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Opinion | Kyle Rittenhouse’s Acquittal and America’s Gun Laws

The jury decided the defendant acted in self-defense. It was not in a position to address the limited restrictions of the Second Amendment and the open-carry policies that create a dangerous environment for all Americans. Will our legislators ever take this on?

Mark Golden
Newton, Mass.

To the Editor:

From my vantage point up here in the cheap seats north of the border, it occurs to me that apart from the racial and gun rights issues this case involves, there is another far more disquieting aspect.

As the Rittenhouse courtroom drama played out in Kenosha, Wis., in Georgia, another murder trial was underway. This one involves the case of three white men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was out for a jog near Brunswick, Ga. The man who chased down Mr. Arbery and fatally shot him claims he acted in self-defense while conducting a citizen’s arrest.

There’s a disquieting common thread that runs through both the Rittenhouse and Arbery trials — the notion that in 2021, frontier-style vigilante justice is viewed as being legal and laudable in many parts of the United States.

In both the Rittenhouse and Arbery cases, the accused claim they were acting as ersatz police officers and were justified in firing shots in self-defense. I can’t help but wonder if these aren’t signs of a society in which the rule of law is crumbling before our eyes. That should be a worrisome thing for all Americans of whatever political stripes. And Canadians, too.

Ken Cuthbertson
Kingston, Ontario

To the Editor:

Try to imagine the roles of Ahmaud Arbery and Kyle Rittenhouse in reverse. Mr. Arbery, a teenager, is patrolling the streets of Kenosha with his AR-15-style rifle visible to all. The city is racially charged after a Black man, Jacob Blake, has been shot by the police. There are skirmishes and two men are shot dead by Mr. Arbery and one is seriously injured. Assuming Mr. Arbery makes it through the night alive, a stretch by even the most imaginative, he draws the same judge that Kyle Rittenhouse has. Would he get the same leeway?

Now imagine Kyle Rittenhouse as the jogger outside Brunswick, Ga. Do armed white men respond when they see him running after a suspicious neighbor calls the police? If they do, does the jogger end up dead?

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