Most people now know about the tragic “joy killing” of 22-year-old Australian baseball player Christopher Lane. Lane was out running in an upscale neighborhood in Duncan, Oklahoma when he was shot once in the back by three teens passing by in a car. He died on the scene. When questioned as to the motive one of the boys stated that they did it for, ”the fun of it.”.
No one will say that this was not a horrific crime. To think that there were three boys, aged 17, 16 and 15 riding around in a car carrying a loaded gun and so bored that they thought it might be fun to shoot a man running along the road is incomprehensible. No one is going to ask why are they being tried as adults, in the case of the younger two and in the case of the 17-year-old as a juvenile in an adult court, they committed the big boy crime, let them do the big boy time.
It appears that they were from good families and only one appears to have had previous brushes with the law. Two of them were athletes and had aspirations to advance an athletic career, but one moment of stupidity and callousness has put an end to all that.
That the far right would grab onto this and run with it is not a surprise, and as always they have not let us down. Last night on Faux News, Neil Cavuto hosted La. State Senator, Republican Elbert Guillory who asserted that he thinks that what causes this sort of thing is welfare and video games.
There is very little information to be found on the background and families of the three killers, so it is impossible to say that they were not receiving government assistance, but at the same time there is nothing to indicate that they are. Jennifer Luna one of the boy’s mothers has said that her son loved to play basketball and on his Xbox but no other information is immediately available to speak to the video gaming habits of any of them.
What if there was factual data to back up the theory that they were avid gamers and that all three came from families collecting welfare though? What would that prove? There is, after all, a big difference between correlation and causation. There just is no reliable evidence that either welfare or video games lead to violent anti social behavior.
There are something like 70 million Xbox 360s in the country, few are being played by one person alone and the vast majority of them are being played by males in their teens. If playing these video games was fueling violence in the streets as the detractors claim wouldn’t it be getting worse all the time? Instead for many years now violent crime has been on the decline. It is easy to perceive the violence as becoming more prevalent when you have mass shootings like Aurora, Colorado or Newtown CT, but the statistics have shown for some time now that the trend is actually down.
Likewise, there is no evidence to show that receiving government benefits leads to more criminal activity. These guys are just trotting out the “usual suspects.” With them it is always the poor and the disadvantaged who are the cause of everything undesirable in this country.
Of course it’s justifiable to be upset over the senselessness of this horrific crime and the loss of a human being. At the same time though, it is wrong to use it to demonize innocent people who have nothing to do with it or an entire entertainment industry because some have a crackpot idea that they are contributing to a “growing” problem that is, in fact, not growing at all.
Watch the video, courtesy of Media Matters: