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.

Read the article at USA Today →