HOUSTON, August 23, 2013 — President Obama’s silence on the murder of Chris Lane is the appropriate response of a president to a local criminal matter that has not gone to court. Obama’s quickness to insert himself into high-profile police matters and opine on guilt, innocence and the role of race makes his sudden propriety remarkable, however.
The deputy White House press secretary said on Wednesday that the White House was “unfamiliar with the case.” The rest of the country by then was familiar and becoming more familiar with the case.
On Friday, August 16, 22-year-old Chris Lane was shot and killed in cold blood by teenagers who later told police they killed Lane at random because they “were bored.”
Lane was white, and the two teens charged with first degree murder in his death are black. A third, white teenager, Michael Jones, was charged with aiding and abetting the murderers.
Jones’ race apparently innoculates this incident from racial interpretations, even though James Edwards, one of the killers, had recently tweeted about his hatred of white people and about his pride in beating up five white people. The trio had threatened the life of another young black male for his refusal to join their offshoot of the Crips, a predominantly black gang.
James Johnson, a resident of the same neighborhood as the suspects, says that he is certain that Lane’s killing was part of a gang initiation. Johnson, who knew the suspects for their entire lives, said that the Crips had recently developed a strong presence in Duncan, and that many of the neighborhood kids, including the suspects, were members or wanted to become members.
Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Attorney General Eric Holder and even Obama were some of the loudest advocates for “justice for Trayvon Martin,” a refrain that meant much more than just a trial verdict. This was about justice for all black men. They are all conspicuously silent now.
Around 3:00 p.m. on a breezy Summer afternoon in Duncan, Oklahoma, Lane, an Australian native who was visiting his girlfriend, decided to go for a jog. Edwards, 15, Chauncey Luna, 16, and Jones, 17, drove up behind him and shot him twice in the back with a .22 caliber revolver.
Both bullets pierced Lane’s lungs but did not immediately kill him. The murderers left Lane to die in a road-side ditch, gasping for air. He ultimately died from suffocation at a nearby hospital less than an hour after setting out on that afternoon jog.
Although the teen suspects later admitted to the murder and told the police that they killed Lane out of boredom, there is mounting evidence showing that Lane’s death was actually a gang initiation.
At 7:05 p.m., approximately three hours after Lane died, Johnson was working on his truck in the Immanuel Church parking lot. The parking lot is located directly across the street from the house where Johnson’s teenaged son and ex-wife live.
Johnson suddenly received a frantic phone call from his son, Chris, stating that the suspects had threatened to kill him, were armed and were on their way to his house. Johnson, having noticed the suspects recently turn into the church parking lot, immediately called the police.
Johnson was unaware of the manhunt for the three teens, but police arrived within minutes, and took the subjects into custody. Police found inside the vehicle a shotgun and a .22 caliber revolver.
According to Johnson, the suspects had tried to get his son to join the gang but his son refused. It was this refusal that apparently prompted Edwards to threaten Chris Johnson’s life via Facebook, just hours after killing Lane. Chris Johnson has since been sent away to boarding school for his safety.
Johnson said that he believes the suspects were good kids, but “they don’t have proper fathers in their lives. You can’t be a friend to your son, you got to be the father.”
These comments highlight why Obama should focus a national spotlight on this case. If these lost souls had a father figure, statistics show it is extremely less likely that they would engage in senseless violence.
One of the core issues underlying violence and homicides in this country is the deterioration of the black family. The rise of the welfare state has devastated black families and caused skyrocketing violence in the black community.
Obama is so far unmoved by the destructive impact of welfare policy. His concern is focused on issues that can further divide America and politically benefit the Democrats. He wants a national conversation on race, one in which the Al Sharptons of America do all the talking and the rest of us stay silent.
A more useful national conversation would be about the perils and detrimental effects of centralized government. It would be good for the country and especially the black community, but not for the Democrats. The mainstream media take their direction from the White House, so that part of the Lane story will be widely ignored.
On July 19, 2013, the day after George Zimmerman was declared not guilty, Obama said: “There are very few African American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. There are very few African Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.”
Obama added, “it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.”
Senseless violence is disproportionately perpetuated by young black men. That is another set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away. It explains why when those car doors are locked and those purses are more tightly clutched, black men and women like Jesse Jackson are among those doing the locking and the clutching.
Obama and other black leaders’ refusals to address the destruction of the black family, which has led to a generation of violent, lost souls like Lane’s killers, leaves black and white Americans alike no choice but to continue taking rational steps, like locking their doors, to avoid becoming the next Chris Lane.
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