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FROM THE TALK OF L.A.

An outpouring for Oxnard teen

February 22, 2008

Funeral services are scheduled today for Lawrence King, the 15-year-old boy who was fatally shot last week at E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard, allegedly by a classmate. Brandon McInerney, 14, has been charged as an adult with premeditated murder, with an added special hate crime allegation. Prosecutors have declined to talk about a motive in the slaying. But students said the two boys had had a dispute over the sexual orientation of King, who had recently revealed that he was gay. The Times received more than 600 comments on its website from readers about King's death. Here is a sampling:

Unfortunately, this doesn't surprise me. Kids endlessly taunt those who appear gay. Most parents simply don't care, or look the other way. I have been teaching for 20 years. We keep talking about changing kids outright "hate" behavior but very little seems to really change.

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How long will this make the headlines? I fear that very soon this will all be forgotten. Will America ever learn? Lawrence was not the first child to have been killed because of his sexuality.

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This is a prime example of how far back hate crimes start. These kids are only 14 and already are acting much like the rest of the world. I agree that there should be classes on hate crimes and not just tolerance but acceptance of the differences in our communities, whether it be sexual orientation, race or gender.

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It's a tragedy any way you look at it, but to know that anti-gay sentiments can manifest themselves in such a way, and at such a young age, it's just really disheartening to me.

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What a sad, sad world we live in where people who are BRAVE enough to be themselves are killed in the name of bigotry and hatred. What hope does it leave the rest of us? I grieve for Larry and his family and truly fear for humanity.

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Macy

I can't believe that still in America there are ignorant people that discriminate against people that are not like themselves. Being gay is not something to be "freaked out" about, and certainly not to be shot for.

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It's sad that Lawrence had the courage to stand up and die for his beliefs. He didn't come to school to cause any controversy; he went to get an education. He was a courageous kid at such a young age.

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Angela Hopkins

I would like to express my condolences to the family and friends of Lawrence King. My prayers also go out to the McInerney family. This is a tragedy for both families. Brandon in the blink of the eye has taken the life of another and ruined his own.

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As a parent, I am saddened that any child has to be subjected to bullying and worse for simply expressing who they are. My thoughts are with both families now, because in many ways they have both lost their child.

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DLB

As a nation, this is the message we send to our children. If you don't agree with someone, kill them.

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Sura

Larry lives on. His heart was transplanted on Valentine's Day. He'd have liked that.

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Footsie

Good luck to any school in "unteaching" these children this kind of ingrained hate. What they can do is educate themselves and their staff about safety in schools; they need to learn how to recognize a tragedy in the making, and to stop it before it gets this far.

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Cheryl

This is what happens when we teach our children to be intolerant of others. We seem to forget that children learn by example.

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Rose

It's really great to have a march in honor of Lawrence King. It would have been better to have supported him while he was alive.

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Lynn

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For more information, go to latimes.com/california.

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