My heart is heavy today. As I scroll through my Facebook feed I continuously see more and more evidence that the events occurring in Baltimore are somehow tearing our nation in half. Yes, Freddie Gray had a extensive drug record, but does that mean he didn’t deserve the same rights as any other citizen to receive immediate medical attention while in police custody? No. It absolutely does not. This man died in circumstances that could and should have been easily avoided. If it was the only example of this kind of behavior, I might accept it as a heartbreakingly tragic accident. But it’s not. If you sit down and take the time to look for credible sources and facts as opposed to emotionally charged and incredibly subjective news articles, you’ll see the numbers don’t line up. This isn’t anywhere close to being the first incident of its kind, and there is a rap sheet of police brutality in Baltimore that is exponentially longer than any drug offense list I’ve seen posted for the deceased.
On a more personal note, for all the friends, family, and colleagues I see regularly posting about how great our country is, how much they love the Lord, and the importance of living your faith out loud; I am disappointed to see that it’s many of those same people who are pointing to Gray’s flawed past as some sort of validation for what happened to him. As if having numerous drug charges somehow dictates that his life isn’t worth protesting or bringing to light because he is flawed, he’s imperfect. Where is the greatness of a country that works to protect some of its citizens while ignoring the basic civil rights of others? And where is God in that way of thinking? He calls us show love as he has loved us: unconditionally. If Jesus spent his time showing love to those cast down by society, do you not think he’d do the same for Freddie Gray? Or, in this case, do everything he could to at least provide timely medical assistance to a man whose spinal cord was partially severed while in his custody?
I see people march at “Right to Life” rallies to protect the lives of unborn children, and grew up at a school that participated in them. Now I keep finding myself wondering, at what point does that right end? When that child is born of another race? Or is it when that child grows up to be involved in drug trafficking, frequently as a means of survival in world most of us can’t begin to understand? When is a life not worth protecting anymore? I’m not arguing that he did not deserve jail time, or that he didn’t deserve to be in police custody; he did the crime and based on the rules of our nation, he deserved justice. All I’m saying is that he didn’t deserve to die.