Along with the rest of the nation, Chester County Democrats learned that Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty of any crime related to his shooting of three Black Lives Matter protesters. Rittenhouse killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and seriously injured Gaige Grosskreutz in August 2020. We condemn Rittenhouse’s actions. We grieve that Joseph’s and Anthony’s families and friends who now have to live without them; our hearts go out to Gaige, whose life and health will never be the same. We are saddened and infuriated by the lack of justice for Joseph, Anthony, and Gaige. We are outraged at the message this acquittal sends, and dismayed that it suggests that following in Rittenhouse’s footsteps is somehow acceptable. Let us be clear: in this case, not guilty does not equal innocent.
A robust democracy requires an application of the rule of law that reflects real human values — not some warped technicality contrived by the gun lobby. A democratic republic worthy of the name must protect its protesters from violence as surely as it must protect the accused with the presumption of innocence.
It would be easy to comfort ourselves with the thought that Kenosha is 800 miles away. But Pennsylvania’s Stand Your Ground law could be used in much the same way as it was in the Rittenhouse case. There’s no hope of dangerous laws like this changing with the extremist Republicans currently dominating both chambers in Harrisburg; that’s why in 2022 we MUST take back the state legislature and send a Democratic governor to Harrisburg. We need more public servants in tune with what real Pennsylvanians want and need. We must join together to elect a safer, fairer, more responsive government that won’t allow a Rittenhouse copycat to kill people and walk free. The United States has once again fallen short of our highest ideals, but that does not mean we give up on the country we love; it means we redouble our efforts to change it for the better.