I've followed the sad story of Australian jogger Christopher Lane who was gunned down by three "bored teens" in Oklahoma a few days ago. His girlfriend is left heartbroken, his country understandably outraged. The Deputy Prime Minister of Australia has called for a boycott of the US.
"It is another example of murder mayhem on Main Street," former Australian deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer told CNN's Piers Morgan.
"People thinking of going to the USA for business or tourists trips should think carefully about it given the statistical fact you are 15 times more likely to be shot dead in the USA than in Australia per capita per million people."
To be fair, as pointed out by Joyce Lee Malcom in the Wall Street Journal, Australia's crime rate was lower than that of the UK or US prior to a gun ban, thus claiming that the gun ban is responsible is disingenuous at best. However, Malcom notes:
In 2008, the Australian Institute of Criminology reported a decrease of 9% in homicides and a one-third decrease in armed robbery since the 1990s, but an increase of over 40% in assaults and 20% in sexual assaults.
One could say "beware of Australia, where rape and assault is on the rise."
Back to the point: The problem with what happened in Oklahoma isn't racism -- and I say this even in spite of suspect James Edwards's racially-charged Tweets. Many on my side are understandably pointing out the blatant hypocrisy of the left who claimed that a Hispanic shooting and killing a black teen was racism but black teens (three, one white but charged as an accessory) killing a white jogger is not. Jesse Jackson called Florida the "Selma of our time" but only "frowned upon" Lane's death. Some called into my program today saying that it's a "hate crime." It's a crime, all right, but hate is hate, period. Blaming racism is a cop out. It's the easy route chosen by those either too lazy or too scared to talk about the real cause of these tragedies: the complete breakdown of the family and the absolute lack of respect for life. Racism is taught. Hate is taught. Who is teaching this? Who is managing the influences around these teens's lives?
Good parenting would have resulted in a better upbringing where Edwards doesn't hate based on skin color. Good upbringing would have resulted in a teenager who doesn't illegally possess a firearm and brag about it on social media, good upbringing teaches a respect for life. I saw photos of the suspects's parents crying as their children were arraigned. Where were these tears in the years leading up to this tragedy? Engaged parents who teach their children to respect life don't wind up with children who kill due to "boredom." A good kid doesn't pick up a gun and instantly transform into a killer. Engaged parents don't have kids posting photos of themselves smoking pot and posing with guns.
Johnson’s son said that he knew Edwards and Luna through school and said that the boys were ‘bullies’ and ‘troublemakers’ who had ‘no parental supervision’.
In every response to criticism, the suspects's parents have an excuse. Always excuses. Their kids are always the best and it's the world out to get them that made them bad. I'm a single mother, I can't manage my child. I've heard those excuses before for bad behavior. I've seen them made in my own family. Pardon my frankness, but it's total bullshit. I've explained before that I was raised by a single mother who worked three jobs. I had some private hell in my young life and had so many opportunities, so many invitations to take the wrong path. It would have been so easy. It would have been easier for my mother to allow for it to happen -- yet she remained engaged and kept a firm grip on my reins. For all of the talk of "girl power," it's amazing how certain ideologies will, without a word, insult our single mothers by expecting they'll do no better than to raise up thugs. For all of the talk of "empowerment," it's amazing how we talk of empowering young men to do everything but take responsibility for the lives they create (Bro-Choice, anyone?) and stay involved.
Many others have stories similar to mine, so no, I don't buy the excuses. Teaching respect for one's self, family, and other lives around them is so cheap, it's free. No one has any excuse to lack such virtues. These teenagers also bear responsibility for their actions. Where you start in life doesn't dictate your direction and there exist too many examples in this country -- especially in the White House -- to say otherwise. It's another excuse. It's a tragedy that Lane lost his life and it's a tragedy that his young killers have chosen to throw away theirs by taking his.
The problem isn't guns, either. Growing up, my mother kept a pistol in the house for self defense. My family in the south had gun cabinets stocked full of rifles. They would have beaten me within an inch of my life had I ever played with them, much less posed with them and posted the photos and videos online as bragging rights. I was taught to respect life. My acquaintances were taught to respect life. I meet and talk with law-abiding gun owners every day who were taught to respect life and teach their kids to do the same. This idea that 'because criminals will have guns, innocents must not' is ridiculously backwards logic. In using this argument, anti-Second Amendment advocates freely admit that criminals will always have guns, regardless of the laws, enforced or not. Somehow rendering their innocent targets easier pickings by way of disarmament via incrementalism does what exactly, to illegal firearm possession by criminals? Nothing. It does what, exactly, to individuals who may not have a prior record, but want to shoot people? If a perp want to commit the capital offense of murder, do you think they'll be deterred by the minor-in-comparison offense of violating a gun-free zone? This is like flat earth logic. Illegal possession of a firearm shouldn't negate the lawful possession of a firearm. People will kill because they want to, regardless the instrument.
Changing a variable doesn't eliminate desire. "Bored teens," regardless of race, have been killing, or attempting to kill, without guns for awhile, anyway. (Note the teens in question are too young to legally purchase firearms.) Engaged parents recognize bad behavioral patterns. We live in a society where the quest to grow dependency of future generations on government has created a lawless, unaccountable mindset. I realize that we also now live in a society where expecting individuals to take responsibility for their own free will choices is politically incorrect and you don't tell other people how to raise their children -- despite the "it takes a village" mantra, which apparently only applies to money -- but the time is long past due. No one is preventing anyone from parenting well except the parents themselves and our kids are suffering for it, and they're making other people suffer even worse.
People who focus more on feeling offended over the absence of political correctness than fixing the problem are part of the problem. Stop making excuses, stop sweeping problems under the rug with a stroke of identity politics, just stop.