But even if he were the complete opposite (let’s suppose just for the sake of argument), that is no grounds to be chased down and shot by private citizens. There is no, under any Christian vision of justice, situation in which the mob murder of a person can be morally right. Those who claim to have a high view of Romans 13 responsibilities of the state to “wield the sword” against evildoers ought to be the first to see that vigilante justice is the repudiation not just of constitutional due process but of the Bible itself. And, of course, the Bible tells us, from the beginning, that murder is not just an assault on the person killed but on the God whose image he or she bears.

Sadly, though, many black and brown Christians have seen much of this, not just in history but in flashes of threats of violence in their own lives. And some white Christians avert their eyes—even in cases of clear injustice—for fear of being labeled “Marxists” or “social justice warriors” by the same sort of forces of intimidation that wielded the same arguments against those who questioned the state-sponsored authoritarianism and terror of Jim Crow. And so, they turn their eyes.

Now, again, these two men will get their due process, and their day in court. But ought we not to grieve for the family of this young man who is dead at just a quarter-century of life?