i-43b1dcc573a0ac9dd76159c503645d10-civil_liberties.jpgThey did not like her because she is a Lesbian. So two girls beat her while a third taped the beating. They actually didn’t need to bother taping the event, as a security camera picked it up as well.

It is astonishing how often one manefestation of ignorance is associated with another…

The girls face one count each of aggravated assault in Allegan County Family Court. If convicted, they face a maximum of one year in a juvenile detention facility and a $1,000 fine.

VanderLaan and Longhurst were upset over the victim’s public displays of affection, according to the police report. The victim told police she believes it was because of her sexual orientation.

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  1. #1 Zeno
    July 7, 2008

    Hey, Greg. One of the thugettes is named Crystal VanderLaan. Is she related to Robert VanderLaan, the Republican nominee for a special congressional election in Michigan in 1974? The vacancy was created by the elevation of Rep. Gerald Ford to the vice presidency. Thanks to Nixon, the Democrats won the seat. Robert VanderLaan is about 78. Is he the grandfather or great-uncle of a sweet little bigot?

  2. #2 The Ridger
    July 7, 2008

    PDA. It’s just for straights. Like the couple blocking the aisle at the theater yesterday. Or the ones leaning over and kissing each other in the restaurant. Or walking down the street holding hands – or with their hands in each others’ pockets. Or groping each other against buildings.

    Who’s flaunting it, again?

  3. #3 Tony P
    July 7, 2008

    I’m frequently thankful that I live in a very liberal state even though the RC Church seems to think it’s still running the show.

    That said my SO and I regularly engage in PDA’s and have never had anyone say anything bad or try to do anything to us because of it.

  4. #4 JanieBelle
    July 7, 2008

    I dare someone to say something out of the way in front of me about PDAs…

  5. #5 ice9
    July 8, 2008

    If you’d like a deeper insight into this story–especially if you’re not frequently in an American high school–watch the rather horrifying security cam video, linked below. I’m a long-time high school teacher and I’ve recorded a few observations about the scene below–it’s not a typical view of high school mob action, and I think it shows one of the key symptoms of the homophobia that has been institutionalized in our schools mainly through the vigorous bigotry of the religious right and the aggressive complicity of the current government.

    We assume that the attackers are motivated by homophic bigotry, but it’s not so simple; despite their grown up bodies high school students are seldom capable of individuated thought and action in a crisis. High school students, unless carefully taught otherwise, will pick on someone; openly gay kids (a relatively new kind of person to them) are obviously vulnerable. Look to the parents, the school staff, and the community to set the standard. The video suggests that the attack isn’t the work of a few sadistic outliers, in my view. Unfortunately, if that is an accurate portrayal of the atmosphere in this school, it is quite typical.

    The students in the hallway know what’s about to happen. Note the four boys off to the right, and the circle of girls in the center (including the perps). You’ll see several situations where the kids suddenly jump up and down–a sign of amped-up tension and excitement (they don’t even know they’re doing it, usually). You can see the group egging each other on, then the assault which begins with one of the attackers grabbing the victim from behind and pulling her to the floor by her hair. During the attack, the students form a neat space and stand still, side by side, enthralled by what they are seeing. This too is typical high school behavior, and unconscious. You seldom see students intervene or act to protect another; they are far too thrilled and entertained by the violence and, quite frankly, are paralyzed. Those of us in the business of teaching in high school aren’t surprised by this reaction; most kids are far too immature to take a risk by interrupting the action (and the status that witnessing it confers). (Early in my career I happened on a fight between junior high girls; I did as I was trained to do, and turned to one of the spectators and said “Go get help.” The kids said “Fuck you.”)

    At the end of the tape a teacher appears and pulls the remaining attacker off of the victim, leaving her crouched inside the circle. No one moves to help her. She gathers her things and tries to leave, but a staff member takes her in hand. Students, particularly the girl in the yellow shirt, seem to be jeering or applauding.

    As a veteran high school teacher, I believe that younger high school and junior high school kids, especially the “leaderly cohort”, are very susceptible to the slightest intimation of social stratification from their elders and their culture. They also tend to filter out any nuanced or qualified explanation of that social structure. If parents say that all are equal but exercise or even hint at something else, the students will absorb that and act on it (though rarely so extremely as they do in this case.)
    Therefore the relgious bigots who imagine that it’s a viable family or community or church policy to “love the sinner but hate the sin” are sending their children to school with a license to hate.
    The schools are the incubators of our culture, where everything is acted out in larger and cruder terms. Happily, some schools (such as the one where I teach now) aggressively contain such bigotry.



  6. #6 Greg Laden
    July 8, 2008

    Ice: Thanks for that insightful comment. Everything you say jives with everything I’ve heard or seen. (The video you link to does not show the last bit you describe, I think)

  7. #7 JanieBelle
    July 8, 2008

    Second video does, Greg. Scroll down a bit.

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    July 8, 2008

    I am such a moron. Thanks.

  9. #9 ice9
    July 9, 2008

    I rewatched and think the girl in yellow may be the third perpetrator who filmed the “beat down” with her cell phone…but comparing the two vids requires a stronger stomach than I can muster and a couple of times through is all I want to try.
    But I thought of another interesting angle here…this high school (and a certain other space I share with a certain person close to you) is apparently completely covered by quality continuous video surveillance. In my capacity as a teacher (and a bit more than a teacher) I’ve had occasion to watch and use these videos…they’re quite detailed, digitized, and (as you can see from the edits in the published version here) they can tolerate zooming and segmenting. Basically, these kids live in an environment that is continuously monitored, by themselves, their peers, and their administrators. It’s simple and routine to go to the video to verify any event that happens in the school (and kids are starting to figure out how to do their mischief in the blind spots, too).
    But they do mischief anyway, and post it on the Internet, and claim it as their own.
    We’re raising a generation of kids who are not only comfortable with a fourth-amendment-free life, but embrace it.