Trying to make sense of the senseless murder of Christopher Lane, the college baseball player from Australia who was gunned down because his alleged killers may have been bored or were participating in a gang initiation, an editor for SB Nation wrote that Lane’s death was more typical of “historic experience” of the American immigrant than society likes to acknowledge.
Steven Goldman, the baseball editor for the SB Nation sports site, wrote that, “at first glance, this is not a baseball story, but a crime story, or even a story of immigration and disillusionment: a young man on a far-away continent learns to love baseball and travels across the ocean to the land of the game’s birth.”
“For following his dream, he ultimately receives neither the thrill of the grass nor the adulation of crowds, but death,” Goldman writes. “And not just any death, but a death of the most capricious and callous kind, without meaning or justification.”
Then, Goldman tries to make the argument that Lane’s senseless murder is reflective of the historic experience of American immigrants:
In this sense, Lane’s story is more typical of the historic experience of the American immigrant than we would like to acknowledge. For all our celebration of the melting pot, new arrivals to these shores from the mid-19th to early 20th century found a country lacking the infrastructure or the interest in dealing with them, and so arranged to cram them into Lower East Side in Manhattan where they crowded into airless rooms, became tubercular, and died in appalling numbers. As journalist Edward Robb Ellis wrote, “The section of Manhattan bounded by the East River, East Fourteenth Street, Third Avenue, the Bowery, and Catherine Street was probably the most densely populated area in the world. New York’s poor lived under worse conditions and paid more rent than the inhabitants of any other big city on earth.” There were tens of thousands of homeless children.
He then quotes lyrics from “Dirty Boulevard” that do not paint the country in a good light:
‘Give me your hungry, your tired, your poor, I’ll piss on em’ /
That’s what the Statue of Bigotry says /
‘Your poor huddled masses /
Let’s club ‘em to death and get it over with /
and just dump ‘em on the boulevard.’
After pontificating about how baseball is a microcosm of American society, he then writes that Lane came to America to play baseball and “sought the quintessential American experience. Sadly, his information was out of date. He got the American experience, all right, the new national pastime. It’s the game where someone else’s whim becomes your fatal bad luck. That’s the way we like it.”
From initial reports, it is unlikely the teens even knew Lane was an immigrant. Lane came to America, met his girlfriend, and they were reportedly on their way to getting married after both graduated from college. He was visiting his girlfriend’s parents in Duncan, Oklahoma and was reportedly shot while jogging because his alleged killers were “bored.”