Posts Tagged ‘shooting’

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.”


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