Friday, May 1, 2015

Baltimore - A Rush to Judgement?



I wish everyone would shut up for a minute.

But probably not for the reason you think.

    I waited a long time to write anything about the riots in Ferguson, Missouri because I wanted to try to understand the issues.   

    But this time, after watching and listening to media outlets talk about what is happening in Baltimore I don’t want to wait.  I am posting now, not because I think I understand what is happening, but because I am convinced that almost no one does.

Every media outlet, every reporter, every politician, and a great many bystanders have taken sides.

    Just like the Ferguson case, and the Travon Martin case, and so many others, everyone seems to be absolutely certain that they know exactly what is happening and why.

Everyone is rushing to judgement.

    They judge the police.  They judge Freddie Gray.  They judge the mayor.  They judge the President.  They judge the protestors, the rioters (those are vastly different groups), they judge the victims of the violence, and people are even judging the parents of the people in the streets. 

    Christians are often accused of being judgmental, but this is ridiculous.  Everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike seems to think that they know so much about what is happening hundreds of miles away in Baltimore that they can stand in judgement of people they’ve never met and who they know almost nothing about.

I wish everyone would all shut up and listen for a change.

As I watch and listen to the reporting from Baltimore, all I seem to find is more questions.

What exactly happened in police custody that led to the death of Freddie Gray?

Did Mr. Gray really have surgery on his spine only weeks before his arrest?

Did that matter?

Did the mayor tell the police to allow the mayhem to continue when it might have been stopped much earlier?

I could ask questions all day but it seems clear that, so far, there aren’t very many answers.

    And without answers, all the self-proclaimed experts (left, right and center) should slow down their rush to judgement until they actually have some facts.  Right now there are too many things that we just don’t know.   
Instead of rushing to judgement, why don’t we listen instead?

We all want justice.

    But we should be careful to find the facts so that there can be justice for everyone.  There needs to be justice for the police, the demonstrators, the rioters, the politicians, and especially for the victims.
Investigating, finding, and sorting through the facts are all things that will take time.

While we wait, instead of judging everyone, why don’t we do something helpful?

    Why don’t we try to find ways to help those who lost homes, jobs, and businesses?  Can our politicians and academics find ways to reduce poverty and joblessness instead of just pointing fingers at each other?  Why not volunteer with some charity or aid group to clean up and rebuild Baltimore?  We should all take the time to listen and understand people with whom we disagree.

    Instead of pretending that we know exactly what is going on and who is to blame, our time would be better spent trying to fix the problem and help Baltimore heal.  And while we’re doing that, we should talk less and listen more.

Instead of judging, try donating.

And if you are so inclined, I’m sure that everyone involved could use your prayers.






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