Double Standard Seen in White Man’s Murder in Okla. Thrill Kill

By Ben Wolfgang-The Washington Times

Five days after an Australian college student was gunned down by a trio of “bored” Oklahoma teens, the political and social reverberations continue to build across the nation and abroad.

While there’s been disgust and disbelief at the senseless death of Christopher Lane — who was studying in the U.S. on a baseball scholarship and visiting his girlfriend in Duncan, Okla., when he was shot while jogging on Friday — some former lawmakers and pundits say there’s a clear double standard in how President Obama and other political leaders, leading civil rights activists and the media have reacted to the case.

The shooting has sparked a different controversy in Mr. Lane’s native Australia, where much of the outrage has focused on what critics say is the American gun-friendly culture that made the killing possible.

The two teens facing murder charges in connection with the incident, James Francis Edwards Jr., 15, and Chancey Allen Luna, 16, are black. A third teen, 17-year-old Michael Dewayne Jones, who is white, has been charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact.

Contrasts have been drawn with reaction to the February 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, and the subsequent acquittal of former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.

“Three black teens shoot white jogger. Who will [Mr. Obama] identify with this time?” tweeted former Rep. Allen B. West, Florida Republican, echoing sentiments heard across Twitter and elsewhere in recent days by those who argue murders and other violent incidents are covered and discussed differently depending on the skin color of the victim and arrested suspects.

But the facts of the two cases are quite different, and some caution that drawing conclusions this soon — not even a week after Mr. Lane was killed, while 18 months and a racially charged trial have passed since the death of Trayvon Martin — is potentially dangerous.

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