Our hearts are broken over the tragic, senseless murder of your native son, Christopher Lane, this past Friday afternoon, August 16, 2013, at 3:00 p.m. in Duncan, Oklahoma. As you know, he was shot in the back and killed by three teenagers while he was jogging down the street from his girlfriend's house. These three young men allegedly shot Chris, a stranger to them, because "they were bored." I beg to differ. These three men shot Chris because they are evil.
Tim Fischer, your former deputy Prime Minister in Australia, has said, "there is deep seated anger at this time" due to this senseless capital crime. Australians need to know there is deep seated anger in all Oklahomans at this time as well. Tim has called for Australians to "boycott" the United States because of this shooting. Your former deputy Prime Minister has gone on our national television shows and blamed the "lack of gun control" for the murder. Though I disagree with Tim, my purpose for writing this post is not to defend our Constitution or our 2nd Amendment. There is a time for such a discussion and I've done it elsewhere. Now is not that time.
The purpose of this post is to give a heartfelt apology to the people of Australia.
(1). I apologize that some of America's young people, including these three teenage boys, have grown desensitized to the sanctity of human life. They choose to live in an imaginary culture that creates an illusion that murder is exciting and fun. From video games that make it a sport to shoot innocent bystanders, to films that romanticize murder and mayhem, to music that honors the violent and the criminal, the culture these boys are familiar with produced within them the ability to laugh at the prospect of killing others.
However, not all of America's young people are like these three men. I would go even further; very, very few young people in Oklahoma are like these three young men. In fact, every weekend I am around hundreds of young people who celebrate life, give of themselves to meet the needs of others, and do their part in making the world a better place. These wonderful young people I know will continue to combat the culture of death that has crept into the entertainment industry, our homes, and our schools. Most Oklahoma young people choose to not live in this imaginary culture that glorifies murder, mayhem and death. Unfortunately, a few who do get the headlines. They should, and they will, be punished.
(2). I apologize that these demons of death have grown up in absent families. From fathers who have abandoned their homes, to mothers who have abdicated their role of giving moral guidance to their sons by completely turning them over to the care of an amoral public school system, these young men who senselessly murdered "for the fun of it" have grown up in families who seem to have shirked their God-given responsibilities of moral training for their children. Some of us believe the mothers and fathers of these boys be should be placed on trial. Western civilization was built on the principle that parents take responsibility for the actions of their underage children. If the state refuses to prosecute the parents, then the state should treat the boys as men, follow the Oklahoma laws of punishment for adults who commit murder, and put the boys to death. Until everyone in America awakens to our moral responsibilities within the home, America will continue to produce a few demons of death.
(3). I apologize that your view of Oklahoma is now tainted by a tragic, senseless murder of Chris Lane. I may not be able to help change your views about Oklahoma, but I'm going to try. I know Australia. I know Oklahoma. I attended the same Oklahoma university Chris attended. I know you love your country of Australia. My wife and I do too! We love the beauty, we love the people, we love the cleanliness, we love the society. I also know you may know little of Oklahoma, so I would like to enlighten you. Our state is filled with wonderful people. The citizens of our state take seriously our responsibility to make the world a better place. We take as much pride in our state as you do your country. When Chris died, a portion of all of us died. You will find very few places where people are more kind, more open, more friendly, and more generous than the state of Oklahoma!
I am unable to get in touch with Chris' family to offer help, so this post serves as an open letter. There are people in my community in Oklahoma (due north of Duncan on Highway 81) who will help Chris' family with expenses associated with Chris' funeral and transportation back to Australia. We Oklahomans hurt over Chris' death as much as Australians.
One of my ancestors lived in London, England. He was pastor of St. Paul's, appointed by King James. His name was John Donne. John became sick himself during an outbreak of the plague. There was a tradition in his day that when a parish member died, the bells of his church would toll the exact number of years that the person had lived. One day, sick in bed, he heard the bells tolling. He tried to get up and find out who it was that had died so he could minister to the family, but his illness prevented him. As the bells continued to toll, he reached for quill and parchment and wrote his Meditation 17.
"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee."Chris Lane's death has diminished all of us in Oklahoma. On behalf of all Oklahomans, I apologize to the people of Australia, and particularly to the family of Chris Lane. Try not to judge an entire state for the senseless actions of three thugs.
The bells are tolling.