Christopher Lane, a 22-year-old Australian man attending an Oklahoma college on a baseball scholarship, was shot to death Friday while he was jogging in what police called a random act of violence by three "bored" teenagers who decided to kill someone for the fun of it.
The story is making headlines in Australia, with former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer even calling for a boycott of travel to the U.S. in order to pressure Congress to pass gun control laws. While it is unclear whether the gun used to kill Lane was purchased legally (the murder weapon hasn't yet been found), the fact that three American teenagers would even think of shooting someone out of sheer boredom undoubtedly says some troubling things about our society.
The three boys, ages 15, 16, and 17 and pictured above, are in custody after one of them allegedly confessed to the shooting. Duncan Police Chief Danny Ford said Monday that a frantic woman called 911 after she saw a bleeding man stagger across the road and slump to the ground. Ford said Lane, who was staying with his girlfriend and her family in the small town of 24,000, had jogged past a home where the three boys were staying when the boys decided to follow Lane in a car and shoot him in the back multiple times. He added that the shooting appeared to be completely random.
It is unclear how many times Lane was shot.
The police chief said the 17-year-old confessed the crime to police.
"They saw Christopher go by, and one of them said: `There's our target,'" Ford said. "The boy who has talked to us said: 'We were bored and didn't have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody."
"They followed him in the car to that area, shot him in the back and drove off," Ford said.
The district attorney has filed first-degree murder charges.
Sarah Harper, Lane's girlfriend, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that the couple had just returned to the United States from Australia last week. In Australia, distraught family and friends were left wondering at how and why Lane — who was, by all accounts, an incredibly nice guy — was killed.
Lane's father told media that he has been trying not to think about what could possibly motivate anyone to go out and murder a random stranger, for fear that dwelling on the topic too long would make him go "insane."
This tragic story, however it plays out, certainly highlights one thing: We need gun control laws, and soon. As Fischer — who successfully pushed for stricter gun control laws for Australia in 1996 — said, "I am deeply angry about ... the callous attitude of the three teenagers [but] it's a sign of the proliferation of guns on the ground in the USA. There is a gun for almost every American."
Rest in peace, Christopher Lane.