Though boredom is rare for me, I have certainly been bored. I have been strikingly bored. Haltingly bored. Even murderously bored. I admit that there have been times when I was so bored, I loaded up my rifle, a spotlight, and got on the 4-wheeler to ramble down in the woods looking for coyotes, armadillos, and feral hogs, singularly purposed with the intention of their murder on my mind, and not a random murder, mind you, but a deliberate, one-shot murder if possible. I have successfully relieved my boredom many times in this manner. I hope none of y’all think I am sick and twisted.
There is no connection between shooting an invasive species of pest out of boredom and the shooting death of a human being. Many are likely to see a connection, but there is none. Only sick and twisted minds declare a search for a random human being to kill just because of boredom. Granted, some strange things are likely to emerge from the minds of teenage males, particularly when engaged in group-think, since there is no basis for the ability to make rational decisions, but what is it that is lacking in their thinking that allows them to come up with the particular decision made by those three teenagers in Denton, Oklahoma, in that the decision was to ride around and seek out a random victim they could shoot in the back? Teenage boys usually find other means to relieve their boredom, those means being much less harmful to other people, though in times past it was believed that those outlets for teenage boredom may have contributed to bad eyesight. How did these three come to this decision?
I can’t help but thinking, and please forgive me, because I have tried my dead-level best to do so, that the denial by authorities of a racial component in the murder of 22-year-old Australian student, Christopher Lane, is meant to prevent any further violence from vigilante types. If the situation were reversed, no matter what the authorities claimed, we would be hearing the worst claims of racism, Jim-Crow, lynchings, and everything else you can imagine from those advocates who make their livings from such terrible events.
Does that mean I am glad the shooters were black? Well, according to the reports, one of the three, the driver, 17 year-old Michael Jones, is white, but the alleged trigger man, 16 year-old Chancey Luna, and his accomplice, 15 year-old James Edwards are black. Does that mean that I am glad the victim was white? I submit that I am very sorry that there were any victims and perpetrators, because this story is about as mean and low-down indictment of human nature as any story I have ever heard. I am just sorry it happened. I am sorry for the victim and his family. I am sorry for the alleged perpetrators and their families. I am sorry that their parents did not know that they were actually not “good kids” as has been reported.
I suppose it is natural that parents rush to defend their children, but I never experienced that as a child. In my childhood, any time I was accused of bad behavior my mother never came to my defense, accusing my accusers of injustices against my angelic self. I was guilty until proven otherwise. It would never have occurred to my mother that others would have lied about me just to get me into trouble. Her first assumption was that I must be guilty. While I was never accused of anything so heinous as murder, I was accused of drinking a stolen Coca-Cola one time (I was guilty) and had to go and pay for it. I was accused of breaking out some windows in an old, abandoned school building one time, this occurring as part of an ill-advised group wherein I was not the ring-leader, but a misguided follower. I threw my share of rocks, enjoying the destruction I was inflicting on someone else’s property. I paid dearly for this.
My mother would be telling me right now, were I one of the three teenagers in Oklahoma, “Son, you are in a lot of trouble, but not nearly so much as you will be when I can get you home.” She would say this whether I was guilty or not. She certainly would not be being quoted on TV as saying I was a good boy. She might say that she was sorry I was in a lot of trouble, and extend her deepest sympathies to the family of the victim.
The former deputy prime-minister of Australia, Tim Fischer, is blaming the incident on the “gun cult” in America, warning Australians to stay away from the USA. I heard it cited in an editorial that blaming this incident on the gun is like blaming the rope in a lynching. I don’t disagree with that analogy. Under Federal law, and the laws of every state, the teenagers were illegally in the possession of a handgun. Perhaps the person to whom the handgun belongs has some culpability. Was it one of the parents of the alleged murderers? We have yet to learn where the handgun came from. I suppose we will find out in due time.
Our constitution gives us the right to bear arms; it was designed to do so on purpose. In European monarchies, and in governments as old as mankind, only the citizens of a certain class were allowed to bear arms, or only those in government service. The people at large were not allowed to keep and bear arms. It should be obvious that the reason for this was that an unarmed populace was a more easily controlled populace. Those feudal knights could have their way with the local peasants, who, though armed with pitchforks and scythes, were not very well prepared to defend themselves against armed and armored thugs hired and supported by the local baron, count, prince, earl, duke, viceroy, king, emperor, etc.
Our second amendment rights are as sacred as our first amendment rights. I would argue that there are those who would defend their first amendment rights at the very cost of their lives while denying that a second amendment even exists. How, then, would they expect to defend their first amendment rights? Bring out the pitchforks and scythes. Oops, that won’t work. The number of people in our vastly populated urban centers who own pitchforks and scythes are precious few. It could be that Mayor Bloomberg is wanting to ban those implements of destruction along with larger than sixteen ounce sodas and sparklers.
