Friday, August 23, 2013

Chris Lane, Trayvon and the Elephant in Room

One thing I believe people, all around the world, commonly hold in contempt is hypocrisy and double standards.

…At least most of us.

But, the terrible, ludicrous killing of 22-year-old Christopher Lane has highlighted an apparent duplicity at the highest level of America’s government, and as a citizen, I find it shameful and appalling.

Chris—a Melbourne, Australia native, in America on a baseball scholarship—was attending East Central University in Oklahoma.  He had his whole life ahead of him, along with his girlfriend; Duncan, Oklahoma resident, Sarah Harper.

Out for a jog, last Friday (Aug. 16), Lane could not have known it would be the final steps he would take in this life.

Inside a small black car were three of Duncan’s teens—James Francis Edwards Jr. (15), Michael Dewayne Jones (17) and Chancey Allen Luna (16)—who also had their whole lives ahead of them, but who had decided to end another’s.

“We were bored and didn't have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody,” was the explanation given to police by one of the boys.

The life they took with a gunshot to the back was Chris Lane’s.

Rewind a couple months this year, and you’d find America embroiled in the trial for Floridian George Zimmerman, who had shot and killed a boy by the name of Trayvon Martin.

The jury acquitted Zimmerman of murder, finding that he’d shot Martin in self-defense—fearing for his own life, after Martin attacked him.

While Zimmerman was not really white, but Hispanic, I guess he was “light enough” for the situation to escalate into a full scale racial issue—the killing of Trayvon being called a “hate crime” by many.

And this country’s president spoke up and identified—in the most personal way—with the victim, saying that if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon.

The media was in a frenzy; everywhere people adorned themselves with hoodies.  And the saying, “I am Trayvon” caught on like wildfire.

Obama’s words had added fuel to the already burning fire, which could have been much worse, except for the strength and grace of Trayvon’s family who accepted the verdict and pleaded for there to be no more violence.

Back to Chris Lane…and the hypocrisy in the White House.

Lane was white, and a citizen of a country that has stood with America as one of her closest allies.

If President Obama spoke out about Trayvon Martin’s killing, saying he “could’ve been my son,”  shouldn’t he then ignore the COLOR of Christopher Lane and acknowledge the tragedy of this life so senselessly lost?

The silence is deafening. 

Although one of the teens tweeted that he hated “white ppl,” there’s been no civil rights “frenzy” among the media, save for the few outlets that have pointed to this elephant in the room: hypocrisy.

This is not about guns; they will always find their way into the wrong hands regardless of any law that attempts to prevent it.

This is about a condition: hearts grown cold.

It’s about boys who are “bored” and who’s consciences have been so skewed by a lack of value for life—any life, and every life—that they actually find entertainment in killing another human being.

For those who would like to pin the “racist” title on me, I am not looking at color—cold hearts are found among all colors of skin.

But Chris Lane’s murder has drawn a huge red circle around a dangerous heart condition here in America, and a potentially deadly one.

I hope to hear words that can promote healing from our president in the coming days, and, as Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole has already done, an apology given to the good people of Australia.

After all, my boy will celebrate his 24th birthday next month…Chris Lane could’ve been my son.

1 comment:

Gary said...

Amie. I agree with your sentiments and your comments. The death of the young man from Australia is senseless and I have posted comments on FB about it. What was it Jesse Jackson said. That kind of behavior is "frowned upon." If it was three white kids killing a black person, Jackson's comment would -- I assure you -- have been much stronger.

Frowned upon? Indeed.

And I think this is a place where Obama could step out and lead. Criticism is flying on the Internet, on Facebook, Tweets, etc. about the same things you wrote about. But he and Jackson and Al Sharpton are silent. They should be silent no more.

Now African American boys in Spokane are accused of killing the 88-year old man. While innocent until proven guilty -- as are the kids accused of killing the baseball player -- people are saying these are the kids Obama could very well identify with.

This is sad. It's tragic. It must end.

A friend of mine posted something on FB the other day when I commented on the case you wrote about. She said she hopes to someday live in a world where a George Zimmerman offers the boy a ride home.

How refreshing.

My friend, by the way, is black and a wonderful, wonderful liberal.

Here's my concern about your post about George Zimmerman. Yes, he shot Martin in sort of self-defense after he was attacked by the boy. However, Zimmerman instigated the confrontation by following the kid. He was told not to by the police but did so anyway.

He's far from innocent and I think getting away with killing Martin -- even in self-defense -- deserves some sort of punishment. But the law does not work that way so he walked. If I was in the jury I would have let him walk, too, based on the evidence.

As a jurist in the civil suit, I'd let the guy have it.