptable to manufacture tellies and coat hangers in the Far East and ship them, thousands of miles, all the way over to the EU and the US. It just won’t be politically possible, let alone scientifically sustainable. And as the oil eventually starts to run dry, it won’t even be economically viable to ship goods half way around the world. It’s madness as it is now; in twenty years’ time the pressure to stop this will be unthinkable now.I think the world will change, but not in a way that people think.

  14. Robert, ex-pat Brit 17 Feb 2008, 4:10pm

    David S, you raise some very interesting points and observations For the edification of others who are interested in what Britain has and continues to contribute to the world, check out the following link.

  15. Bill Perdue 18 Feb 2008, 2:30am

    Robert expat, your comments on the degeneration of US society under the ‘leadership’ of conservative Republican, Democratic and christian leaders are largely correct. But not when you claim that ‘the same dumb electorate voted for him not once, but twice.” In other comments and postings you state the more correct and rounded view that that the two party system doesn’t offer people a choice. That’s why many US voters simply don’t vote and why many elections are decided by roughly a third of the electorate. Voters have no real choices. That’s why efforts to build the alternatives like the US Labor Party are so important. I also think it’s an error to expect that Gore would’ve pursued substantially different policies than Bush2. Gore’s a Democrat, and that party is owned lock, stock and barrel by the rich. Republicans and Democrats alike are determined, whatever the cost in blood and treasure, to steal the resources needed to keep the US economy running. The war for Iraqi oil recourses was planned and expanded by Clinton, and was an extension of the policies of Bush1. Only the brutal and misdirected violence of 9-11 gave Bush2 a green light to proceed. The superstitious vermin who killed 3,000 or so civilians were too stupid to make a distinction between the rulers of the US and the people of the US. They presented Bush, the Republicans and the Democrats with an invitation to expand the oil piracy that was willingly accepted. In addition you’re wrong to say that murderous violence against GLBT folk and minorities “seems to be overwhelmingly an American phenomenon.” These attacks are symptomatic of societies immersed in the corrosive mortally of the ‘dog eat dog’ culture of the ruling rich. Bigot promoted violence occurs everywhere and is directly linked to policies that promote racism, islamophobia, homobigotry and misogyny. It hardly matters if someone’s head is blown off or kicked in by a skinhead thug. This was a hate crime and the fact that it occurred in school is minor. It’s a gaybashing murder prompted by political and religious bigots. It’s not important whether gaybashing thugs are provoked by US christian fundamentalists, the catholic cult in the EU, Nigerian anglicans or Iranian ayatollahs. Nor is the bigotry of politicians in the Republican and Democratic parties notably different from that of Conservatives, the BNP, the French National Front, the Spanish Popular Party, the Revolutionary Guard in Iran or neo- Nazis in Germany and Austria. Their common bigotry is an open incitement to violence. That religious and political bigotry is directly linked to crimes like the Oxnard killing, the recently reported lynching of a young muslim man in England and the wave of murders in Jamaica. Iran, with its unending string of religiously motivated lynchings of young gay men is the epicenter of antigay violence. Robert, on the question of the death penalty we’re always going to disagree. We can agree that for most crimes it’s been exhaustively proven that the death penalty lacks any real deterrent power, is cruel, and that it’s immersed in the same kind of racist police and judicial practices that fill American prisons with African Americans, Native Americans and immigrants. The American press is full of post-execution stories in which the DA says “Oops, we killed the wrong guy.” Enough money can get anyone off and the death penalty is heavily weighted against working people. Where we part ways is that I think the death penalty should be abolished with the exception of hate crimes that result in murder or genocide. In this case the shooter is being charged with murder as a hate crime and he’ll be tried as an adult. It’s unlikely he’ll get the death sentence. The Ventura County DA’s office is charging him with crimes that carry a sentence of 50 years to life. However the press is already speculating that given the overcrowding in California prisons and the fact that most killers there serve an average of about ten years that this christian sociopath could be out by about 2018 or 2019.

  16. Bill we can agree and disagree on certain points. As for the issue of the death penalty, I’ve never been for it. If what I have said in the past purports that I do, then I stand corrected. To date, I could never support execution of anyone, no matter how heinous the crime. It has and never will deter anyone from committing murder, history has shown us that. What I don’t understand is that the American public in general supports execution, I just don’t get it.

  17. Dominick J. 18 Feb 2008, 4:13pm

    Anonymous writes: What I don’t understand is that the American public in general supports execution, I just don’t get it.********************************Hi Anonymous, were working on that especially, now more than ever, DNA is being used. Even here in California we are fighting to have the death penalty removed.But you might find the following article interesting.

  18. Robert, ex-pat Brit 18 Feb 2008, 6:55pm

    Dominick, I inadvertently posted my comment under “anonymous”. Thank you for that link regarding California’s push to remove the death penalty from the penal system.

  19. Bill Perdue 18 Feb 2008, 10:11pm

    Robert, the number of people supporting the death sentence in the US is dwindling, and for most crimes that’s a good idea. However, I don’t hold out high hopes for passage of legislation to impose the death sentence for hate murders or genocide. Such an idea certainly will not have friends in ‘high places’ because many political and religious figures promote and condone such activity by promoting bigotry and voting for the war in Iraq.

  20. Robert, ex-pat Brit 19 Feb 2008, 1:29pm

    Bill, I hope the numbers are dwindling. Mostly everyone with whom I come into contact on a daily basis are straight, some are catholics who worship regularly and who believe in the death penalty yet they condemn abortion, even if the mother’s life is at risk or the woman has been raped and a pregancy results. Bigotry, hypocrisy and the double standard know no bounds when it comes to the religious ninnies. The death penalty has no place in a civilised society, it serves no purpose and it does not deter a person to commit murder, never has, never will. This eye for an eye mentality in the American psyche has to stop.

  21. I’m really glad I’m no longer in school here and graduated long ago…I was forced to go to a Catholic School in California.I would receive death threats daily for being lesbian. I’m lucky no one ever went through with their threats.. They would often tell me I was a monster that shouldn’t exist and that I should kill myself. No kid should ever have to endure that…

  22. Why does it take a death of somebody for people to realise that legislation is needed?

  23. I have just read of a 17 year old gay youth (Simmie Williams Jr) was shot on Friday 22nd of Feb in FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. The youth said to be dressed in women’s clothing at the time of his shooting.This follows the tragic shooting in school of gay 15yr old Lawrence King on 12th Feb, Oxnard, Calafornia.HATE CRIME…are we doing enough to fight it?

  24. Over 39,000 views of this lgbt YOUTUBE video tribute to Lawrence ‘Larry’ Fobes King.Then there is this VIDEO posted by a gay youth, but about Institutional Homophobic attitudes here in the UK.

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