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Monday, December 6, 2021
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HomeOpinionColumnRittenhouse acquittal doesn’t mean vigilantism is OK…or does it?

Rittenhouse acquittal doesn’t mean vigilantism is OK…or does it?

By: Keith Kappes
Columnist
Carter County Times

Like many of you, I was shocked but not surprised when a Wisconsin jury decided last week that Kyle Rittenhouse acted in self-defense when he killed two white men and wounded a third during a demonstration about the earlier shooting of a black man by Kenosha police.

The then 17-year-old said he left his home in Illinois in 2020 and drove to Kenosha with an AR-15 automatic rifle and a first-aid kit to help property owners defend their homes and businesses. However, he has had no medical training and was not invited to Kenosha.

Wisconsin’s governor had 500 Army National Guard soldiers on standby for several days in case they were needed to keep the peace. As of this writing, they had not been deployed. Thank goodness for that.

Don’t be surprised when some wag posts on social media that Rittenhouse likely would qualify for a drama scholarship to college for his apparently effective crying spells while on the witness stand and when the jury set him free. 

I don’t know if the tears were legitimate or not but the thought of the rest of a teenager’s life behind bars with thugs as cellmates would be reason enough to bring tears.

Regardless of the verdict, I still believe in the rule of law and the jury system in this country. But I am waiting for someone to explain how you can help start a ruckus and then claim self-defense when folks object to your behavior. 

Young Mr. Rittenhouse will have to live with what happened in Kenosha and decide the future direction of his newly-acquired celebrity status. Look for he and his family to be sued by the relatives of his victims. Be assured his courtroom days are far from over.

The scariest side of this story is that his acquittal might inspire other gun-toting, self-appointed, would-be heroes to follow his lead and take the law into their own hands and punish accused lawbreakers.

If that happens, all of the tears in Kenosha are just the beginning.

Keith Kappes can be reached at keithkappes@gmail.com

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