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Have you heard of Christopher Lane? Have you heard his name in the news?
If the name doesn’t ring a bell, maybe you have heard the following.
Three teenagers have been charged with the murder of a young Australian man attending college in Ada, Oklahoma where he was pursuing his dream of playing baseball. He was shot in the back with a .22 caliber pistol while out jogging.
His name was Christopher Lane.
This story has particular import in no small measure because of the fact that Christopher Lane was white, and his alleged assailants are black. According to police, one of the suspects said that they did it “for the fun of it” and because they were “bored.” The callous disregard for human life revealed by these statements is beyond comprehension.
It goes almost without saying that if three white adolescents killed a young black man and cited “boredom” and “the fun of it” as justification, the outcry from the media, left-leaning pundits and the professional race industry as embodied by the likes of Al Sharpton would be deafening. Given his history, it is highly doubtful that President Obama would choose to remain silent in such a case. You will recall that with respect to the case of the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, the president weighed in rather early, saying among other things that if he, President Obama, had a son, the boy would, ”look like Trayvon Martin.”
Yet in the case of Christopher Lane, we have heard essentially nothing from the very quarters that opined so frequently and so ardently in the Trayvon Martin case. There has been no statement at all from the White House. Indeed, when questioned at the press briefing on Wednesday (Aug 22), deputy White House press secretary Josh Earnest said he was “not familiar” with the story.
(I would argue that it would be inappropriate for the White House to comment so early in the case. But if that is so, it was equally so at the time that the president inserted himself into the Trayvon Martin story.)
There is a place in the story for the likes of Al Sharpton, if only he and his ilk had the character to occupy it.
It is worth examining and discussing what could have gone wrong in the upbringing of the three alleged perpetrators that they could come to commit such an unconscionable act, and, though he never will, a figure such as Al Sharpton would be an ideal candidate to conduct such an inquiry.
Do the boys have engaged fathers, or are they among the millions of young black men who grow up largely unsupervised in single-parent or no-parent households?
Do these young men listen to rap and hip-hop music that is filled with violent, racist and misogynistic lyrics?
Are they still in school and on track to graduate or are they trapped by the very limited opportunities afforded those without a high school diploma?
Are they gang members?
Are they on track to gain any employable skills?
Can we at last agree that these questions are neither trivial nor rhetorical? It is a fact that boys who live in two-parent households with engaged fathers are dramatically less likely to join a gang or commit a crime. Boys whose parents are involved in their education are very unlikely to drop out of high school. It is a sad but undeniable fact that murders and other violent crimes are committed by young black men in hugely disproportionate numbers.
Al Sharpton and the president and the talking heads on the left have every bit as much reason to examine the personal lives of the kids involved in the killing of Christopher Lane as they do to examine the motivations of George Zimmerman.
For whatever else can be said with respect to this story it is clear that something went terribly wrong in the growing up of these young men. That something is worth exploring — particularly by those who purport to speak for black Americans.