Northwest readers of the Seattle Times and on-line Seattle P-I.com are reacting to the slaying of Australian baseball player Christopher Lane in Oklahoma by three teens who appeared in court yesterday to face formal charges.
There is a lot of talk about race in the comments because the two suspects charged with first-degree murder are black and the victim was white, shot once in the back and left dying alongside the road in Duncan. The Associated Press report said the suspects are from “the grittier part of town,” whatever that means. The third suspect is white. This column initially reported all three are black, and apologizes for the error.
The slaying – said to have been done out of boredom – is getting international attention. The Daily Mail on-line edition has plastered several images of the alleged killers, and the Melbourne Herald Sun leads with tow images of one suspect holding a bolt-action rifle aimed at the camera. Australians are furious, and there is already talk Down Under about boycotting the United States as a travel destination.
Here in the Northwest, some wonder why Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton aren’t saying a thing about this case. There has not been an “If I had a son” remark from the president, though several Seattle Times readers have alluded to the now-infamous comment.
At least one Seattle Times reader has already tried to finger the National Rifle Association, while other respondents have factually noted that existing gun laws prohibit teens from packing handguns, especially in Oklahoma. Nobody has had to remind the gun prohibitionists and apologists that murder is also illegal in the Sooner State, but perhaps they realize that in the “zone of happy thoughts” where decals are seen as a deterrent to crime.
The teens are identified as Chancey Allen Luna, 16, James Francis Edwards Jr., 15 and Michael Dewayne Jones, 17. Jones allegedly was at the wheel for the drive-by shooting, and Luna is the alleged trigger man. They’ve been labeled as “thugs” by prosecutor Jason Hicks. Luna and Edwards face first-degree murder charges. Jones, the white suspect, is charged with using a vehicle in the discharge of a weapon, and being an accessory to first-degree murder.
The suspects’ parents are insisting their children are “good boys” who are involved in sports and other activities. One Times reader has suggested the parents should be held responsible. Others believe this should be prosecuted not only as a homicide, but also as a hate crime.
There will be no dispute about whether this was murder or self-defense. Nobody has mentioned “racial profiling” or Stand-Your-Ground.
If there was a “racial divide” before this murder, it now threatens to collapse to a Grand Canyon-scale.
One is left to wonder how long it will take for the gun control crowd to exploit this case – which has nothing to do with licensed concealed carry, open carry or the legal use of firearms for self-defense – to push their agenda.