Screenshot of the video detailing the death of Ahmaud Arbery.

A Horrible Crime and Tragic Loss of Life

In Front Page by Allen West


I have been a runner for most of my life. I cannot remember a time when running was not part of my life. It started back when I was a high school sophomore and my JV track coach, Coach Winfrey, lived on my street. He would sit with my dad while I ran repeats up Kennesaw Avenue. To finish the workout, I would have to run around the block, down Ponce de Leon, and come back up the  North Avenue hill.

In my life, I have gone running early in the morning, and late at night. I have gone down distant trails and even along the beach at Camp Lejeune early, before anyone was out and about. There has only been one time that I carried a pistol, a small .380, during a run.

So, when I learned of the tragic shooting death of a young black man, a Georgian, Ahmaud Arbery, I was incensed. I felt it was important to not rush to any quick emotional response; to allow details to unfold, and then make the proper assessment. Now, if you have not heard about this case, let me fill you in.

As reported by WTOC:

“A judge officially denied bond for Gregory and Travis McMichael on Friday.

The former law enforcement officer and his son are charged in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery. Both are charged with felony murder and aggravated assault.

Graphic cell phone video led to a national uproar over the case and the fact that no one had been arrested.

Earlier this week, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and the GBI director called the prosecutor on the case and asked if they could help. GBI Director Vic Reynolds said no amount of social media pressure led to the charges.

“None of that matters to the GBI. It doesn’t matter who the person is. It doesn’t matter who the victim is, it doesn’t matter who potential defendants are,” Reynolds said.

The video shows Travis shooting Arbery in the middle of the road in a Brunswick neighborhood in February. In an incident report, Gregory tells police they chased Arbery because they thought he was a burglary suspect. The GBI director says seeing the video disturbed him, adding it’s clearly a big piece of evidence in the case. However, he indicated it’s not the only evidence against the men.

The second prosecutor who recused himself sent a letter to the attorney general in April saying he thought the shooting was self-defense.
He’s also said the McMichaels acted within the law in chasing Arbery. He also accused a “rabble rouser” of drawing attention to this case in March and early April.

The GBI director was asked about that letter and the opposite conclusion his agents came to in just 36 hours.

“Again, I can’t speak on behalf of what anyone else sees or doesn’t see about a case but I will tell you that we base our decisions on two things: one are facts and the other is the law. Whatever the facts are, we apply the law to it. If the law says what the facts are is a felony murder, then we take the warrants for it. I’m very comfortable in telling you there’s more than sufficient probable cause in this case for felony murder,” said Director Vic Reynolds.

Arbery’s family says he was chased and killed for no good reason.”

As a lifelong runner, if someone is trailing me and confronts me, I have every right to defend myself. It is absurd for these two individuals, civilians, to take it upon themselves to “detain” someone, especially one not displaying any criminal behavior, dressed as I would be dressed in running attire.

What is even more disturbing is that it appears there had not been any calls about a suspect on the loose in the neighborhood.

I was not there and not in the mind of the two charged individuals, so I cannot speculate motive. I am not one of these reactionaries who want to immediately cry racism or the need for hate crimes. All I know is this: an innocent young man out for a run was trailed and confronted by two individuals, not law enforcement. This young man was unarmed and was shot, and somehow, all of this was captured, in real-time.

I know that the Glynn County law enforcement punted on this when it should have been immediately investigated and the two individuals detained. Documents show that one of the prosecutors has recused himself.

Yes, I am angry. I am angry because I have been in the same situation, just out for a run. This past December, when visiting my older brother in Albany, Georgia, for Christmas, I was out for an early run, along an abandoned golf course trail. Of course, years of being in the military makes me aware and alert. I haven’t had anyone trail me. I have been fortunate, the worst I have ever experienced were jackasses splashing me with stormwater when I have run in the rain. But to leave your house, lace up your running shoes, and head out to improve and maintain your level of fitness for a nice run, only to be gunned down?

I am pleased that these two individuals are now detained and held without bail. If it is proven that this was premeditated, planned, and executed as cold-blooded murder, I pray these two are given the death penalty, and not with all these appeals, delays, and such. A young American man is dead, for no reason.

Yes, I am angry. I do not care if the runner was white, black, Hispanic, Asian, male or female. As a lifelong runner and a human being, I am angry. Yesterday would have been his 26th birthday, the prime of his life.

We should all be angry. We should all demand justice for Ahmaud Arbery. God be with Him. At least Ahmaud is now running on Heaven’s streets of gold. God’s blessings upon the Arbery family.

Yes, this is FUBAR!

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LTC West is running for Chair of the Republican Party of Texas! To support his efforts, please visit his campaign website!

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