“We were bored and didn’t have anything to do so we decided to kill somebody.” — what one of three teen suspects in a thrill kill told police in Oklahoma.
You or I could have been Christopher Lane.
The 22-year-old was simply jogging down the street when a carload of teens who told police they were bored shot Lane in the back killing him for “the fun f it.”
The cold-blooded thrill kill on the streets of Duncan in Oklahoma should have sparked outrage. Instead it is being treated as a pointless tragedy.
Do we not get angry any more that teens barely out of puberty pursue such callous and wanton behavior that they view the taking of another life on level of playing a video game for entertainment?
There have always been the soulless that walk among us preying on others. Perhaps the reported shooter in this case is one of them. But the spur-of-the-moment aspect with an admission that they did it out of boredom takes it to a level that would unnerve even Truman Capote. Toss in the fact one of the suspects, 15-year-old James Frances Edward Jr. tweeted about “taken (sic) life’s” two days earlier adds a surreal disconnect.
Psychopaths don’t tend to openly tell the world their next move. What happened in Oklahoma is in a league of its own.
And, by the way, this is not Trayvon Martin in reverse.
The heinous and cowardly act comes from a pit of sub-human vile. It’s a thrill kill in the same vein as Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffery Dahlmer, Charles Ng, and countless thousands of their ilk since the dawn of civilization. But even among that pile of toxic waste of human DNA what happened in Duncan is even more unnerving. Social media postings bragging about wanting to kill someone puts it over the top.
It’s a hard for us to accept that there are those among us who kill other humans for the fun of it. But rarely do they boast about their intentions in advance to a worldwide audience nor openly admit afterwards to the depravity of their souls.
Even so, the fear of being a random victim of thrill killers is out-of-portion to the actual odds. What we really should fear are not the animals that kill for fun or out of boredom but the growing lack of compassion for other human life.
If you don’t think that is the case, consider Lathrop High junior Asianya Jones. She did the right thing and broke up a fight between schoolmates last year while others stood around shooting video with their cell phones so they could upload it to YouTube. Jones rightfully was recognized for her actions. But what was unnerving was how something that Jones herself notes is what you should expect people to do attracted media attention from TV stations as far away as Alaska and Tennessee.
There was a time when such action would indeed deserve recognition and mention in the local paper. But now it apparently is becoming so rare it rates widespread attention.
A day doesn’t go by with someone being attacked while bystanders don’t get involved but they have no problem collecting video so they can post it to the Internet as quickly as possible. Perhaps things aren’t as bad as they seem as social media can amplify things a million times more than the attention they deserve.
We can’t obviously turn back the clock. But even if we could, the good old days weren’t all that good. It would be tough to argue that one-on-one interaction hasn’t been steadily declining as technology has made it possible for us to spend less time doing menial things and makes it easy for us to entertain ourselves either solo or in isolation connected by invisible frequencies.
As the world becomes closer we run the risk of being less human.
You can see it in vicious callous and hurtful tweets, postings as well as emails that we send in anger. You can see it with the despicable things that some of us do and then turn around and post it on Facebook to brag about it making the job of law enforcement easier.
And you can see it in repulsive acts such as teen boys bored on a summer afternoon deciding to kill someone to “have fun.”
This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at email@example.com or (209) 249-3519.