Valentine Road

Larry King (not that Larry King) had a pretty rough life. His adoptive parents had 22 complaints about abuse against them. Larry wore jackets at school to hide the bruises. But no one came to save him. When he was finally removed from the home, it was because he had “stolen” food from his adoptive parents’ refrigerator. How hungry was Larry? How sore? He went to a shelter for abused and neglected children where he struggled to identify his orientation. Small for his age, biracial, he experimented with makeup, crocheted scarves, and wore heeled boots to school. Everyone knew him as the gay kid, though he was possibly more accurately transgender, and it didn’t sit well with everyone.

On February 12, 2008, Larry King was shot and killed by a fellow 8th grade classmate – the classmate he’d chosen as his Valentine. A classmate who was so provoked by Larry’s sexuality that he brought a gun to school and shot him in the head, a hate crime that “shocked the nation” (except not really, as Americans have decided that adopting school shootings into their culture is just easier).

The documentary interviews not just students who discriminated against Larry, but teachers as well – one who is religious piece of shit and believes that Larry’s “actions” had “consequences” and a special ed teacher obsessed with weapons. The one teacher who supported him was summarily fired, and now works as a barista. The school has done nothing for grieving students and is tried its best to bury the execution that took place on school grounds.

Yeah, this shit is really difficult to watch. There are too many failures, too many shitty grownups doing nothing. Not just excusing homophobia, but espousing it. It made me sick. But this documentary does something unexpected. It has two victims, not one.

The boy who shot Larry was a white supremacist. But he was also occasionally homeless, with an abusive father and a drug-addicted mother. At the time of the shooting, he was living with his grandfather, who had a lot of weapons lying around. Is he just as much a victim as Larry?

The documentary looks behind the headlines but how much compassion can we really afford to expend here? This shit is unbelievable, and I think we all need to confront what goes on in it, because this film from 2013 was a better predictor of the 2016 election than any of the polls.

This movie made me mad, as it should. It upset me, as it should. It shocked me, as it should. But stories like these continue to fail to galvanize the dirty half of America who breed hatred and value guns over human life.

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15 thoughts on “Valentine Road

  1. EclecticMusicLover

    What a sad and tragic story! I fucking hate the repulsive, racist, orange pathological liar currently occupying the White House like an invading Visigoth (with my apologies to the Visigoths), and the vile white supremacists and delusional Evangelical hypocrites who helped to put him there.

    Liked by 5 people

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    1. Jay Post author

      Yeah, I realize how privileged I am to have been blind sided by the election when reality has been telling us something else for some time. It just doesn’t seem real to me that this kind of person can seriously exist!

      Liked by 5 people

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  2. selizabryangmailcom

    I guess if this country had been founded by hippies, we’d be surfing in the wake of some hippie-like karma now: maybe a little too much pot, a little too much time wasted dancing around fires instead of working, everyone protesting the war mongers, because the overriding mindset would be “make love, not war.”

    But no. This country was founded by hypocritical, self-righteous, puritanical white supremacists, so unfortunately, THOSE are the chickens coming home to roost. Those are the ghosts of our past, haunting us now.

    It sounds like this movie really WAS an indicator of what was right around the corner and the ugliness right beneath the surface about to erupt into daylight. I wouldn’t be able to watch it without my blood boiling too hard.

    Liked by 5 people

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  3. Liz A.

    I can’t. I just can’t anymore. So much ugliness.
    It’s a sad story. And it deserves to be heard. There is still that homophobia and transphobia going around. We can only combat that which we can, and hope that others are getting the message.

    Liked by 2 people

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  4. Brittani

    This doc was hard to watch because the director just let her subjects say whatever they wanted and never challenged them. To me, that was hardest when the murderer’s family was talking. I get she just wanted to let their stupidity fly but it was frustrating not to tell them they were wrong. Or even question why his lawyer got so involved to the point of getting his name tattooed on her? I just felt so bad for Larry and how they still came down hard on him after his death.

    Liked by 3 people

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