Oklahoma gov.: Would be 'nice' if Obama spoke on 'thrill kill' murder
POSTED: Sunday, August 25, 2013 - 12:52pm
UPDATED: Sunday, August 25, 2013 - 5:13pm
(CNN) — Oklahoma's Republican governor said Sunday it would be fitting for President Barack Obama to speak out on the murder of Christopher Lane, the Australian college student who was gunned down in a murder that police say was motivated only by boredom.
"I think it would be a nice gesture for him to do that, particularly since the country of Australia has expressed their sentiments as to the murder itself," Gov. Mary Fallin said on "Fox News Sunday," adding she herself was planning to telephone Lane's parents when time differences between the United States and Australia allowed.
Lane, a 23-year-old baseball player who was studying in the United States, was shot last week while out jogging in Duncan, Oklahoma. Three teens were subsequently charged in his death, and police said the only apparent motive for the young men was having nothing else to do.
Police in Duncan charged 15-year-old James Edwards Jr. and Chancey Luna, 16, as adults with first-degree felony murder, and Michael Jones, 17, with accessory charges.
The response among Australians to the muder was shock and, for some, sharp repudiation of American gun laws.
"It is another example of murder, mayhem on Main Street," Australian former Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer told CNN's Piers Morgan last week. "People thinking of going to the U.S.A. on business or tourist trips should think carefully about it, given the statistical fact you are 15 times more likely to be shot dead in the U.S.A. than in Australia per capita, per million people."
But Fallin said the case didn't reflect problems with American laws.
"I don't think this issue is about gun control. It's an issue about murder," she said. "It's unfortunate that Australia feels that way. The United States has been a great friend to Australia. I certainly understand there are some raw feelings out there."
The case, for some, has triggered a debate with racial overtones. Parallels have been drawn to the Trayvon Martin case, in which an unarmed black teen was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer who claimed self-defense. The acquittal of George Zimmerman, who describes himself as Hispanic, infuriated many people and triggered protests around the country, as well as remarks from Obama.
The police affidavit in the Oklahoma killing lists Edwards and Chancey as black, and Jones as white.
Now, some Americans are asking why this killing, in which the victim was white and the alleged killers black, has not brought reaction from the president.
At the White House, spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday he was not familiar with the case. When asked why the president had not weighed in on it, he noted that when Obama spoke of the Trayvon Martin case, he also spoke in general terms "about the impact of violence in communities all across the country."