Horrible things assail us in the news at every turn like what happened in a quiet church in Charleston, South Carolina, Wednesday night. Our gut reaction is to be shocked, appalled, and outraged at these inhuman acts.

Emotions can break us out of complacency and motivate us to take positive steps in a fight against evil.  The initial emotions flood over us, pumping adrenaline into our system.

At this point, though, we need to take a lesson from the press.  Did I really say that?  Yes.  Even though there appears to be adequate evidence that Dylann Roof was indeed the shooter, reputable journalists refer to him as the “alleged shooter.”

Why?

Because we live in a country that was founded on the idea of due process.  Our founding fathers believed that guilt or innocence should be decided in a court of law after hearing both sides of the story and viewing all the available evidence.

We have to be careful not to let our emotions make decisions that should be made through due process in a court of law.

In the recent past, we’ve seen many high profile people take a definitive stand about someone’s guilt before all the facts have come to light.  Every time they do this, they’re setting themselves up as judge and jury and denigrating our well-established legal system.

While everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion, when leaders take a specific side without a willingness to hear both sides equally, it sets up a lynching mentality in our society.

We don’t have to look far back in our memories to find images of the mobs that terrorized Ferguson and Boston, looting and burning stores and cars.  These are the result of the same kind of emotional reaction lynch mobs in the Old West used to have.  Their minds were made up, even when they hadn’t heard both sides of the story.

Emotions rush in before we can stop them, but after that initial wave, we have to put them aside enough to hear the dispute fairly without a premeditated decision biasing our position.  If not, then we’re not being fair to those involved.

Let’s stop making emotionally charged judgments that exalt ourselves as judge and jury, and let the courts decide who is guilty and who isn’t.

And I charged your judges at that time, “Hear the disputes between your people and judge fairly, whether the case is between two Israelites or between an Israelite and a foreigner residing among you.”  Deuteronomy 1:16 NIV

Click here to view the Fox News video: Deadly Church Shooting Suspect in Custody

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Comments
  1. Dawn V. Cahill says:

    Oh, so true! With all the scandals lately, esp with the Duggars, someone’s got to keep a level head on their shoulder. There’s too much righteous anger in our society.

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    • And it takes nothing away from the victims’ families to let justice run its course. We have to be very cautious about not convicting someone before all the facts are in. Someday we might be the person who needs others to hear all the facts.

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  2. Dawn V. Cahill says:

    Reblogged this on Dawn V. Cahill and commented:
    An interesting perspective on the South Carolina tragedy.

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  3. gracespotts says:

    Hi, I’m following your blog and am really tuned in to your comments. I just got an email that cogito ergo supero (the body of the message equated that with truthification) is now following my blog, http://www.saytothewearyone.blogspot.com. Problem is, the message was linked to WordPress, which I’ve never activated, and I’m on blogger. I’m not a techie, so am not sure how all this happened or what it means. Anyway, go check out my blog and see if you do want to subscribe. Grace Potts

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    • I’m not sure totally how it works Grace since I’m kind of new to WordPress as well. I do want to subscribe and it seemed to indicate on this end that I did, but if it’s not coming through on Blogspot, then perhaps I need to do it manually. (Of course, after WordPress’s current political shenanigan, maybe I need to move to Blogspot as well.) Thanks for letting me know!

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