Adrienne BoettingerFriday,23 August 2013

The Snap:

He was 22-years old and fulfilling a dream — an Australian student living in America and going to university on a baseball scholarship. Their ages were 15, 16 and 17 and they were nearing the end of their summer vacation in Oklahoma. He was supposed to graduate in May and wanted to work in real estate. They took pictures of themselves with guns and 3 days before they saw him, they tweeted about taking lives. He was out for a run. They were bored so they shot him in the back and killed him.

The Download:

I was scared walking my dog this morning. It was early morning and I live in suburbia with a dog that can look semi-fierce and yet I was scared. Cops live in my neighborhood, with their police cruisers comfortingly close in the parking lot and I haven’t really been scared since my loud and enraged neighbor was foreclosed on after “redecorating” his house by punching a hole in the wall and removing all the furniture except a lawn chair and a bong.

Why was I so frightened? I had just read how Christopher Lane, a 22-year old Australian ballplayer studying abroad in Oklahoma, was gunned down in the neighborhood of his girlfriend’s family at 3pm on a sunny Friday afternoon. Three teens — two black, one white — ended his life because as one of them said, “We were bored and didn’t have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody.”

How do you protect yourself from that? Even if he’d been carrying a gun it wouldn’t have helped; he was shot in the back while running and had no idea that these teens had him in their sights. Bored teenagers are everywhere. You can’t go to a mall in America without tripping over several of them, angst-ridden and lying outside a Hot Topic. I just didn’t think they’d be armed and see killing someone as a way to kill time.

Australia’s former Deputy Prime Minister has suggested that people boycott traveling to the United States until the country starts taking gun violence seriously. He knows of what he speaks; after a crazed gunman took the lives of 35 men, women and children in the town of Port Arthur, Australia banned automatic and semi-automatic weapons. Some of the public wasn’t too happy about this, but Australians turned in 700,000 guns for destruction. Australia has had no mass shootings since then. Australian parents haven’t been as worried that they’d send their children off to school only to have them be killed in their classrooms. Until now and only now if those kids come to school in the United States.

Why was Australia’s response to a tragic mass shooting to find a way to control guns in their country and America’s response to a tragic mass shooting was to buy more guns and recommend turning schools into militarized zones? What will it take for us to realize our way isn’t working?

Take Action!

Hat Tips:

History ChannelThe Kansas City StarCBS NewsPiers MorganNBC NewsWashington Post, Image Credit: Flickr

Subscribe to get updates delivered to your inbox