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  • Okla. killing fits ‘shared misunderstanding’: Column

    USA Today - 08/22/2013

    The senseless killing of Christopher Lane, a 22-year-old senior attending college in Oklahoma on a baseball scholarship, has sent shock waves around the world, especially in the victim’s homeland of Australia. While out for a run on the afternoon of August 16, Lane was shot in the back during an unprovoked attack.

    It isn’t just the randomness that has Australian officials calling for a nationwide boycott on travel to the United States but also the apparent motive for the assault. Allegedly, the three teens arrested in connection to the crime were bored and seeking something fun to do. Armed with a revolver and with free time, the trio trolled the neighborhood looking for trouble — and they found it.

    Deeper motivation

    Unfortunately, this would hardly be the first time that a group of youngsters has committed awful acts of violence purely for entertainment. But the motivation typically goes deeper than a temporary thrill at the expense of some ill-fated target.

    One of the distinguishing features to juvenile murder is the dominant role of group dynamics. Based on an analysis of FBI data for 2006-11, 35% of homicides implicating a juvenile offender included multiple perpetrators, more than twice as high as the percentage for adults.