I know laws are there for a reason. They are there to keep everyone safe. They are there to keep society running smoothly. They are there to keep good order. In a perfect world,under the law, everyone is supposed to find equal treatment no matter who and what their background. I know our justice system is far from perfect. People who come from different backgrounds are often treated inequitably under the law. In a perfect system though, the eyes of the court are blind to your background.
Everyone deserves fair treatment under the law. The guilty and the innocent have a right to plead their cases in the court. I am not in favour of mob rule. I don't agree with people going after others with pitch forks and torches. I think everyone should be able to go before the courts and plead their case. I also believe that everyone deserves due process. Even though a person is avowedly guilty, they deserve their day in court.
I struggle though when the guilty are able to walk free from their deeds. Take Kyle Rittenhouse. He was the Illinois school boy who took an illegal assault rifle, travelled fifty kilometres, across the Wisconsin state line, and murdered two men. Of those facts, no one seems to dispute these facts. He was there. He had the gun. He pulled the trigger. He had his trial and was found not guilty. The defenses argument was that he feared for his life and that he shot the men in self defense. He was scared and two men ended up dead.
Now I have been to a few protests in my life. I have walked for peace. I have marched for climate change. I have walked for fairer treatment of refugees while I was in Australia. All of these have been peaceful protests though. Never once did I fear for my safety or the safety of my fellow marchers. Never once did I worry that nearby stores or businesses would be damaged.
I came close to a riot once. It was our first day in Harare, Zimbabwe. We were shopping in the main business district, something many tourists would do. All of a sudden there was a loud yelling coming from the street and hundreds of people came running. We didn't know what had happened until we left the store and turned the corner. We were assaulted by tear gas. A student riot had broken out, some windows had been broken, and the police riot squad was dispelling the crowd. Even though we were a few blocks from where the riot happened, it was a very frightening experience.
I am sure that fateful night last summer was frightening. Demonstraters were out protesting the murder of George Floyd. Counter protestors were out protesting the other protestors. Tensions were high. It would have been an unnerving experience. I certainly would have been scared seeing the venom and hatred coming from both sides. I am a fairly well travelled adult who has seen many dreadful things and I would have been scared. But imagine if you were a 17 year old boy who had been told only that one side of the truth all of your life. You were armed and out there by yourself. And suddenly you meet people who are name calling you and who are expressing views that you don't share. He undoubtedly was scared. I could go on and preach about who would arm a teen age boy with an assault rifle and place in him a dangerous situation miles from home but I will leave that up to other writers.
Fear though is not a reason to shoot others. Fear though is not a reason to kill. Watching those yelling crowds run in Harare, it would have been wrong of me to pull out a gun and shoot someone. I would be at least arrested, tried, and jailed for doing such a thing. Rittenhouse though he was just 17 was undoubtedly more terrified then he had ever been that night. It did not give him the right though to kill others. Blessings.