Radio host Rush Limbaugh injected race into the story on the murder of an Australian college student in Oklahoma and attacked civil rights leaders for not speaking out, even after the violence was condemned by Rev. Jesse Jackson.
On August 21, three Oklahoma teenagers were charged with the murder of Australian college student Christopher Lane in Duncan, Oklahoma. The three teens who have been identified as two black males and one white male claimed, “We were bored and didn't have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody.”
Despite having no evidence that the crime was racially motivated, Rush Limbaugh called the murder “Trayvon Martin in reverse, only worse,” claiming the teenagers “got bored and said, 'Let's go shoot a white guy!'” Limbaugh added that Obama and civil rights leaders “didn't care about Trayvon Martin,” they only wanted to “advance their political agenda,” but this murder doesn't do that:
After the teenagers were formally charged with murder, civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson wrote on Twitter that he was “Praying for the family of Chris Lane”:
After Jackson's tweet, Limbaugh claimed Jackson's statement was only “mildly objecting to something” and added that “whoever tweeted it, I'm not feeling a lot of moral outrage there.” Limbaugh concluded that “at least it's not a smiley face.”
The right-wing media also used the killing of Trayvon Martin to attack civil rights leaders, accusing them of being “race hustlers” who “make a living off inflaming racial tensions.”
UPDATE: Jackson and his organization, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, released a full statement on the “violent shooting.” The August 21 statement spoke of the “black on black violence that disproportionately affects every facet of black life in America” and called on “each of us to a [sic] collectively resist all forms of violence in our society”:
The recent incidents of violence in America most notably the murder of Christopher Lee an aspiring student athlete from Australia in Oklahoma and the attack of a student on a school bus in Florida once again calls each of us to a collectively resist all forms of violence in our society. In particular black on black violence that disproportionately affects every facet of black life in America. These horrific episodes that leave all rationally thinking people appalled and others feeling paralyzed cannot be addressed by our silence and or abdicating our personal responsibility. We urge all persons who believe as we do in the King principle of peace all over the globe to rise to the challenge to pursue and promote peace and its principles. We must learn to live together in peace or we will most assuredly die apart in our own neglect.
America's prisons are bursting at their seams and the injustice in our criminal justice system erodes the faith all should have in a democracy so that all believe and trust that it works for all of its citizens. Countless numbers of youth are caught in the vice of violence that leaves an indelible mark on its victims, communities are terrorized, and many live in urban policed militarized zones. This perpetuates an evolving taste of disgust that can only be quenched by our voices and resources used in a concerted effort to enhance and advance crime prevention in our communities. As we remember Dr. King who likewise was victim of gun violence we must all defend the dream of a free and peaceful America.