Mohler: The Central Tragedy of this Case Remains—Trayvon Martin Belongs to Us All

I can’t think of too many of Mohler’s articles I would agree with less than this one (though his words justifying the signing of the Manhattan Declaration would be high on that list). Even the parroting of the media’s distortion of the words from the dispatcher “we don’t need you to do that” into an “order” not to follow that was disregarded shows a pretty tenuous grip of the facts.

There are indeed big divides in this country that need answers that can’t be found in a criminal verdict. However, playing fast and loose with the truth will not lead us anywhere near those solutions.

Dave Barnhart

Speaking of the media, this from the article describing the lawsuit Zimmerman has opened against NBC News:

Here’s how NBC News, in a March 27, 2012, broadcast of the “Today” show, abridged the tape of Zimmerman’s comments to a police dispatcher on the evening of Feb. 26, 2012:

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.

The full tape went like this:

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about. Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black.

  • Zimmerman should not have gotten out of his car (but he did)
  • Martin struck Zimmerman
  • Cry out was Zimmerman not Martin (Martin’s Father when questioned by the police indicated the cry out was NOT his son. Later on the stand he said it was his son)
  • Zimmerman defended himself

Back to Mohler. In what way does “Trayvon Martin Belongs to Us All”?

In my local paper (The Minneapolis Star Tribune), we have murders every week: black on black frequently, husbands kill wives, cops (Cold Spring MN recently), workplace violence, etc.

How is Trayvon’s murder worse?

The jury decided he was killed, not murdered. I know that’s what you meant. But your question is a good one. There are tragic losses of life in America every day. Circumstances equally as gut-wrenching. Entire families murdered. Children. Elderly. Innocents. Helpless. The selective national interest in specific cases and disinterest in others illustrates the power the media has over the country. Power to foment incredibly strong emotional reactions to circumstances in which most people have no direct connection.

I grew up in one of the roughest neighborhoods—the south side of Chicago (24th and California). My Mom had to work all day in a factory and my Dad was a truck driver who went to the bar every night after work. There was plenty of crime and violence in our part of town and it was racially diverse. My brother, Jim, and I had to learn to be street smart very quickly. Don’t ever start a fight, but you best be prepared to finish one that you did not choose to begin. Though Zimmerman showed extremely poor judgment in the way he followed Martin and by not immediately identifying himself as the neighborhood watchman, even the defenders of Martin admit that the evidence points to Martin throwing the first punch (perhaps breaking the nose), and the preponderance of the physical evidence points to Martin on top of Zimmerman during the fight. Zimmerman may be guilty of using excessive force, but it certainly was not premeditated murder based on his hatred of blacks. Zimmerman has mentored young black men, took a black girl to the prom, and he himself is a minority—Latino. He understands first hand what discrimination is like. If Zimmerman is a “white Hispanic” (NY Times), then Obama is a white black-man. Martin’s parents have shown incredible strength and reserve during this episode, unlike the race baiting hucksters such as Al Sharpton and MSNBC. The cold hard truth is that 93% of all blacks murdered in this country are murdered by members of their own race. The scenario painted by MSNBC et. al. that whites are out there hunting young black men down is simply not true. At best it is the exception, not the rule. Murder is murder regardless of the victim or the assailant. Two weeks ago 11 black men were murdered in the city of Chicago in one weekend. You hardly heard about it, because it didn’t fit the race-baiting agenda of the left. I live near Detroit. My daughter works in Detroit. We hear of the carnage almost on a daily basis. There is a breakdown in the home, the church, and government. Common grace is being depleted and we are left without a civil society in which one can live with reasonable safety within a sin-cursed world. Mohler’s article has some merit, but it didn’t tell the whole story. His personal experience, however, was very much unlike mine. I was warned regularly by my parents to stay out of trouble while living in a dangerous place and to show respect for my neighbor and particularly for law-officers, most of whom are honorable people simply trying to do their job.

Pastor Mike Harding

I understand Mohler to be saying that this is not the time to point fingers, analyze issues, or quote statistics. Though we may not agree as a nation as to the underlying root issues, we all know there is a problem. Mohler is trying to model an attitude of sympathy and how to avoid de-personalizing the matter- he wants us, as Christians, to see the people themselves- and provide an unspoken reminder that our opportunities to serve will be with those who see this issue differently than we do. We need to be careful not to let our opinions distract from ministry.

I think he’s on to something.

