Today in Kenosha, Wisconsin the teenager Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty after he killed two men and shot another with a military-style weapon in the midst of a protest in August of 2020.
This trial is an important reminder that the presence of guns do not make us safer but rather more frequently lead to an escalation of violence. Guns make most situations far more dangerous than they otherwise would be. This is especially true when the guns are in the hands of civilians.
We decry both the systemic racism that still grips our country so tightly, and our unholy fascination with guns and a culture of violence. More particularly, our hearts go out to the families of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber who were slain by Kyle Rittenhouse and to Gaige Grosskreuz who was seriously injured by him. We also pray for Jacob Blake whose shooting at the hands of a police officer precipitated the protests that night.
We have to decide whether we are going to be a country that condones vigilante violence or whether we are a people who value equal justice for all, order and reasonable laws that limit the destructiveness of guns.
In moments like this we hardly know what to ask for or say.
Thank you for our precious lives and for the communities that sustain us and give us opportunities to love and care for others. Today we are a divided people and struggle to act wisely for the sake of the common good.
We pray for all those whose lives have been permanently damaged by the violent events that transpired in Kenosha, Wisconsin. We pray for a peaceful response to today’s verdict. We pray for wise legislation and civic action that will lead to prudent limits on the access to weapons in this land. We pray for an end to the racism that continues to damage countless lives in our time.
May your grace give us power to speak faithfully for the poor and oppressed. And may we find refuge in the love of your son Jesus Christ has revealed to the world. Amen.
“God will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away”
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Marc Handley Andrus
The Very Rev. Malcolm Clemens Young, ThD