Press: Rittenhouse verdict calls for change in gun laws

After last week’s verdict at the Kyle Rittenhouse trial in Kenosha, Wisconsin, can’t we all agree on this? There is no single justice system in the United States. There are two. One for whites; one for black.

If you are a white man, you can commit murder and get away with it, as long as you call yourself a vigilante and claim that you acted in “self-defense.” But don’t try it if you are a black man. Anthony Kennedy, a Kenosha councilman who is also black and an Army veteran, told the New York Times after the verdict that if he had done the same, “My butt would have been dead on the street. They wouldn’t have arrested me. “

We saw a similar charade in 2012 in Sanford, Florida, with the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Walking from a nearby 7-Eleven with a bag of bowling pins, Martin was accosted and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. After Zimmerman’s defense attorneys filed a claim to act in self-defense, his gun against a bag of Skittles? – A jury found Zimmerman not guilty of second degree murder and manslaughter.

Rittenhouse’s case is Trayvon Martin redux, but much worse. Only in America could a man rush into a street protest with a semiautomatic rifle, shoot and kill two people, seriously injure a third, and then paint himself as a victim and get away with it.

Yes, we respect the jury process. But sometimes the jurors are just wrong. They did so at the first Rodney King trial and at the OJ Simpson trial; They did it with the Trayvon Martin case. And they did it again last week with Kyle Rittenhouse, in a verdict that was at once incorrect, inexplicable and indefensible. How could someone with half a brain buy Rittenhouse’s self-defense claim? It was Rittenhouse who carried his gun onto the streets of Kenosha, without police credentials, as a self-described vigilante. It was Rittenhouse who blatantly shot and killed two people and wounded a third. If he’s a victim, I’m an astronaut.

Beyond our outrage, Rittenhouse’s verdict calls for a serious public response, on two levels. First, there must be a serious examination of the open arms laws and the so-called self-defense and “stand up” laws, not just in Wisconsin but in many states; They were troublesome at first, but now they’ve evolved to the point where as long as you’re white, you can show up at any demo with tactical gear and an assault rifle and be treated like a super citizen.

Second, a serious moment of coming to Jesus should result from the Republican Party’s embrace of violence. Even worse than the verdict was the way that right-wing Republican voices, starting with Donald trumpDonald Trump Rittenhouse Says Biden Slandered His Character By Linking Him To White Supremacists Night Health Care: White House Touts Vaccination Rate For Feds Trump Backs Hogan Challenger In Maryland Governor Race MORE, hailed Rittenhouse as a hero. (For killing two men?) Some television and radio opinion personalities have praised him incessantly. Some have suggested that he be invited to speak at the next CPAC convention. Repetitions Matt gaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzMadison Cawthorn Offers Rittenhouse Internship Gaetz Says Rittenhouse would put ‘big’ Republican intern centrists under increased attack from their own party MORE (R-Fla.) And Madison Cawthorn (RN.C.) even proposed hiring him as a Congressional intern.

In 1967, when Black Panthers appeared with loaded weapons at the California State Capitol, the then governor. Ronald Reagan said, “I don’t think loaded guns are the way to solve a problem … And anyone who approves of this kind of demonstration must be crazy.” How times have changed. The Republican Party is no longer Ronald Reagan’s party. It’s Genghis Khan’s party.

Press is the host of “The Bill Press Pod”. He is the author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire”.

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