Guest Editorial: Disgusting excuses made for vigilante

A White 17-year-old, Kyle Rittenhouse, was arrested last Wednesday after two people were shot to death during last Tuesday night’s protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

The demonstrations broke out after Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was left paralyzed when he was shot from behind by White officers answering a domestic dispute call.

After two demonstrators were killed by gunfire last Tuesday night, Rittenhouse from Antioch, Illinois, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide.

Incredibly, some are attempting to rationalize this criminal vigilante behavior.

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson suggested that no one should be surprised by the killing of two demonstrators during social unrest in Kenosha because local officials “stood back and watched Kenosha burn.”

“So are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder?” Carlson said on Fox News on Wednesday. How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?”

Presidential son Donald Trump Jr. tweeted that “the left-wing media is willfully twisting Tucker Carlson’s words to smear him. He never endorsed ‘vigilante justice.’ He just pointed out that when ‘leaders’ cede control of our streets to the mob, it leads to heartbreaking consequences.”

Even for Carlson, a serial race baiter, this is a disgusting new low.

His commentary appears to be sympathetic to Rittenhouse or offering justification for murder.

Only racism can explain how those who call for law and order can be sympathetic to someone who traveled 15 miles from another state to shoot two people to death who were exercising their constitutional right to protest.

The shooting came after repeated calls for armed vigilantes to travel to Kenosha to protect businesses after the police shooting of Blake spread across social media.

Several posts on Facebook and Reddit urged militias and other armed people to head to the protests, researchers at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab said in a blog post Wednesday.

It is also disturbing how Kenosha police interacted with Rittenhouse.

According to witness accounts and video footage, police apparently let the gunman walk past them and leave the scene with a rifle over his shoulder and his hands in the air as members of the crowd yelled for him to be arrested because he had shot people.

Video taken before the shooting shows police thanking civilians armed with long guns walking the streets. One of them appears to be the gunman.

Both police and now armed vigilantes must be held accountable for their actions.

The demand for justice, equity and accountability and against the excessive use of force against Black Americans must continue.

(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune)

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