Kyle Rittenhouse (right) listens during his murder trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Nov. 15. The 18-year-old is accused of killing two people and wounding a third during a protest over police brutality in Kenosha in August 2020.

As protesters take to the streets in U.S. cities big and small, angry over the “not guilty” verdict rendered just days ago by a Wisconsin jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial, the not-surprising decision should make all Americans sit up and truly pay attention.

Even as thousands join with leaders from Black Lives Matter and Black Panther protesters, there’s an ominous cloud that should cause all like-minded civil rights activists to rethink their strategies and be more aware of their surroundings and leery of those who refute their claims and stand on the other side of the line.

With the acquittal of Rittenhouse, some say they’re not only worried about continued examples of excessive police force but also fear that the day has been opened wide for others to mimic the young murderer. They, too, now have license to follow his lead as random, gun-toting vigilantes fueled by the so-called notion of maintaining “law and order” in our streets.

In years past, protesters had cause to be afraid of the police, as well as dogs, tear gas and fire hoses.

Today, the “clear and present danger” rests with those who feel empowered and emboldened enough to shoot first and ask questions later, justifying their actions with the excuse that they felt “threatened.”

Of course, they can always force a few crocodile tears to flow down their cheeks, as Rittenhouse did with such skill during his trial as he recounted why he unloaded his weapon on three men, killing two.

Obviously, a few well-placed tears equate to innocence, don’t they?

America has far too many guns on its streets and far too many people have guns who should not. Rittenhouse serves as one of tens of thousands of examples of such individuals. Meanwhile, most of our political leaders, despite the proliferation of weapons in America and the damage they cause, refuse to do anything about it but offer lip service to the victims and their families.

Rittenhouse went to a racial justice march in Kenosha, armed and ready for action. And because of the current laws, he was within his rights to bring a gun, then use it with deadly force after saying he feared for his life. The caveat, of course, is that he supported the police, not the protesters.

After pleading not guilty, the teenager posed for a photo op with the far-right group the Proud Boys, And to help with his defense and bail, white evangelicals raised millions of dollars in his support. For whites like them, he’s now a hero and a poster boy for their way of thinking – God-fearing, gun-slinging folks who would prefer to keep the gene pool “pure.”

So, what have we learned in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial? That even white lives who protest for Black lives don’t matter anymore.

By the way, don’t be surprised if the three men charged with the death of Ahmaud Arbery also get off unscathed. After all, didn’t they, like Rittenhouse, have “a duty” to chase Arbery as they feared for their lives? Just asking.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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