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Open season for vigilantism

The Kyle Rittenhouse verdict is a green light for paramilitary organizations loyal to particular factions or individuals to come out of the shadows and enforce the law as they see it — which marks, in fact, the end of the rule of law (“Rittenhouse is acquitted on all counts,” Page A1, Nov. 20).

The United States we can see looming on the horizon is one of white minority rule enforced by vigilante justice — until, that is, the vigilantes themselves control the levers of power and use them to crush anyone who gets in their way. This may be only an election cycle or two away from actually happening, thanks to gerrymandering, well-oiled propaganda machines, and liberalism’s own failure to live up to its promise: that all are equal in the eyes of the law (a failure that gives the propaganda machines all the credibility they need to destroy it).

One should deplore the failure of liberalism to take its own promise seriously, and work tirelessly to address it. But if we simply dismiss this promise as a lie, as many on the right are keen for us to do, we deprive ourselves of the basis for challenging the injustices all around us while giving free rein to those who would perpetrate them with impunity.

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Ethan Wells

Lexington


NRA’s paranoia prevails over common sense on guns

Observing liberal voices in the media paint the Kyle Rittenhouse acquittal as a racial incident, which it was not, makes me wonder why the real issue is being so widely overlooked: Why did our legal system condone a then-17-year-old boy stalking the night streets of an area of civil unrest armed with a deadly, loaded military-style rifle designed specifically to kill humans?

Of course what happened happened. It was inevitable. If not in Kenosha, Wis., then somewhere.

As a former skeet shooter and hunter and a lifetime gun owner, I surmise I’ll go to my grave wondering why the National Rifle Association’s paranoia over having its guns taken away always prevails over common sense in the public domain. What will it take to prove me wrong?

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Mark Hopkins

Concord


A weapon at hand

Johnny Cash’s “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town” has been playing in a loop in my head since the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse. Had the then-17-year-old traveled across state lines to someone else’s community without a gun, it’s likely no one would have died that day. Simple as that.

Helga Thompson

Plymouth


Miscarriage of justice

I am sickened and heartbroken by this horrible miscarriage of justice. It’s inconceivable, during normal times, that someone could walk into a situation with a semiautomatic rifle, kill unarmed men, claim self-defense, and be exonerated. How many battered women are in jail, punished for killing men who brutally and repeatedly beat them? They are often asked: Why did you stay?

What did Rittenhouse expect would happen when he went to Kenosha? But in this case, he is getting a wink, a nod, and a pat on the back from a similarly troubled faction of the American public. These are truly dark times.

Patricia Fabbri

Lynnfield


Racial bias doesn’t apply here

I am confused by statements from US Representative Ayanna Pressley, the Rev. Willie Bodrick II, and others about the verdict (“Officials from Mass. and R.I. react to Kyle Rittenhouse verdict,” Metro, Nov. 20). If our criminal justice system treats Black defendants differently (more harshly) than white ones, the solution is to correct that. But people quoted in the article appear to think that the solution is to balance the scale by unjustly convicting a white defendant.

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All people, regardless of race, creed, or anything else, should be treated the same by the police and the courts. But you don’t correct a problem by doing more of it. It may be trite, but the old saying “Two wrongs don’t make a right” applies here.

Art Cabral

West Bridgewater


Imagine a different defendant

Imagine that every detail in the case remained exactly the same except that Kyle Rittenhouse was Black. Would the verdict have been the same? I rest my case.

Richard Chait

Belmont


Maybe jury system works, but did it work well here?

If the bar is low enough, anybody can clear it. President Biden says that the Rittenhouse verdict shows that the jury system works. If he means the trial was not interrupted by an angry mob, and the jury returned a verdict, well, yes, it worked. But did it work well? Decidedly, no.

The question of self-defense can be argued, and the propriety of the judge’s behavior can be debated, but there is little argument about the fact that Rittenhouse killed two people with a gun that, as a 17-year-old, he should not have been carrying. It seems clear to me, at least, that he committed some crime — and apparently he will not be punished.

Jon Plotkin

Hull