Friday, August 15, 2008

You're A King Somewhere Now, But Your Parents Aren't Doing Quite As Well...

Who cannot sympathize with parents who lose a child to violence? And when that child is a 15 year old boy, perhaps gay, certainly confused, seeking forms of expression which would allow him to feel good about himself and his life...and when that life is snuffed out by an equally young child with two bullets to the brain...

...certainly the parents' heads are swirling.

Which must serve as the only explanation for what they've done: they have sued the school district, not for allowing a student to bring a gun to school and shoot their son, but for allowing their son to come to school wearing makeup and jewelry.

Somewhere, Larry King is observing this scene from a distance, saying to himself, "You two still don't get it. You never did, you never will. This is who I am. I died for being who I am, not because somebody "let me" be who I am. I died because of intolerance. I died because somebody did not understand and felt threatened. Now you want to blame the school for allowing me to be me. As if not allowing me to be me would have been a solution."

How dare I speak for the dead? I apologize. I'm trying to make a point. Surely Larry King would have been a bit upset to find that his parents were expecting the school to stand in for them. Where their influence and their guidance was missing, they expected a school system to intervene?

I won't laugh at this absurdity, because I know it is rooted in deep pain. But in my view, better to celebrate the boy, to cherish his "different-ness", to rise above the intolerance which ended his life so soon, so abruptly.

I mean, it won't necessarily solve anything, but it would stand in the right place. And if enough people stand in the right place, well, now we are changing things.

That's where I would be with this, I believe. I hope I never have to find out, but I don't get to control that.

I comment on this story because many others will, and some of them will be very cruel in their mockery of the parents. And of course, the parents open themselves up to scrutiny when they do something such as this. And of course there will be that scrutiny.

There is another issue in this case: the shooter is being tried as an adult, for homicide and a hate crime. He will do at least 50 years if convicted on those charges, and there is no lesser charge being offered.

One act of depravity is all it takes to make us toss a human being away for life. I don't know about you, but that doesn't add up for me. Not at age 14. My son is 14. If this was him, I would of course be horrified and completely confused. But I can't help thinking that I would also dread the machinery my son was now caught up in, where the desire for revenge is so strong that it blinds all those who could, if they saw things more clearly, prevent a tragedy from compounding a tragedy.

If I was Larry King's parents I would drop this lawsuit and publicly forgive Brandon McInerney, and beseech the criminal justice system to treat him as the child he is.

If Brandon McInerney can learn from his mistake, he might help others to learn from theirs.

The Ventura County Star has been following this story from the beginning.