This paragraph I read from Rod Dreher sums up the situation well:

The whole thing is a tragedy. If Zimmerman, whose neighborhood had been plagued by criminals who looked and dressed like Martin, hadn’t confronted Martin, none of this would have happened. If Martin hadn’t overreacted and beaten Zimmerman, none of this would have happened. Now, one man’s life is gone, and another man’s life is ruined. No good can come from this.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Robert Ethan Saylor “belongs to us all”

Down Syndrome Man Died at Hands of Off-Duty Cops Working Mall Security; No Charges Filed

Point of the above

Who will stand up for the Down’s Syndrome boy who died for sneaking into the movie theater?

* Just like he overplayed the Newton school shooting but managed to overlook the Kermit Gosnell case

This isn’t about charging the media, the President, or _______________. I understand Mohler to be modeling a willingness to minister to those whose perspective, concerns, and conclusions on this and related issues might radically differ from our own. There may be a time for politics and analysis, but at this point, I see Mohler modeling a solution to minister across the more general division highlighted by this story more that reasoning through the specifics of the immediate problem. That solution is rooted in compassion, a willingness to serve, and humility. Love seeks not her own. A conclusion you reach on this issue may be the right one, but in the end, parroting it loudly closes the door (or solidifies your own tendency to look at “those people” with contempt and scorn), what really has been gained or accomplished?

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

A smiling 17-year-old boy who had gone to a convenience store to buy a soft drink and a snack was shot to death, and we will never know exactly how or why.

This was a convenient representation of the case for the media, but is not the entire truth. Martin had marijuana in his system at the time he died, had a lot of personal problems and who had apparently missed criminal charges earlier in the year, and may have been getting iced tea to make another illegal intoxicant, called purple drank. Not to mention that he referred to Zimmerman as a ‘cracker’ before anything started.

Al Mohler might be wise to get more information on this case before he starts talking about the smiling, “innocent” victim. The involvement of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton at a minimum necessitates a harder look.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

I’m curious about the way conservative evangelicals have almost uniformly spoken about this from a race angle. I can’t help but think that this is collective “white guilt” talking. We do have problems with racism in our country; we have a horrible past and the church has been a big part of it. But to read this story through racial eyes says a lot more about the people reading it and less about the actual events.

I’m more concerned about a culture of violence that teaches young men to solve conflict through physical force.

[dcbii]… parroting of the media’s distortion of the words from the dispatcher “we don’t need you to do that” into an “order” not to follow that was disregarded shows [Mohler has] a pretty tenuous grip of the facts.

Trayvon Martin was killed, however, not by another African-American young male, but by a man who in a 911 call declared Trayvon was suspicious and out of place and then rejected the police dispatcher’s [request] to stop following him. ~ Dr. Mohler

Does that change it all that much? I use request because the implication of “we don’t need you to do that” is more likely “we’d rather you not” than “go ahead if you have nothing better to do…”

We eschew the freeway and drive through this neighborhood twice a day.

It’s been a problem neighborhood (high crime) for decades going back to the riots in 1967 on Plymouth Avenue. There are still empty lots along this route more than 40 years later!

At the very site of the above map link, we stopped to help a young man who had been beaten and stripped of his overcoat and left in 13 degree weather. At that corner is a funeral home and I believe it is the most prosperous business in that area.

This little boy was murdered close to that site several years ago. It is still unsolved.

When I see these little black kids, I pray for their safety.

Virtually all of the murder and mayhem in this neighborhood is black on black.

All of those things may be true, Jay. I doubt very much that Mohler is unaware of them.

Still, marijuana, personal problems, etc. don’t definitively answer all the uncertainties. They certainly don’t decisively justify everything that took place. However, Mohler nowhere that I can see argues that TM is a completely innocent victim.

The story has highlighted (properly or not) race issues in this country. So, that being the case, an article from a leader like this is not taking the opportunity to explain why this case isn’t really about race. He’s trying to address the problem that this story as brought into prominence- to take ownership of it and be part of the solution.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Last night, “Rachel”, the chief prosecution witness and personal friend of Martin, testified on CNN that after Martin had called Zimmerman a “creepy blank crackar” (spelled with an “a” not an “e”) that Rachel in turn warned Martin to “run, run, run” on account of the fact that Zimmerman may want to “rape” Martin (Rachel’s words). This is stunning news and the first that we have heard of it. We have first hand testimony by a pro-Martin witness that Martin was warned by his friend Rachel about the realistic possibility of Zimmerman being a homosexual and potential rapist of a teenage boy. This could explain why Martin initially threw the first punch and subsequently pinned Zimmerman to the ground and banged Zimmerman’s head on the concrete. Let’s see what the left does with this recent testimony by their star witness. Rachel also testified in the same interview that “Crackar” (Martin’s description of Zimerman) refers to a guy who thinks he is some kind of “police”. At the very least, Martin had an idea that this man was on some kind of patrol.

Pastor Mike Harding