Australian college baseball player Christopher Lane was out for a jog last week when he was gunned down by a trio of teenagers, who were said to have randomly selected him for murder because they just wanted to kill someone. Lane was reportedly shot in the back with a .22 handgun. He had earned a scholarship to study in the United States, and was visiting the town of Duncan, Oklahoma because his girlfriend lives there.
“We were bored and didn’t have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody,” one of the shooters told the police chief.
The story is actually more complicated than initial reports suggested, because it turns out the accused killers – James Edwards Jr., 15, Chancey Luna, 16, and getaway driver Michael Jones, 17 – appear to be aspiring members of the Crips gang. According to the Melbourne Herald Sun, the trio was turned into the police (“dobbed” in Australian lingo) by the father of a boy who would have been their next victim.
James Johnson, 52, called the police to tell them that the accused killers were hiding in the car park of the Immauel Baptist Church car park at about 5pm, two hours after they allegedly shot Lane.
“My son called me and said, “They’re saying they’re coming to kill me,” so I called the police and they got here within about three minutes,” Johnson told the Herald Sun.
Mr Johnson claimed that Edwards Jr had threatened the life of his own 17-year-old son Christopher on Facebook. His son was at home with his mother and sisters near the church when he received the death threat.
“They threatened to kill my son because they are in a gang, the Crips, and were trying to get my son in it and I wouldn’t let him do it.
“I told him he couldn’t run with those boys. He’s a little terrified.”
Mr Johnson said the Crips, a predominantly African American street gang that began in Los Angeles in 1969 and had been in Duncan for the past few years.
Bryan Preston at PJ Media takes a deeper look at the teenage killers and posts a few profanity-laced excerpts from what appears to be the Facebook page of 15-year-old James Edwards, Jr. Contrary to early reports, the shooters don’t seem so much “bored” as malevolent and bloodthirsty.
Somehow the racial dimensions of this case are completely uninteresting to the media and civil-rights groups, even though they were so enthralled with deeper racial implications from the George Zimmerman murder trial that they magically transformed the Hispanic Zimmerman into a white man. CNN’s report on the Oakland murder completely avoids reporting that the victim was white, while his teenage killers were black and Hispanic. The suspects are pictured in an embedded video clip, but it’s telling that the racial dimensions of the crime are not mentioned at all.
The media and its favorite “activists” labored mightily to make the shooting of Trayvon Martin into an iconic racial incident, a window into the darkest recesses of the American soul. It was not portrayed as an isolated incident; black youths have been told explicitly and repeatedly that they’re all one wrong move away from being gunned down by white (or “white Hispanic”) homeowners, who will then invoke Stand Your Ground laws to get away with murder. Narratives that deliberately obscure or misrepresent the actions of both Zimmerman and Martin on that fateful night are pushed to this very day, even after a mountain of evidence was introduced at Zimmerman’s murder trial, and he was acquitted of both second-degree murder and manslaughter charges. Indeed, the black community has been told by its “leaders” to reject the verdict, essentially pretending the trial didn’t happen at all, because there are Deeper Truths that make Zimmerman guilty, no matter what the law says.
But no one seems interested in drawing any larger conclusions from this outrage in Oklahoma, even though growing gang movements are a far greater danger to life and limb – especially for black teenagers – than armed neighborhood watch volunteers. Another case that got very little national media attention, during the waning days of Trayvon-mania, was the murder of black Chicago teenager Darryl Green, whose relatives say he was killed for refusing to join a gang.
It may come as a surprise to many readers that the Crips have a presence in Oklahoma. According to NBC News, the local sheriff, Wayne McKinney, says “there has been an escalation in major crimes committed by people under 18 in recent years” in this rural community. ”That is alarming that we’re seeing those type of crimes,” Sheriff McKinney added. ”I don’t think it’s unique. It’s something we’re starting to see nationwide.” That seems like something our “civil rights leaders” should be focused on, rather than repealing Stand Your Ground laws, doesn’t it?
Also, while the mainstream media labored mightily to avoid reporting it, there is considerable evidence that Trayvon Martin’s father was either a member of the Crips, or had a fairly recent fascination with gang culture. The narrative of the Zimmerman-Martin story was written to present Trayvon Martin as entirely innocent, almost angelic, to the extent that old photographs were employed to make him look younger than he was at the time of his death. Martin’s behavior, and the role of his parents in his upbringing, were swept completely off the table, even though they have broader and more lasting significance to our national social debate than searching George Zimmerman’s history for microscopic particles of racism.
Of course, the usual idiots from the gun-control movement leaped to exploit the Oklahoma murder, even though the teenage killers are already in violation of numerous existing gun laws. (Among other offenses, they had a shotgun with the serial numbers filed off.) As Bryan Preston brilliantly put it, “The ‘gun culture’ didn’t kill Chris Lane, but the rap and gang culture may have played a prominent role.”
Media coverage pertaining to our great “national discussions” about race, crime, and guns is driven entirely by pre-fabricated narratives and the political needs of media-savvy activists. If a story isn’t useful to the activists, it’s casually dropped as an entirely isolated “local crime story” with no broader significance, if it gets reported at all. The daily body count from gang warfare in the gun-free utopia of Chicago, for example, is treated as nothing more exceptional than the afternoon weather forecast.
Well, it’s time to step up your game, Al Sharpton, because dealing with the forces that led to the heartless murder of Chris Lane is going to take more than rallying a few camera-ready protests and demanding a quick legislative fix. It’s going to involve saying things that your ardent supporters might not want to hear. It’s going to involve discussions of responsibility, on the part of both kids at risk of gang induction and their parents, instead of hapless victimhood. It’s not the kind of discussion that can be easily harvested for political money and votes. It will be much harder than going on talk shows to rail against a jury verdict you disagree with, or a law you don’t like.
If the current crop of “civil rights leaders” isn’t up to the task, they should make way for people who are. Laziness and dishonesty characterized those who exploited the Trayvon Martin shooting to further their political and financial ends. America can’t afford any more laziness and dishonesty from any quarter of its leadership.
While deeply mindful of their awful grief and shock, I find I must respectfully disagree with the sentiments of Chris Lane’s parents, and his girlfriend, as relayed by NBC News:
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 from Australia in video aired by KFOR, the NBC affiliate in Oklahoma City.
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 with 9 News of Australia. “I feel like if they don’t get what they deserve now and in the present, they will eternally. They’re just evil people.”
The killers aren’t just evil people. We need to learn how three young men could be drawn down such a terrible path, because there are more where they came from. Contrary to Mr. Lane’s estimate, I don’t think it was a particularly short way to insanity. He’s absolutely right that it shouldn’t have happened. But we do have to make the difficult effort to understand why.
Update: A moving Facebook page has been created in Christopher Lane’s honor.
Update: At long last, Jesse Jackson weighs in… with a jaw-dropping Twitter message: “Praying for the family of Chris Lane. This senseless violence is frowned upon and the justice system must prevail.”
“Frowned upon?” I’m not sure I could think of a more inappropriate phrase to express mild disapproval for the brutal, random murder of an innocent young man. I can’t recall him using such tepid language with reference to George Zimmerman. I guess all we need now is for Al Sharpton to add a “tut, tut!” and we’re all set.
Update: It appears that at least one of the alleged killers, James Edwards, was very active in social media, and his posts include some anti-white racism. The authorities nevertheless seem to be bending over backwards to avoid classifying this as a “hate crime.”