Vigilantism is not self-defense – Palm Beach Post


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A AK-47 with a bump stock installed at Good Guys Gun and Range on February 21, 2018 in Orem, Utah. The bump stock is a device that allows a semi-automatic to fire at a rapid rate much like a fully automatic gun.

There's an old saying, “All dressed up and no place to go.” Well, that is what’s behind the rash of vigilantism we see on trial now. For years, the NRA has fueled gun sales, by selling the idea that we must defend ourselves. But, when that defensive need for a gun never arises, the rationale to use that gun morphs into offensive use of the gun. It’s no coincidence that a teenager who crossed state lines and killed two people to protect property, is on trial at the same time that two men are on trial for killing Ahmaud Arbery. It’s no coincidence that the defense for these murders is self-defense.

That is not self-defense, it's vigilantism driven by the need for an excuse to use a gun. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this. Remember Trayvon Martin? Because states like Florida justify vigilantism under the guise of self-defense, because law enforcement agencies don’t speak out against vigilantes, and because Republicans see politicization of the 2nd Amendment a winning issue, it won’t be the last.

Randy Johnson, Boynton Beach

Verdict marks a sad day in America

Our leaders have really sunk to a new low. Many have condoned citizens rights, not to just bear arms, but to allow a person to walk in public with an assault weapon like it was happy-go-lucky time. I am all into backing the police in the majority of times when facing the general public. It must really be difficult for them. That man (Kyle Rittenhouse) should have been arrested on the spot for carrying an assault weapon in public. I don't care what color you are or nationality. This unfortunate incident should have never gone to this extreme. Sad day in America. God help us all.

Vincent V. Stankay, West Palm Beach

Rule of law must not be undermined

Our country was founded on laws, which include a trial by jury, and the system has served us well for a long time. I am very upset at the reactions to the jury verdict in the Rittenhouse trial in Wisconsin. People who were not in the courtroom to hear the testimony or the judge's instructions on the law to the jury are expressing negative opinions about the verdict, including the President and Vice President of the United States. This has the effect of undermining our legal system, and therefore our foundation. As a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, I am disappointed in their statements.

Edward Scoville, Tequesta

Jurors' biases are problematic in trials 

A man is released from a hospital for depression, carrying a toothbrush, toothpaste and shaving gear, and decides to go to a Black Lives Matter protest. He is a homeless man. Chaos ensues, and the man throws a plastic bag at a seventeen-year old teen carrying an AK-15 military assault rifle. The young teen claims his life was threatened by a plastic bag, and shoots and kills the homeless man with a military rifle claiming self defense. A jury finds the teenager not guilty of any charges against him. While there is nothing wrong with our laws, nor our jury system on self defense, there is much to learn about how we select jurors who may interpret our laws based on their own biases.

Robert Langer, Palm Beach Gardens

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