Barely two months after the controversial conclusion of the George Zimmerman trial, America is yet again rocked by shocking, senseless killing.
Those who have followed the stories of Christopher Lane and Delbert Belton are surely as disturbed as I am.
What alarms me almost more than the actual murders is the general lack of response from Americans, both ordinary and prominent. Lane was a 22-year-old Australian student living in the U.S. and going to school on a baseball scholarship. Always a lover of the classic American sport, Lane abandoned a promising athletic career in Australia to come to the U.S. While out for a run one night last week, Lane was shot in the back and killed by three teenagers who admittedly committed the crime out of sheer boredom.
Equally sickening was the news of Delbert Belton's brutal murder in Spokane, Wash. last Thursday. Belton, an 88-year-old World War II veteran, was sitting in his car waiting on a friend when two young men savagely attacked him and beat him so viciously that he died shortly after.
While you would think the public response to such despicable crimes would be incredibly vigorous, I have been disappointed thus far. As I listened to the news Monday morning, I heard more discussion about Miley Cyrus's booty-shaking escapade at the VMAs than anything else.
Even though more than a year has passed since the tragic death of Trayvon Martin, we can all easily recall the overwhelming amount of media coverage and national attention the case attracted. Numerous influential people such as Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson publicly demanded justice for Trayvon. The hoodie quickly became a symbol for Trayvon and was worn as a statement by several professional athletes, including the entire Miami Heat team.
President Obama even weighed in on the situation, saying that if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon. Such a powerful demand for justice in the shooting of an unarmed teenager is undeniably necessary. Had it been my brother or friend who was killed that night, I would expect nothing less.
Regardless of race, age, nationality or any other characteristic, murders like these are entirely unacceptable. Americans should be more concerned about the fact that suburban teenagers are driving around gunning people down out of boredom and less concerned with what's happening at the VMAs. Prominent, influential people should be publicly demanding justice and striking up petitions just as they did for Trayvon. Last but certainly not least, the Obama administration should be just as passionate about justice for Lane and Belton as they were for Martin.
The difference with these murders is quite simple: they are not as socially contentious as the Trayvon Martin case. No one is screaming about racial profiling or social injustice, so neither the media nor the general public feel the need to discuss it excessively. It is truly saddening that there is such a lack of appreciation for veterans in this country that one can be beaten to death in a parking lot and it go largely unnoticed, while the accidental death of a teenager can spark so much controversy.
Not only is it unfortunate for us, but also embarrassing on an international level; the former Prime Minister of Australia warned people about traveling to America and stated that our violent gun culture is "corrupting the world."
This statement is extreme, but given the lack of attention in the Lane case I don't blame him for being so hostile. Christopher Lane and Delbert Belton may not look the way President Obama's son would, but these cases certainly deserve just as much attention as the Martin case.
Brutal murder should never go without scrutiny simply because it can't be turned into a statement about race.
Katie Dean is a junior in political science and psychology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.