Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Oklahoma Shooting Breaks My Heart

I am incredibly saddened and appalled by the news of the death of Christopher Lane, the young Australian man that was senselessly shot while he was jogging by three bored teens. When the story first broke, many news outlets did not want to publish the pictures or race of the boys because they were minors. Now we know, two of them were black and one white.

I don't buy the defense people are throwing out that they should have had more to do. There are many kids out there that don't have supervision during the day while they're on summer break and don't have part time jobs or activities to do that are not out there killing people for sport. In order to hunt someone and shoot them for no reason, you have to be depraved in some way. Its a shame that three people were able to get together and all share in this sick behavior and not do anything to stop each other.

When kids are bored and do not have the supervision or parental guidance they need they can get into trouble and do stupid things. Whether it be drugs, drinking, vandalism or hanging out, they can get into trouble with the law which is unfortunate. Kids left to fend for themselves, especially those in poverty can get caught up with gangs or drug dealing, which we see too often in poor, minority communities. 

According to CNN, one of the black boys that shot Mr. Lane in the back recently tweeted he hated 90% of white people. You could argue this is was a racially motivated crime because there is the possibility that if it happened to have been a black man jogging this may not have happened. There is also a possibility they premeditated this attack and it just happened there was a white man passing by at the wrong time.

Obviously, people are calling out Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to make a statement, to offer not only condolences to the family this young man with a bright future left behind, but offer a statement condemning what these teens (specifically the two black ones) did. Too often, when horrible crimes are committed by blacks, whether it be black on black crime or it be black on white crime, there is silence by the black community.

I think there is a tendency to feel a sense of embarrassment that one of our own did something so horrid we just don't know what to say. We don't want to appear as if speaking out against crime committed by our race is speaking out against our race. Not everything can be seen as black versus white. Sometimes it has to be about standing for whats right or wrong, regardless of who is the victim and who is the perpetrator. 

There has to come a point where we not only speak out against violence when its white versus black. We can't make excuses or try to find a reason why people do horrible things. There are just some instances and times where we can't use racism as a way to explain despicable behavior. 

There are countless young, innocent victims of violent crime that were killed not because some depraved individual decided to shoot and kill, it often times is the result of gang activity, drug deals, some sort of beef that turns into gun violence by people that do not know how to use a gun properly or have much regard for human life to take the risk of shooting an innocent bystander in order to reach an intended target. This, I would argue, is the result of poverty and lack of resources in under served communities.