Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | May 12, 2020

The Shooting of Ahmaud Arbery


Ahmaud Arbery left his home for the last time on Sunday, February 23, never to return. Arbery, a 25 year-old black man was out for a jog just outside the port city of Brunswick when he was confronted by Gregory McMichael and his son Travis.

The father and son pursued Arbery because they suspected he was responsible for recent burglaries in the area, although police records indicate that only one burglary had taken place.

McMichael and his son followed Arbery in their pick-up truck in an attempt to make a citizen’s arrest. The 34 year-old Travis confronted Arbery, a scuffle broke out, followed by three shotgun blasts that ended Arbery’s life.

The case remained stagnant and did not get much attention outside of Brunswick for almost two months. McMichael and his son remained free throughout that period. Two district attorneys described the actions of the father and son as perfectly legal.

And then, a 36-second video emerged last week that thrust the case into the national spotlight, emboldened calls for justice, and resulted in the arrest of McMichael and his son on charges of aggravated assault and murder.

Tom Durden, the district attorney for the Atlantic Judicial Circuit, will present the case to a grand jury as soon as shelter-in-place restrictions are lifted and a grand jury can be empaneled. The grand jury will listen to the evidence and then decide whether charges against McMichael and his son are merited.

In the meantime, Arbery’s family grieves what many regard as a senseless death. The McMichael men have their own supporters who applaud them for protecting their neighborhood. And a young man will live on only in the memories of family, friends, and those outraged by the events that robbed him of his life. No winners!

Bad things happen when we fail to see others clearly.

The Gospel of Mark (8:22-26) records an occasion when Jesus healed a blind man. He laid hands on him and then asked the man if he could see anything. The man replied that he could see men, but they looked like trees walking about — an indication that his sight was blurry. Jesus laid His hands on the man’s eyes a second time and, as a result, the man could see everything clearly.

Jesus could have healed the blind man with one touch but instead chose to heal him in two stages — perhaps a reminder that insight often comes slowly.

McMichael and his son failed to see Arbery clearly and consequently, perhaps unwittingly, robbed him of his life. Arbery was unarmed and posed no threat. Had they waited on law enforcement officials the story likely would have had a different outcome.

As a former law enforcement officer, the elder McMichael should have known that in any confrontation there is always the potential for things to go wrong. In this case they did and a young man is dead and McMichael and his son are behind bars.

It is now up to a grand jury to decide where things go from here.

When we fail to see others clearly we are in danger of acting on assumptions that may be wrong and may result in harming others. The events surrounding Arbery’s death have reminded me that I need to ask the Lord daily to touch my eyes a second time lest I fail to see people clearly.

I hope you will join me in praying for the family of Ahmaud Arbery and the McMichael family as well. And let’s pray that the grand jury will see things clearly and that justice will do her work.


Responses

  1. Great message for us all. Thank you for this reminder to see people through the correct lens.

  2. Your blog today is a perfect reminder for all of us to take a second look and make sure we are seeing clearly. I remember one time I had to testify in court and I explained to the court, that many times in life things can appear one way, and in the end that is not the way things were at all. This situation is so sad for the fact, that it cost someone their life.

    Thank you, Omar I always appreciate the lessons from your blogs!

    • Thank you, Cindie, for your good words.

      • Omar,
        Thanks for sharing, we need to see things clearly and that fact is only Jesus can make that possible for us.

        Grace and Peace,
        Pastor Bryant Lee
        The HEC

      • Amen, Bryan. The world would indeed be much safer if we all looked at others through Jesus’ eyes.

  3. Well said!


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