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Scoot Blog: 3 Oklahoma teens - boredom or thrill kill?

Last night’s blog focused on the one thing that stood out most in my mind about the senseless murder of a young athlete in Oklahoma by three teenagers – the teenagers were ‘bored.’ 

Today, the news was filled with stories addressing this absurd excuse for murder. The most surprising reaction on this aspect of the crime comes from Dr. Keith Ablow, who is a FOX News contributor.  His opinion piece today on the FOXNews.com website is titled: “‘Boredom’ was not the reason behind Chris Lane’s murder.”  (Click HERE to read the piece.)

Dr. Ablow usually presents conservative-leaning opinions about the psychological reasons behind negative behavior and crimes that dominate our news.  That’s why Dr. Ablow’s opinion on the three teenagers who murdered Christopher Lane was shocking.

The statement that the murder was the result of boredom “is devoid of humanity and so headline-ready that the media seized upon it as a literal and complete explanation for why these three accused killers acted so inhumanely,” wrote Dr. Ablow.  There seemed to be overwhelming sympathy for James Edwards, Chauncey Luna and Michael Jones, the three teens accused of the murder, from Dr. Ablow.  He said that the victim, Christopher Lane, was a symbol of the humanity the teenagers had lost in life.  “They could not perceive the suffering of Lane during his death, nor of his family members after this death.  They had lost that singular, defining human quality called empathy,” said Ablow.

Other reasons Dr. Ablow gave for the kill-for-fun mentality include “traumatic life events, perhaps coupled with head trauma, drug use and disordered brain chemistry from birth” which led to a separation from their thoughts and feelings.

In an article on NBCNews.com, juvenile homicide expert and author of the book, “Inside the Mind of a Teen Killer,” Phil Chalmers said, “I don’t think (boredom) was an excuse. I think they are being honest about being bored.” Chalmers believes it was a ‘thrill kill’ by young people who wanted to experience the “act of murder.”

It could easily be argued that any person who commits the random murder of an individual they don’t know and that did nothing to them, is not mentally stable, but is there any reason not to hold that person criminally responsible for committing a murder?

From a psychiatric perspective, I can understand the scientific reasoning of Dr. Ablow, but no one should be quick to jump to any conclusions that the teen suspects are out-of-touch with reality.  I would think that if there is recognition of the state of being ‘bored,’ then there is strong evidence of sanity.  Otherwise, how would you know you were bored?  Is that not an understanding of one’s state of mind?

Though tragic, deaths that result from shootings where there is conflict are, at least, somewhat understandable.  But the case of the three teenagers randomly killing a young man because they had nothing else to do presents society with a chilling question to be answered – How do we recognize those young people who have a desire to kill just to enjoy the experience of killing?

We are most frightened by the things that extend beyond our sane, rational thinking.  With cold, callous killings in the news every day, one can’t help but think that these three teenagers in Oklahoma are not alone!

And if there are young people in America who will fight boredom by experiencing the act of murder, then we should do a better job of figuring out why that is reality.  It’s easy to blame violent video games or rap music, but aren’t those convenient excuses for a failure of some parents?

Tags :  
Topics : Law_Crime
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Locations : Oklahoma
People : Chauncey LunaChris LaneChristopher LaneJames EdwardsKeith AblowMichael JonesPhil Chalmers

08/22/2013 7:04PM
Scoot Blog: 3 Oklahoma teens - boredom or thrill kill?
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