There is nothing new about the provocation of armed white men in America. Nor is it new as we witness the claims of self-defense by the defendants in two high profile trials.
Kyle Rittenhouse, the would be soldier-cum-vigilante in Kenosha, and the McMichaels, father and son in Brunswick, Georgia, only current examples of endless encounters, and too often, as in the case of Trayvon Martin, Black men have been the victims. But as the tragedy in Wisconsin indicates, white men are not exempt.
It’s mind-boggling, but not surprising, that someone toting an AR-15 and aiming it at unarmed citizens can claim self-defense. But this is what the jury in Kenosha is in the process of deliberating. And one of the key elements in the six charges brought against Rittenhouse—his possession of a dangerous weapon was dismissed by the judge since it was not a short-barreled rifle.
Whether the dismissal removes the likelihood of conviction is in the hands of the jury, which we hope are not as flummoxed and confused as they were listening to Judge Bruce Schroeder’s instruction to the jurors. One of the questions they raised was about the issue of self-defense and that is certainly to be of paramount importance in the decision.
Whatever the outcome, it is not easy to set aside the notion of white men with guns, especially those who become judge, jury and executioner. Our history is replete with such horrific incidents and we need no constant reminder of them.
Our condolences are extended to the families of Mr. Huber and Mr. Rosenbaum, and to the loved ones of Ahmaud Arbery.
Also, we hope that the injuries to Mr. Grosskreutz will not incapacitate him and hinder him from resuming his promising life.
We say no as loudly as possible to white men who believe they can pick up a gun and administer justice. It’s a sad commentary that we still have to endure the ravages of actions we thought were safely in the dustbin of our terrifying and terrible history.