[Editor's note: Abbey was given a school assignment:
to write a paper about hate crimes. She chose to write about the
Brian Deneke case. She got an A.]
At times the world shuts its eyes on the so called
"different kids." They look at this outward appearance of spiked
hair, studded belts, chains, and sometimes even a skateboard at
their sides. All of a sudden they are these rebel kids with bad
intentions. Yeah, so they listen to ruff underground music, and
have a DIY (Do It Yourself) motto, but what's so wrong with that?
For these kids punk is a lot more than just a "look."
Punk is what they are, true to what they believe in; they stick
So how easy is it for someone to get away with murder? It was easier
than you think for Dustin Camp. Was it because he was an all around
good guy, football player, popular, maybe a prep? Or maybe because
his victim was a punk who dressed differently and had a mohawk?
Brian Deneke was that punk kid who happened to be in the wrong place
at the wrong time. There are so many questions that just can't be
answered, but hopefully you'll start to understand.
This is the story of a punk named
Brian Deneke... In Amarillo, Texas it was easy to see the different
cliques, Punks and Preps. Brian Deneke who was 19 was most known
for his spiked mohawk and his punk attire. But his look often led
to problems. Brian would get hassled at malls and approached by
their security. At his high school in Amarillo the students would
kick up muddy water while he was walking by. When asked from a student
why he didn't drop his punk look, he simply said "It's me."
Even though Brian got trashed on by the other kids, he made a big
impact on people in his community and the punk generation everywhere.
He worked at the Dynamite Museum, and made old Cadillacs into pieces
of art. Many times he helped put together concerts for anyone who
wanted to come.
On December 12, 1997 originally going
to a concert but being short of money Brian and some friends went
to IHOP (International House Of Pancakes). Dustin Camp 17, a varsity
football player was also there. Words were said and past
events led up to a fight in the Western Plaza Shopping Center parking
lot. No one is sure exactly what happened in this time, but Dustin
Camp and some of his friends in his 1983 Cadillac, ran Brian down.
He died that night from being ran over. Ran over because he was
different, because he was a punk. The same kind of car Brian Deneke
loved and turned into art took his life that night.
Camp was arrested on murder charges
the next day. The trial began soon after. While in trial officers
brought in Brian's clothes, as if to say this was the reason he
was killed. Camp's friends, family, teachers, coach, and even pastor
told the court that Dustin was a "good kid." The question
on everyone's mind was "Do good kids kill other kids?"
After everything was all said and done in court the results were
in, Camp was convicted of manslaughter but only got a ten year probation
and a fine of $10,000. This came as a shock to everyone including
Dustin's friends. No one thought that he had gotten what he deserved
for killing Brian. Especially Brian's family. It was one thing having
their son murdered but then to see Camp let off basically free.
An Amarillo jury found in favor of
the Deneke's for a wrongful death suit against the Camps on June
7th 2000, and awarded them $20,000. No amount of money can take
the pain away or give their son back. Finally in 2001, Dustin Camp
was sentenced to 8 years in prison.
Right now the world has enough problems.
Punk or Prep, aren't we all the same inside? Brian Deneke stood
up for what he believed in, maybe we should all be a little more
like Brian... like he said "It's Me."
RIP Brian Deneke.
Brian's name has been added to Real
Skate's "Team Valhalla"
Plese visit Brian's