"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." -- Bertrand Russell

Thursday, September 27, 2012

[Purported] Anti-Gay Hate Crime at Lancaster High School in California

Edit (Sep 29):

I am shocked as to how much interest this post has generated on my blog. For a little blog like mine to have generated so much traffic on an issue that I am not particularly connected with is fascinating.

To be clear, I first found this story in a Facebook post and simply wanted to share what little I could find about it. Over night, it generated more traffic than any story I'd ever run on here.

For those too lazy to click on links, Snopes.com has now identified the rumor reported here as "probably false". The actual case seems to have involved a high school student who misidentified a female student as male and had a physical altercation with her. However, I am astonished by the number of people who have tried to excuse his behavior by saying that "he didn't know it was a girl". Even supposing that this student had beaten up a male student that would not excuse his actions. It's unclear as to how much of an asymmetry was involved with the altercation, but numerous reports indicate that the boy did a lot more damage to the girl than she did to him. Provided that this is true, there are still issues worth talking about here.


A user has posted the following on the Facebook group Gender Queer Atheists:
Yesterday a 17 year female , who attends Lancaster High School in California, was beaten by a football player, on school grounds, for being gay. After receiving over a dozen blows to her jaw, head, eye and head, all he received was a 5 day suspension by the Lancaster School District. She suffered from a fractured jaw and multiple concussions to the head and the Deputy Sheriff advised her mother to re-think her wanting to file charges against the football player because her daughter pushed him back. The school ended up documenting "assault" charges on the victims school file, NOT the football players!!! To make things worse, the Deputy Sheriff warned the victim, by saying, "Just so you know, if you file charges against him, I'm taking his side." We're attempting to raise awareness and bring this story to light because Lancaster High School is trying to sweep this "Hate Crime" under the rug! Like if you care and please forward to everyone you know. FYI : CBS, KCAL 9 news are running the story tomorrow at 10pm.

 Edit 1: It has come to my attention that many do not think this to be a hate crime. It's possible that this wasn't an anti-gay hate crime and that, as some claim, the female student was mistaken for a male student and that he was acting in self defence. I fail to see how that resolves anything. The asymmetry in the force used between the two individuals is astonishing; the fact that the girl ended up with the amount of damage that she did, while the boy ended up with so little, means that he used excessive force. That puts this beyond the realm of self defence. The fact that he is not being prosecuted for excessive force speaks to privilege (presumably due to his elevated status as a student athlete), even if it's not heterosexual privilege.

Edit 2:  The genders of the two individuals should not matter. A male student should no more beat up another male student than beat up a female student.

Edit 3: It has additionally come to my attention that this event is not very well confirmed. Please check the relevant snopes.com site often for updates on this situation.

Edit 4: The local PD has released a press report.