Let’s consider this scenario. A white woman goes for a run. She’s training for a marathon, so her daily runs have gotten longer, so for a couple weeks, she’s been running through a neighborhood a couple miles away from hers to get the extra training miles in.
A father and son have been sitting on their porch, hanging out, chatting, occasionally cleaning their guns, and have noticed her in the neighborhood. They’re a little suspicious. They don’t recognize her. And she’s back again. They start following her, they heard that their neighbor’s house was vandalized last week, maybe it was this chick. They take the guns they were cleaning as they get in the car. You never know if someone is armed.
They drive up behind the running woman and slow to a crawl, she looks over her shoulder and speeds up. Well, that’s suspicious. They pull up alongside her, shotgun in hand, and shout out the window to her to stop running. They want to talk to her. She glances over and just runs faster.
They can’t let her get away. She might have vandalized the Smiths’ house.
As she crosses the street, they speed up and cut her off. The son jumps out of the front seat with his shotgun, yelling at her to stop, demanding she answer his questions. He runs toward her aiming the shotgun. He shoots. Can’t tell why, maybe to scare her, maybe to stop her. She pushes him away. But he persists. She tries to get the shotgun away from him and he pulls the trigger a second time. Blood spatters from her hand that he just blew away.
She looks terrified. Like she knows what’s next. She wildly punches at him and tries to pull the gun away from him in her last desperate attempt to save her life. He pulls the trigger again. She stumbles back, blood seeping out from her chest, and falls to the ground. The son’s dad runs up and turns her over. There’s blood everywhere. She’s dead.
He stands up over her body next to his son. They start to notice neighbors are watching. And there they are: two black men standing over the body of a dead white woman.
What would you think? What would happen next? What should happen next?
Because that happened. It happened to a young black man named Ahmaud Arbery. Only, the two men standing over his body were white.
I’m so angry. I want justice for this young man. And I don’t have any ability to do anything about that. To make a prosecutor do the right thing—which is to arrest and prosecute the perpetrator/s.
But I do have my voice and my privilege. I’m very aware of the gift of both. And I will raise my voice and throw my white lady privilege behind the cause of justice because this murder breaks my heart. And I truly hope it breaks yours, too.
This is not okay. It needs to stop.
We wonder why bad things happen. We’re good people, we think. No, we are people who tell ourselves that we’re good people and allow injustice to flourish. It must end.
I’m a conservative. I’ve worked for multiple Republican office holders. I’m a strict constructionalist. I believe deeply in the Constitution and our constitutional rights as a citizenry. I believe in the 2nd amendment.
If you are those things, if you believe in the constitution, then you should also want these murderers brought to justice. Injustice, especially injustice perpetrated by systems of justice, undermines the rule of law.
We are a nation of laws. And we allow the justice system to deal with criminals. We don’t shoot people in the street.
If you suspect someone of a crime, call the police (for the record, it seems pretty clear there was no crime that took place, other than Ahmaud’s murder). Don’t chase the person down with a deadly weapon. Of course, Ahmaud ran away. This father and son had no legal right or authority to stop him, they are NOT the police, and they were brandishing multiple guns.
If someone is driving a car after me waving a gun and telling me to stop, I’m trying to get away as fast as possible. If they physically try to block me from leaving, I’m defending myself, I’m fighting for my life. Which it turns out is exactly what Ahmaud was doing, and he lost that fight.
This father and son decided Ahmaud was bad or had done something bad, that’s clear from their statements to police, they believed he robbed several houses (even though there was only one reported robbery in the neighborhood all year). So they got together a cadre of guns and went to confront him. They didn’t call the police first. Instead, they made themselves judge, jury, and ultimately, executioner. And then the dad, who is very familiar with the criminal justice system as a retired district attorney’s office investigator, made up the most plausible explanation to tell law enforcement.
This is insanity. Only made worse by the decision not to arrest and prosecute. Maybe they didn’t intend for it to end this way, I certainly hope that’s the case. But the reality is, they took Ahmaud’s life.
I am also a Christ follower. I love and fear God. I read the Bible.
If you are also those things, then you know God’s expectation that we seek justice for the oppressed.
And you, too, should hear Ahmaud’s blood cry out from the ground for justice.
*Photo taken from publicly available sources. Please contact me if it should be taken down.