Murder by reason of boredom

Three teenagers in Duncan, Oklahoma, shot and killed a college student from Australia just jogging by.  Why?  Because they were bored.

This happened not in some big city but in a small Oklahoma town of less than 24,000.  Boring, perhaps (speaking as a product of a small Oklahoma town).  But after the jump we see that the teens, aged 15, 16, and 17, were all involved with social media, videos, iPhones, a giant TV, and rap music.  They had lots of stimulation.  So why were they so bored, bored enough to kill?

The fact is, constant stimulation such as our entertainment technology provides INCREASES boredom.  A person gets tired of all this stuff and requires higher and higher levels of stimulation before they can have an effect.  So in this case, they got that thrill of transgression from killing someone.

The ancients considered boredom to be a dangerous spiritual condition–a deadening ungrateful insensitivity to God’s gift of existence–and it has been described as a major spiritual problem of our times.  It doesn’t always lead to murder, of course.  But it can lead to cheating on one’s spouse, abandoning one’s children, substance abuse, and soul-destroying attitudes such as ingratitude, hatred of life, and despair.  If the answer isn’t more stimulation, what’s the solution to this kind of boredom?

From Teen charged with Christopher Lane’s murder admits ‘we were bored’ | Herald Sun:

BORED boys with too much swag and too little to do. The Oklahoma teens thought to have murdered Melbourne man Christopher Lane had a deadly case of both.

They’d compare iPhones, loll about on beds with checked covers, and watch SpongeBob on a giant TV. And, to highlight the hollowness of their lives, they’d film video grabs on their phones and post them on social media, as if it was all very funny. . . .

Wannabe gangsters. Their chain necklaces, their fixation on handguns and $100 bills. Rap music blaring in a car one minute, crass vision of a young girlfriend in one of their houses the next.

Everybody has called the killing senseless. One of the three boys was even reported to have admitted it.

“We were bored,” the authorities said Chancey Luna, 16, admitted to them in his jail cell after he and James were charged with first-degree murder. Luna is alleged to have pulled the trigger. . . .

That the life they took belonged to 22-year-old Lane – in Oklahoma to play baseball and study, as they spotted him jogging past their house last Friday afternoon was chosen at random – makes the evil they are accused of seem all the more appalling.

 

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.


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