I have been greatly affected by sad news from Oklahoma today, another case of a victim of gun violence that deserves as much attention and public concern as the more grisly mass slayings we have heard so much about and which still have not produced progress on gun control.
In the latest incident, Australian student Christopher Lane was killed while visiting his girlfriend in Duncan, Oklahoma. The young college baseball player, studying in the United States at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma, was allegedly shot and killed by three juveniles, one of whom confessed to the police saying, "We were bored and didn't have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody."
My friend and former head of the Obama White House's Office of Personnel and Management John Berry was just sworn in as the new U.S. Ambassador to Australia, and I can't imagine a more difficult task than meeting with the parents and family of Christopher Lane and apologizing for the idiocy and delinquency of these young thugs. (The new Ambassador Berry should make it a priority to meet these parents.)
I also happen to love Oklahoma and identify Bartlesville, Oklahoma, as my family home. Bartlesville is in a different quarter of the state than Ada and Duncan -- but still there are too many disengaged youth and too many politicians there who support rampant gun proliferation over any other state priorities. This kind of murder in Oklahoma is not rare, and until the state moves more decidedly toward trying to prioritize building "healthy communities" that shun violence and provide opportunities for youth, the state deserves to be knocked down a few notches in terms of its status as a haven for new job-creating investments. There are a lot of Australian firms in the strategic energy arena -- and it wouldn't surprise me if firms considering Oklahoma decided to move elsewhere.