Some people aren't Trayvon Martin. Rest in Peace Christopher Lane.

Christopher Lane, was a 23 year old student, living and studying in the United States on a baseball scholarship. While visiting his girlfriend's family in Oklahoma, Lane was  shot by three teens- age 15, 16, and 17- who reported being bored and choosing to kill someone as the remedy. As my mother often said "boredom is for boring people." Without going through a round of Average Bro's Black, White, or Other (usually reserved for more flippant grievances, and not heartless murders), it's been disclosed that Lane was a white Australian, and that two of the teens were black, while the third was white. Races were not initially disclosed and several conservative pundits are calling out the "liberal" media for this omission.

Race should be included in coverage when it adds dimension to the story and serves as a motivating factor to the actions that were taken.  This call for race to be included lead to incorrect reporting that included implicating a teen who was not involved in the murder. At this point, we appear to have foolish- nay stupid- and morally bankrupt teenagers, but not necessarily anti-white youth looking to take down members of a specific group.  A Huffington Post article on this story explains the race related coverage of this story and links to both a Poynter story on race in media coverage and NYTimes that outline policies on referring to race and religion in reporting.  That explains why race was not initially included in the coverage.  If information begins to point to these teens having racial motivations or if there is a story looking at race trends, then at that point race becomes a necessary factor in the reporting.

This whole issue of race and murders and the media is a messy one. In the aftermath of the nation stirring Trayvon Martin trial,  the "I Am Trayvon Martin" meme and uniting motto that's been used for over a year needs to be clarified and stopped. There are plenty of Trayvons, but some people are Shaaliver Dousse or  to a lesser extent Kimani Gray. The sense that anyone turns a blind eye to the senseless violence within the black community and committed by black perpetrators is ludicrous. After all, how do these stories move beyond the communities in which they occur? It is safe to assume that most people who reference the crime rate in Chicago learned about it through a media outlet. It is foolhardy to dismiss the safe street initiatives that occur in communities throughout  the country. It can also be noted, that these acts of violence tend to happen with guns, and while there are other methods of maiming and harming (London stabbings?), these acts could be reduced with reduced access to guns.

(Wait, which faction of the media is against gun laws? Oh. Never mind.)

I mean, it was documented on Good News. >You don't think they came up with this idea?

Christopher Lane is not Trayvon Martin. His death is not part of a centuries old conflict between white law enforcement (appointed or not) and blacks in America. Lane's unfortunate death is part of a legacy of people behaving badly, the inability of youth to use their moral compass, the bad effects of violence portrayed in the media, and an inability to have proper gun control laws passed. From the coverage provided so far, there is no lurking motivator beyond stupidity. This is not to say non-white groups cannot use race as a motivating factor in committing their crimes. Rather, it's a call to not dismiss hate crimes by pointing at other troubling issues.

Australia has taken its own position in lambasting America as a nation full of murders and crimes - an understandable sentiment in light of this case, but not a reason that will really sway tourists and businessmen. America's culture is fraught with several negative attributes, but overall there seems to be dimsay at Christopher Lane's killing.

Christopher Lane,
            May your family, girlfriend, and friends grieve in this time of loss, and continue to cherish your spirit. May your spirit be allowed to rest in peace and not be co-opted by those trying to make a statement where there is none.  If anything, may your death lead to enlightenment throughout America about the natures of our crimes and solutions, rather than inane discussions and annoyed blog posts.



Popular Posts