I have nothing to say about the murder of Christopher Lane.
The killing of this Australian man, allegedly by a group of boys who were bored and could think of nothing better to do, suggests chilling amorality and a sociopathic estrangement from the sacredness of life. The fact that these teenagers were able to get their hands on a gun with which to shoot the 22-year-old student in the back on Aug. 16 as he was jogging in the small Oklahoma town of Duncan leaves me embarrassed for my country — and thankful I am not the one who has to explain to his country how such a thing can happen.
None of this will satisfy the dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people who have written me emails demanding (it is always interesting when people think they can demand a column) that I write about this drive-by shooting as an act of racial bigotry, an inverse of the Trayvon Martin killing, if you will. There is a numbing repetitiveness to these screeds: Where is Jesse Jackson, they demand. Where is Al Sharpton? Where are you? Or as one subject line puts it: “Why no outrage!!!!”
Actually, I have plenty of outrage. Just not the flavor of outrage they would like me to have.
It is, for some people, a foregone conclusion that any time violent crime crosses racial lines, some kind of racial statement is intended. But violent criminals are not sociopolitical theoreticians and violent crime is not usually a social manifesto. With relatively rare exceptions — we call them hate crimes — the fact is, if a thug shoots you, it is not because you are white, black, gay or Muslim, but because you are there.
So is Lane’s shooting one of those exceptions? A case can be made that it is. One of the young black suspects, after all, tweeted his anti-white bigotry back in April. The hashtag: HATE THEM.