Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bored Enough To Kill

This story is almost too appalling to believe. It sounds like the sickening plot in an Oliver Stone movie. A violent narrative conceived for the sole purpose of shock value, and sickening entertainment. But unfortunately, in this case, the facts are undeniable, and far from entertaining.

Two teenagers were charged Tuesday with first degree murder in the shooting death of a college baseball player out for a jog in Oklahoma. A crime that one teen said they carried out simply because they were bored, according to police.

James Francis Edwards Jr., 15, and Chancey Allen Luna, 16, were charged with murder. A third teenager, Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, was charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact and with firing a weapon. All were charged as adults, according to the Stephens County District Attorney’s Office.

The charges were unveiled at a hearing in Duncan, Okla. The ballplayer, Christopher Lane, was visiting the town, where his girlfriend lives, the police chief told The Associated Press. He passed a home where the teens were staying and was gunned down at random, the chief said.

If convicted of first degree murder, the suspects could face life in prison.

“They saw Christopher go by, and one of them said: ‘There’s our target,’” the chief, Danny Ford, told the local media, “The boy who has talked to us said, ‘We were bored and didn’t have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody.’”

Lane, 22, is from Australia but was in Oklahoma playing baseball. He was a rising senior at East Central University in Ada, Okla., a catcher who started 14 games and hit .250 for the Tigers this season, according to the school’s athletics website.

Witnesses told Australian television that Lane staggered and collapsed on the road after he was shot in the back with a .22-caliber revolver on Friday afternoon.

Lane’s father, Peter, said that the killing was “heartless, and to try to understand it is a short way to insanity.”

“The fact that something that shouldn’t have happened has happened, it’s the fact that somebody we all love so much is not going to come home,” he said. 

Lane's girlfriend, Sarah Harper, visited the street where he was gunned down. A memorial with flowers had sprung up.

“I don’t really care what happens to them,” she said of the accused in an interview . “I feel like if they don’t get what they deserve now and in the present, they will eternally. They’re just evil people.”

Jennifer Luna, who identified herself as the mother of Chancey Luna, said her son should be punished if he was involved.

In a tearful interview with reporters, she addressed the parents of the dead ballplayer: “I wouldn’t want to be in that position that they’re in right now. I’m always on my kids. I always tell them: If I lost y’all, I wouldn’t be able to live.”

The three teens are being held in individual cells at the Stephens County jail.

Since this vile act was committed, there has been commentary from the Conservative right comparing this murder to that of Trayvon Martin. In their dubious attempt to go "tit for tat" they ask, "where is the outrage in the African-American community." Eagerly implying that the African-American opinion of crime is specially tailored to fit a particular set of circumstances.

But the fact of the matter is that we as African-Americans are even more outraged. The loss of any, and all humanity is a tragedy. But the murder of Christopher Lane serves as validation for those who are fond of stereotyping, and marginalizing young Black men. It says that Black men are dangerous. It implies that "stand your ground" laws are essential, and in the minds of many, Trayvon Martin and these teens are one in the same. Dangerous, young black men with savage intent. These three boys represent every Black man in America even though one of them was white. 

The outrage in the Black community is rooted in shock at the depraved indifference shown by these children, and the smug joy that the Conservative right gets from their tongue and cheek, "I told you so's."


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