Attempted Murder – A Mystery in the Heartland

They do not speak peaceably, but devise false accusations against those who live quietly in the land.

  • Psalms 35:20


Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled.  But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest.  He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.

The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death.  But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward.

Finally two came forward and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”

Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?”  But Jesus remained silent.

  • Matthew 26:57-63a



Picture this scenario:  You are in (or at) a dining facility (cafeteria, restaurant, fast food joint, roadside vendor, etc.).  Other people that you know come to join you.  One of these people starts acting strangely.  You don’t know whether to laugh or try to stop them or call for help.  They aren’t hurting themselves, but it looks strange and makes you uncomfortable.  Then the authorities approach and stop the other person.  Then the authorities turn to you and say, “You are under arrest for attempted murder.”  You were just sitting there.  They joined you.  One of them acted strangely.  And you get arrested.  What would you do?


Now let’s take all of the initial actions, but you are in an elementary school cafeteria.  You are nine years old and in the fourth grade.  You are the new kid in school.  The authority figure is your school teacher, with whom you love and trust.  Instead of arresting you or even making this an official incident to be investigated, she punishes you with no recess and you will have to have your parents call her that night.  But, you did nothing.  Now, what do you do?


As a parent of a fourth grader, what do you do?  Of course, you call the teacher.  The teacher says that your son is the best behaved child in her class.  Your son would never do such a thing, but this girl had a plastic bag over her head.  She claimed your son put it there.  One of the boys sitting next to her said that your son did it.  The girl has some emotional problems and her file in the office is getting rather thick, but your son said nothing in his defense.  The teacher wants you to get at the truth and call her back.  Now, what do you do?


This happened to my grandson when we were visiting, before the wedding in Texas.  He came home with a note for my son and his wife to call the teacher.  They did.  It seems that the girl has made statements that she wants to die in the past.  Logan usually carried a plastic lunch box to school, but we were visiting.  The routine was disrupted.  The lunch box was dirty.  Our daughter-in-law grabbed a couple of plastic bags and sent Logan and his little sister to school.  It was Logan’s bag.  It was on her head.  Maybe if the girl wanted to die, Logan was just trying to help?  When the teacher asked for Logan’s side of the story, all he gave her was the thousand mile stare.


I love a good mystery, but not when I’m living it.  I’ve read roughly 1,800 mysteries over the past 24 years, since I started keeping track.  At this point, if the parents of the girl wanted to press charges, it would have been attempted murder.  We would not know for nearly 24 hours.  Would Logan call from the police station or would he ride home on the bus?


My son sat Logan at the kitchen table.  There was our son and his wife and my wife and I, all calmly, gently asking questions to Logan on the other side of the table.  I learned quickly why the police ask you to start over and tell it again.  It was three times through the story before everything had come out.  Each time leaving out information.  Each time shuffling the order of events.  Each time adding new information.  With over a hundred careful questions, the order of events became clear.  At first, the things Logan said were jumbled in the time sequence.  Then we asked for the story again without leaving out anything, in the order that it happened.  That took two or three tries with Logan forgetting a key element in the story.  Finally, we got this story.  At no time did we ever suggest anything.  At no time did we ask leading questions, putting ideas into his head that conflicted with the facts.  His entire story came from him. (It’s a good thing that my wife and I love reading and watching mysteries.  It is great that our son is a teacher in an elementary school {next county over}.)


This girl sits down across from Logan at the lunch table.  In the conversation, the girl says that she wants to die.  She reaches over the table and steals Logan’s plastic bag.  She puts the plastic bag over her head.  Some kids are laughing, some just stare.  Then the girl says, “This bag isn’t any good.  It’s got holes in it.”  It was at this time that the teacher showed up.  Logan had no idea why either the girl or the boy sitting next to her would say that he did it.  (And I think that the thousand mile stare was due to Logan’s shock that his teacher would think him capable of doing it.  He is the only kid in his grade being evaluated for the gifted program.  Only problem is:  He never gave his statement.  He just accepted the punishment.)


Does that sound familiar?  They brought false accusations against Jesus who had been arrested and taken to the high priest.  When they accused Jesus, He was silent.  He just accepted the punishment, so that we could be saved, so that our sins would be washed away.


Unlike Logan who was in shock, Jesus knew what was approaching.


Now, Logan wasn’t saving the world.  He is only nine years old.  When Logan came home the next day, he was all smiles.  Now that the teacher had Logan’s statement, she asked the class what they saw.  Half of his classmates didn’t see anything, but when the other half of his classmates said that the girl did it to herself, the girl’s only witness backed down, too.  Logan got to go out for recess.


When Jesus said that we should take up our cross and follow Him (Matthew 10:38), he meant each of us, even nine year old boys who profess their love for Jesus and are baptized at the age of eight.  Will Logan be persecuted by false accusations again in his lifetime?  Probably, someday. Besides, this school year has hardly started.


Have you been falsely accused?  Cross carrying isn’t easy.



Add yours →

  1. Oh Mark—how absolutely awful—Logan is fortunate to have a family of calm cool heads—I think I would be livid with those trying to “incriminate” my son / grandson in something that he was caught like a deer in headlights—no kid should have to deal with such—-what has happened to us, to our schools, our world….
    Logan is a good boy—-and he has a good family to support and love him—I wonder about the girl at the center of this tale….
    lots to think about here… are brave to share

    Liked by 1 person

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