Chris Lane was visiting his girlfriend’s family in Duncan, Oklahoma last week when he was shot while out jogging. The reason three teenaged boys gave for shooting him? They were bored. Lane happened to pass by the house where the trio was hanging out: they saw him and marked him as their target. Lane never had a chance.
“They saw Christopher go by, and one of them said: ‘There’s our target,'” Duncan Police Chief Danny Ford said. “The boy who has talked to us said, ‘We were bored and didn’t have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody.'”
The boys – aged 15, 16 and 17 – jumped into their car, pulled up behind Lane and shot him in the back. Then they sped away. One of the boys told the police that they shot Lane “for the fun of it.” The three were found and arrested a few hours later. One of them has given a detailed confession to police.
Witnesses rushed to help Lane, performing CPR. But it was futile and the fallen 22-year-old died there by the side of the road. He had just returned to the U.S. — where he attended nearby East Central University (ECU) on a baseball scholarship — from his home in Australia a week before.
A local news station, Koko News Five, reported on the shooting. Here’s the video:
Lane’s father is, understandably, devastated by the senseless death of his son. He spoke to reporters in Melbourne:
“There’s not going to be any good come out of this because it was just so senseless. There wasn’t anything he did or could have done. He was an athlete going for a jog like he would do five or six days a week in terms of his training schedule. He was just a kid on the cusp of making his life. To try to understand it is a short way to insanity.”
Insanity. I couldn’t agree more. This boy came from a country with sane gun laws to our country with its gun-crazy attitude to do what he loved. He was killed by three American kids who were “bored” and had access to a gun. Oklahoma’s gun death statistics are nothing to be proud of: 50-65% of murders in that state are by guns, an average of 3.64 gun deaths per 100,000 people. Now that state can add murdering innocent athletes from another country to their statistics. Add to that the fact that none of these boys was legally old enough to own a gun in Oklahoma – how did they get it? Was an irresponsible adult just leaving it lying around or did the boys find it and take it? These are questions that need to be answered. Because these boys now face the death penalty. They will be held responsible for their actions, but what about the adult who allowed the gun to fall into their hands?
This sad tale makes me think of a lyric from a song called Everyday Glory, written by Neil Peart:
In the city where nobody smiles
And nobody dreams
In the city where desperation
Drives the bored to extremes.
Teenagers always seem to be bored, don’t they? Even with all the wonderful things they have at their fingertips, they manage to hit a dull spot at least once a day. The difference is the desperation. With unemployment still high and income inequality growing even worse, teens find it difficult to get even minimum wage food service jobs. In this situation, smiles and dreams are few. Desperation may not drive every bored teen to extremes but with lax gun laws and irresponsible gun owners, it apparently drives some to commit murder. The saddest part of this is that an innocent visitor to our country was cut down in the prime of his life. No wonder the rest of the world thinks we’re insane.