Peace Amid Crime and Police Shootings

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  June 14, 2014

            When violence explodes on our streets and life is lost, it polarizes and shakes our community to the core. As Christians, our prayerful and Godly response to such violence is a hallmark of what makes faith in Jesus Christ so vital to the entire community.
            There is a lot of speculation underway following the fatal police shooting of a known criminal during his attempt to escape and avoid capture. Fortunately, the formal investigation should resolve a lot of rumors, half-truths, outright misinformation, and gossip that is circulating around our community.
            One need only look to the city of Albuquerque to recognize how polarized—and volatile—a community can become when those who break the law and those who enforce the law clash with deadly force. In the days following Monday’s shooting, the seeds of that very divisive chaos have been sewn right here in Carlsbad. It is a reality that deserves prayerful, careful, and authentically Christian action!
            Now is not the time to judge, place blame, or find fault. We must pray for wisdom and insight for the State Police investigators that are looking into the tragic incident. Rushing to conclusions based only on whatever partial information the gossip mills or social media may transmit, and the limited information available for this paper to publish, only adds fuel to an unnecessary fire of anger, fear, and grief. Instead of judgment, the time calls for Christ’s understanding and grace for all involved.
            Consider what his happening right now. A family is grieving the loss of a son. A police officer is coming to terms with the reality of using deadly force. Other individuals are facing loss and injury as a result of the chaos that was unleashed in our community on Monday.
For many, the emotional conflict arising from this incident is very personal. To those who mourn a man’s death, judgment toward that man for his behavior choices come across like an unwanted assault further aggravating grief and loss. To those who commend the police in for protecting us from violent and dangerous criminal behavior, sympathy for those mourning the dead man may seem like a betrayal of their diligent and proud service to Carlsbad. The embattled conflict between offering needed sympathy and passing deserved judgment further drives people into an entrenched sense of fear, mistrust, and anger. Christ calls for bold faith in such times.
Today, let the community of Carlsbad draw together in prayers for genuine peace, reconciliation, and hope. If violence is allowed to divide the people of our fair city, then more violence is all we can anticipate in return. Whether violence is deemed justified or excessive is irrelevant. As people who worship in the name of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, and share in the common factor of our humanity, we must transcend the violence that has shaken our city rather than empower it through our own sense of righteous indignation.
            Let us all lift in prayer everyone involved. From the man who started Monday’s events to the police officers who ended them. Pray for the people who witnessed the danger first hand, the family in grief, the police who made very difficult choices, and the investigators seeking truth. The common thread that runs through all the lives impacted by the events on Monday morning is our shared humanity. Whatever was done right and whatever was done wrong will not change the facts of what has happened. As we remember our shared humanity and lift all the grief and anger before God, our community will heal. More importantly, we will sow seeds of peace rather than seeds of more violence.