Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I’m happy about that because it means that I have the next two days off. It’s not a big holiday for me or my family and hasn’t really been in the last few years. Sometimes we do traditional food, other years not so much. I hope whatever way you choose to enjoy the day that it’s good for you.
I also just want to note a couple big verdicts that have come in the last few days. First, last Friday, the young white man who was on trial for killing two people during a racial justice protest that went awry last year was acquitted. The protest/riot was in Kenosha, Wisconsin and started after news came out that police had shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, seven times at close range. He is now paralyzed. After George Floyd and others were in the news at that time, the atmosphere was tense around any police shootings. Kenosha wasn’t having it. The 17-year-old kid went to Kenosha from his home in Illinois with his trusty AR-15. According to AP News, the “former police youth cadet, said that he went to Kenosha to protect property from rioters but that he came under attack and feared for his life.” He was “charged with homicide, attempted homicide and reckless endangering for killing two men and wounding a third with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle.” Make no mistake, he killed two people and injured another (they were all white). But on the five counts against him, the jury found him not guilty, believing, I assume, that he fired in self-defense. Never mind that he probably shouldn’t have been there in the first place, much less with a loaded automatic rifle. As you can imagine, this case was divisive, and there was mixed reactions to the verdict.
And then today, another verdict (or verdicts) was handed down to the three white men who killed Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man, early last year in Georgia. Arbery had been jogging through a neighborhood and these men believed, for some reason, that he was running away after committing burglary so they grabbed shotguns and followed him, ultimately killing him at close range in the street. These three men were all found guilty on multiple counts including felony murder and aggravated assault. They haven’t been sentenced yet, but the verdicts alone brought a small measure of justice to the situation.
I’m unhappy that the Wisconsin case went the way it did, and I’m happy the Georgia case went the way it did, but really, I think there are three people who are dead who shouldn’t be and there are far too many guns in the hands of people who are too eager to use them as their first instinct. It’s hard for me to understand.
So on this eve of a holiday that is intended to celebrate what you’re grateful for, I’ll say that I’m grateful that I don’t understand that need, that desire, that drive to own and/or fire a gun. I’m also grateful that when there’s a situation that looks troublesome or strange, my first instinct is not that I want to be armed.