Charleston Shows How Far We Really Have Come

Ron Martinelli, Ph.D.

Forensic Criminologist/Law Enforcement Expert

Copyright © June 26, 2015

In the past two weeks, the community of Charleston, SC has experienced an unimaginable tragedy, followed by tremendous challenges. The city with a diverse racial demographic has dealt with the sudden loss of a treasured and respected religious and political community leader, and eight beloved worshipers who were deeply devoted to their God and their community.

Immediately following the heinous murders of their citizens, the city was besieged by hordes of national and international media talking heads, political pundits and racial activists; all with a preset agenda to forward to the rest of the nation.

Overlooking the obvious fact that the Charleston parishioners were brutally and mercilessly murdered by a deranged gunman, the media and racial activists have incorrectly and inappropriately created a false narrative of racism and a need for gun control.

Today’s beautiful service in Charleston, attended by over 6,000 for State Senator and Reverend Clementa Pinckney tells a different story. While the killer hoped to ignite a race war; instead the exact opposite occurred. Citizens of all races and faiths in Charleston came together demonstrating their, support, solidarity and their sense of community.

There were no demonstrations or riots. No businesses were burned. Rather than scapegoating the police, local law enforcement were thanked and appreciated for their efforts in quickly capturing the killer. A white female witness who followed the gunman for over thirty miles, while reporting the murderer’s position to police was credited for her unique bravery.

As I was listening to the funeral today, I was struck by the stark contrasts between the sentiments and attitudes of the people of Charleston, versus the communities of Ferguson and Baltimore whose problems paled in comparison.

Where the family, friends and racial activists of criminal Michael Brown publically called for revenge and violence; the family members of the truly innocent victims of Charleston honored the lives of their deceased loved ones, spoke words of forgiveness and of their faith in God.

Where in Baltimore, angry citizens took to the streets and burned businesses that served their impoverished, drug and murder plagued neighborhoods. The only demonstration in Charleston was one of unity where thousands of the proud city’s multi-racial citizens joined hands and walked across a bridge in support of the victims and their city.

As a behaviorist, I find myself asking why the communities of Charleston, Ferguson and Baltimore are so vastly different in attitude, temperament and lifestyle.

God bless the victims, the families and citizens of Charleston, SC. Their exemplary actions of racial unity, peace and faith in their God prove that we as a multi-racial nation have come much further than the pundits would have us believe.

Ron Martinelli, Ph.D., is an internationally renowned forensic criminologist and law enforcement expert who directs the nation’s only Forensic Death Investigations and Independent Review Team at