OCALA, Fla., August 23, 2013 — It seems that every few weeks, there is new youth-related violence that jars the nation.
Too much to mention has come and gone in recent memory, though the point-blank slaying of 13-month-old Antonio Santiago stands out in the worst sort of way. One can hardly forget about the suburban St. Petersburg school bus beating last month.
Now, the horrible story of Chris Lane, an Australian athlete attending college in Oklahoma, is making international headlines. He was fatally shot, apparently at random, while out for a jog. His killers allegedly did this for no other reason than boredom; a heinous search for entertainment.
Today, Lane’s supposed murderers sit behind bars. Not a single one of them is over the age of eighteen.
Over forty years ago, Stanley Kubrick made a film that was so controversial he chose to pull it from release in the United Kingdom. This is not only where the story was set, but the movie itself made.
As most have probably deduced, this film is “A Clockwork Orange”.
The plot is simple enough: A young man and his friends commit brutal crimes in their decaying city and the surrounding countryside, often with the motive of stealing valuables, but sometimes just for the thrill of it. Eventually, this man, Alexander DeLarge, is betrayed in a gangland leadership coup and left for police after a botched robbery turns fatal.
Sentenced to fourteen years in prison, DeLarge, seemingly not rehabilitatable, volunteers for a mind control program designed to render physical offenders harmless. Despite generating much controversy, it works and DeLarge is released amidst media frenzy.
A devastating series of events ultimately lead DeLarge back where he began — with one caveat. He becomes not merely a clever sociopath, but a national celebrity.
To a certain extent, American life imitates this fiction.
Young, violent criminals who likely have a mental predisposition toward brutality are brought to justice and incarcerated; often for shorter periods than nonviolent offenders. They eventually get out of jail, not on the basis of psychological therapy, but the good-faith assumption that these individuals have learned their lesson.
They then overwhelmingly go back to a life of violent crime. As the crime in question grows more severe, their notoriety increases. Eventually, so-called “troubled youths” are famous to the point of public figure status. This, of course, is almost always accompanied by a return to prison, but the damage has long since been done.
Sometimes the “troubled youths” — now indisputably adults — get out again and many times more. All the while, each is able to read his or her name in the morning newspaper and hear it mentioned by a television broadcaster at night.
Maybe the “troubled youths” will be contacted for an exclusive interview. If the details are lurid enough, a book deal with a film option might be on the horizon. What about a reality show or a web series? The possibilities are endless.
We can be certain of one thing: Our country’s culture promotes, if not glorifies, violence. Should said violence be committed by young people, then the doing becomes far more attention-worthy.
Needless to say, this encourages aspiring thugs to commit the most sordid acts of savagery imaginable.
People very much want a coherent explanation for Lane’s death. How on Earth could such a promising fellow have his future taken away by the dreck of society? It simply isn’t fair. There has to be some other reason than randomness — something else was in play, right?
The sad truth is that this needn’t be the case. The most detailed explanation for Lane being killed may be an all-American “Clockwork Orange” and nothing more.
It is true that two of Lane’s alleged murderers made angry Internet postings about the Trayvon Martin shooting’s aftermath. Does this mean that they committed a hate crime rather than a commonplace homicide? Absolutely not. Even if prosecutors somehow prove that race was a motivating factor, who can say that the “Clockwork Orange” lifestyle wasn’t?
The facts, as always, will speak for themselves.
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