Maybe we should make a concerted effort to get rid of everything that might be used to injure ourselves or another person. We could ban the following items and all be much safer: sodas larger than sixteen ounces, transfats, fats, sugar, GMO foods, corporate farms, food additives, food preservatives, bicycles, tricycles, tobacco, patent medicines, prescription medicines, hammers, screw drivers, glass bottles, razor blades, box cutters, pocket knives, butcher knives, steak knives, butter knives, scissors, Bic pens, pencils, rakes, machetes, hoes, pitchforks, spade forks, seed forks, scythes, sickles, shovels, spades, spoons, sledge hammers, axes, hatchets, chainsaws, circular saws, band saws, hand saws, hacksaws, keyhole saws, propane heaters, torches, acetylene, gasoline, kerosene, fertilizers, step ladders, extension ladders, plastic bags, duct tape, concrete, concrete reinforcing steel, steel in general, two by fours, hammer handles, short lengths of large copper wire, steel cables, long bolts, screws, scrap iron, concrete blocks, automobiles, bumper jacks, electricity, hydraulic pistons and rams, trains, planes, 24” through 48” spirit levels, bricks, rocks, any and all varieties of farm implements, and, of course, those dangerous bridges from which distraught and confused people are regularly hurling themselves. Maybe we should ban stagnant water, ponds, lakes and rivers while we are at it. Throw in ultraviolet light, mountains, avalanches, landslides, wildfires, volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, pestilences, plague, mosquitoes, ticks, redbugs, spiders, wasps, bad microbes, venomous snakes, constricting snakes, armadillos, coyotes, and feral hogs, too, please. No, scratch the armadillos, coyotes, and feral hogs . . . their elimination is my job, particularly when I am bored.
Guns, rightfully, should be regulated, and they are. There are gun-free zones all over the country. The City of Chicago is far more gun-regulated than Duncan, Oklahoma, yet in every instance, the crimes committed with a firearm in those places are either illegal themselves, doubly illegal because they were committed with a firearm, or triply illegal because they were committed with an illegal firearm. We regulate yet utterly fail to stop the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine and crack cocaine. Did we expect to be any more successful in stopping murder by whatever means?
There is something rotten in the heart of men that leads them to murder. In the Genesis story, Cain was able to slay his brother Abel without the use of a firearm. He likely used a farm implement, since Cain was a tiller of the soil. Had Cain been able to obtain a high-powered rifle, Able might have preferred it to the death he received. It would seem to me that a bullet is better than being hacked, but either one leads to the same end. Neither Cain or Able is around to tell us which method they might have preferred; we are forced to speculate.
Murder is illegal. Using a firearm in the commission of a crime is illegal. Illegal possession of a handgun is, well, illegal. Discharging a firearm from a public roadway is illegal. Discharging a firearm inside the limits of a municipality is illegal. Conspiracy to commit murder is illegal. How many illegalities do we need to intimidate a potential murderer into displaying good sense and a respect for the law? If we added a couple more, perhaps it would be a deterrent. What do you think? I think not.
If we made handguns illegal and their possession a crime, then we would gain nothing, other than the inability for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves. In the case of Christopher Lane, had he had a dozen legal guns in his possession, it would not have helped him from taking a random shot in the back from some bad, extremely bad, teenagers. They might just have easily run him down with the car they were driving. Maybe we should make roadside jogging illegal, for our own safety, of course…or perhaps being out in a public place. That would do it, perhaps. No, maybe not, since, according to the statistics, we are not even safe in our homes, since most accidents happen at home.
It seems there is no way to be perfectly safe. We live in a dangerous world. Even the Australians know that. Right now, after having written this, I am bored. It is 4:20 in the morning. I am thinking that there might be an armadillo or a feral hog afoot. I’d say they are in great danger if I can so much as catch a glimpse of one. So I am headed out the door to get on the 4-wheeler to see just how many I can kill. In doing so, I will not have broken a single law, though if you could ask my intended victims, they might beg to have the law changed. Fortunately, they cannot speak for themselves, and any human advocacy group that might want to intervene would have no bearing on my behavior. If they tried to stop me on my own private property, they would be committing a crime. Some of them are determined enough that they would be willing to risk jail to do so. By the time they read this and mobilize, I will have returned from my wanton, murderous mission. Hopefully, I will have been successful. Maybe the three teenagers in Duncan, Oklahoma, should think about coyotes and armadillos the next time they get the urge to kill something.
Maybe it is a good thing that country boys who hunt know about firearms and what they can do. They know that when they take aim and pull the rigger, the bullet, set on its ballistic course, does things that cannot be recalled. Only those who spend their time playing video games with artificial guns know that they can push the reset button and start over any time things don’t go as they planned.
I know that we all wish life had a reset button. What would its value be? How much would you pay for one? There is no reset, there is only the ballistics of the bullet speeding towards its destiny. The value of knowing that is nearly as valuable as a reset button. Too bad many don’t have the sense to recognize or the discretion to make use of it. It is a terribly expensive lesson.
I mourn for the victim, with the victim’s family, and for the waste of young lives who made such poor choices. I hope they will be made to bear the responsibility of their actions. Everyone here is paying a terrible price.
I intend to make at least one armadillo pay. It will serve as breakfast for the buzzards, who, after all, must eat, too. They will be thankful, if, indeed, a buzzard is able to be thankful. They sure can be hungry, though, and I am willing to be the cause of the satiation of their hunger.
[Update 8/31/13 – My murderous intentions came to naught. Not a single armadillo, coyote, or feral hog presented itself so that I could kill it. It seems, like all living things, they prefer not getting killed and are wary of me. The buzzards weren’t so lucky. If they were depending on me, then they are famously hungry by now.]
[Further updated 9/1/13: It was pointed out to me by a reader that alleged trigger man Chancey Luna is not actually black, but bi-racial since his mother was white. Is bi-racial the politically correct word? How does Luna define himself, I wonder? And has anyone asked him? Regardless of his racial identity, if guilty, he is a bad egg. Bad eggs come in one awful fragrance – Hydrogen Sulfide. There are white eggs and brown eggs. Then there are bad eggs of either color. Remarkably, eggs look the same on the inside, regardless of their shell color, and bad eggs all carry the same distinctive stink.]