Here’s the backstory on Lawrence King, the 14-year old boy shot a few miles up the road from me while in his homeroom class.
“This is not a complicated case, who did it and the manner of death,” he said. “The issue is Brandon’s age and what was going on at E.O. Green School.”
McInerney feels remorse and does not understand the seriousness of what he’s facing, he said.
“Going from being on the beach to being locked in a cage until he dies,” Quest said. “It’s hard for anyone to contemplate that, much less a 14-year-old.”
Memo to William Quest: Do NOT make excuses for Brandon McInerney. And whatever you do, do NOT blame the school or place the responsibility for Lawrence King’s shooting on their heads.
I fully understand that every defendant deserves a vigorous defense. I also understand that McInerney is 14 years old (the same age as my daughter, by the way). I don’t begrudge McInerney a defense. I also understand the gravity of the sentence he faces if convicted, which he will be.
What is at stake here is the question of whether Brandon McInerney should spend the rest of his life in prison, or should instead be tried and convicted in juvenile court, where he will be released at age 25 – 11 years maximum time.
As a somewhat bleeding-heart liberal, you’d think I’d be in support of the juvenile court option, right? Wrong. I’m not, in this case, because in my opinion the consequence is not grave enough for the crime. Period.
I cannot think of an age more critical than 14 for discovering that crimes have consequences. While my idea sentence for McInerney would be 1 year for each year of Lawrence King’s life at a minimum, served in a maximum security juvenile facility, that’s not an option. The only options on the table are to try him as an adult with a very heavy and onerous sentence, or to send him to juvenile court where the sentence will be far too gentle.
It’s undisputed that Brandon brought a gun to school. It’s undisputed that he walked up to Larry King at the start of homeroom, pulled the gun out of his backpack, placed it point-blank at his head and shot him in front of a classroom full of peers. These are not disputed.
The only question is why he did it, and frankly I don’t care. I don’t care if the school was lax about sexual identity issues, I don’t care if Brandon was raised in a broken and intolerant environment, I don’t care that the beach kid might spend the rest of his life in prison.
Because the fact is, it could have been my daughter’s classroom, or your child’s. Because the fact is, at the moment that Brandon McInerney crossed the decision matrix and chose to pull out that gun and shoot an innocent classmate not once, but twice, the ‘why’ no longer matters. Only the “what” matters.
The “what” is that Larry King is dead because Brandon McInerney didn’t like who he was, how he dressed, and how he behaved. This is not something the school caused. It is not something Larry King caused. It is not something society caused. It is not something McInerney’s parents caused.
It is the act of a coward and a bully with absolutely no regard for anyone but himself. A narcissist, a sociopath.
These are not qualities to be gentle with. They need to be taken out of society, condemned.
[Disclosure: My dad was a juvenile probation officer in LA County Probation camps, the hardcore of the convicted. I know exactly how much easier these places are. They’re a cakewalk compared to prison.]