Rittenhouse verdict will ’embolden vigilantes,’ anti-gun violence group warns | Monday Coffee
The teen’s ‘military-style rifle and the threatening manner in which he wielded it only served to heighten tensions and invite deadly conflict,’ Adam Garber, of CeaseFire Pa, said
Kyle Rittenhouse (Getty Images)
Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
Last week’s not-guilty verdict in the case of Kyle Rittenhouse sends a dangerous message to would-be vigilantes across Pennsylvania: You can shoot to kill with impunity, claim self-defense, and then face zero penalties.
That was the message from one of the state’s leading gun-violence reduction advocates, who says he fears that a Wisconsin jury’s decision to find the Illinois teen not guilty of shooting three people, killing two of them, during Black Lives Matter protests in downtown Kenosha, Wisc., last year, will embolden others to take the law into their own hands.
“The trial made one thing perfectly clear: Rittenhouse’s military-style rifle and the threatening manner in which he wielded it only served to heighten tensions and invite deadly conflict,” Adam Garber, the executive director of Philadelphia-based CeaseFire Pa. said in a statement. “This dangerous verdict sends a clear message to would-be vigilantes across Pennsylvania: you can insert yourself into dangerous situations, threaten those around you with a lethal weapon, shoot and kill with impunity, and then claim “self-defense” and face zero consequences.”
Garber said he was “furious that this morally wrong behavior will now face no consequences. I am fearful vigilantes will be emboldened to threaten the public because they are not likely to face any consequence.”
Last week’s verdict, he continued, “undermines every American’s Constitutional right protected by the First Amendment to make their voices heard as they advocate for a better, safer world. It should worry everyone.”
Black leaders, meanwhile, said they saw a clear double-standard in the verdict, arguing that it reinforced the notion that there are separate and unequal judicial systems. Rittenhouse and the men he killed and wounded, are white, but the case is linked inextricably to matters of race and the criminal justice system, the Associated Press noted over the weekend.
Taking to Twitter, House Minority Leader Joanna McClinton, D-Philadelphia, said she was “terrified that we are creating an injustice system, where some lives are valued more than others, and where some people are held accountable while others are not.”
I am saddened and appalled at the Rittenhouse verdict.
My full statement on this injustice: pic.twitter.com/vJmdDM9BWr
— Joanna McClinton (@RepMcClinton) November 19, 2021
In a tweet, state House Minority Leader Jordan Harris, D-Philadelphia, said he was “sadly not surprised,” by the verdict.
“The system isn’t broken,” he wrote. “It’s doing exactly what it was designed to do.”
Harris’ fellow Philadelphia Democrat, Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, offered a similar sentiment, saying the verdict “[wasn’t] justice.”
“Kyle Rittenhouse went across state lines with a gun he should not have had — murdered two people, injured another and will walk free,” Kenyatta, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in 2022, wrote.
Activist Kadida Kenner, of Why Courts Matter – Pa., aimed her criticism at presiding Judge Bruce Schroeder, who dismissed a misdemeanor weapons possession charge before the jury began its deliberations.
Rittenhouse’s attorneys successfully argued that Wisconsin law allowed Rittenhouse to possess the AR-15 he carried in Kenosha since it was not short-barreled, the Wisconsin Examiner, a sibling site of the Capital-Star, reported.
“The folks of Wisconsin voted for that judge and put him on the bench. And so did the folks who were eligible but didn’t cast their ballots,” said Kenner, who has pressed for reforms to Pennsylvania’s judicial election system.
Americans will consume more than 3,000 calories during their Thanksgiving feast later this week. Cassie Miller dives into the culinary data for this week’s edition of The Numbers Racket.
Pennsylvania’s Latino community has growing political clout — and they’re using it, our partners at City & State Pa. report.
If he’s elected in 2022, Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, says he’d support a legislative gift ban. Reformers don’t want him to wait that long, Marley Parish reports.
So-called ‘Rent to Own’ companies have been ordered by a court to deed 285 homes to consumers in Pennsylvania, our partners at Pittsburgh City Paper report.
Homelessness and unemployment remain issues for transgender Philadelphians, our partners at the Philadelphia Gay News report.
On our Commentary Page this morning: Opinion regular Dick Polman says Chris Christie’s rehabilitation tour is continuing. But is anyone buying tickets? And columnist Julie Knopp, of our sibling site, the Minnesota Reformer, explains how eating more plants could help prevent the next pandemic.
The Inquirer and Spotlight PA run down what’s known about the firm tapped to conduct the GOP’s partisan election probe.
In a special report, the Post-Gazette looks at money-launderers who bought steel mills in Pittsburgh and elsewhere in the United States.
COVID-19 relief funds could be used to pay off up to $7,500 of Pa. nurses’ student loans, PennLive reports.
The Morning Call explains why a new road along Allentown’s waterfront is such a big deal for many residents.
USA Today’s Pennsylvania Capital Bureau runs down what Pa. lawmakers didn’t get done before their Thanksgiving break.
One thing they did get done: The state House approved a bill stiffening the penalties on repeat DUI offenders, the Associated Press reports (via WITF-FM).
The cost of Thanksgiving dinner rose 11 percent this year, the Times-Tribune reports after surveying local grocers.
As gun violence continues to rise, WHYY-FM profiles a group trying to broker a cease fire in Philadelphia.
Leaders in rural communities fear they’ll miss out on federal infrastructure money, Stateline.org reports.
Here’s your #Harrisburg Instagram of the Day:
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What Goes On
10:30 am., 60 EW: House Labor & Industry, Subcommittee on Employment & Unemployment
12 p.m., Harrisburg Hilton: State System of Higher Education Chancellor David Greenstein addresses the final Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon of the year.
What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition)
House Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, holds a 5:30 p.m. reception at Rock Lititz in scenic Lititz, Pa. Admission runs from a mere $250 all the way up to a reality-distorting $25,000.
Gov. Tom Wolf heads to Pittsburgh for a 2:30 p.m ribbon-cutting ceremony for a local pedestrian infrastructure project.
You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Belated best wishes go out to Philly attorney and reader, Phil Press, who celerbated on Sunday. Congratulations, sir. Hope it was a good one.
It’s always a good day when there is new music from Elbow in the world. The Mancunian rockers released their newest record ‘Flying Dream 1‘ late last week. From that LP, here’s the lovely and dreamy ‘Six Words.’
Monday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link
The New York Islanders were shut-out, 3-0, by the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday. The Leafs’ Mitch Marner scored twice on the way to the win.
And now you’re up to date.
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