Archived Opinion

Can you hear Johnny Cash?

Can you hear Johnny Cash?

To the Editor:

The late, great Johnny Cash wrote: “Don’t take your guns to town, son.” In the song, Billy Joe repeats his mother’s warning as he lays dying. Shot down by a cowpoke who could draw faster than him.

In Kenosha, Wisconsin, two young men lie in eternal rest. A third man is maimed for life. All three were shot by a young boy like Billy Joe who took his gun to town. But, the young shooter in Kenosha had much more firepower than the cowpoke in Cash’s song. Kyle Rittenhouse carried an assault weapon strapped on his shoulder.

The jury found Rittenhouse not guilty on five charges leveled by the state prosecution. He will go on with his life. But, it won’t be that simple. He has gone into a room that he can never leave. He killed two fellow human beings. From a legal standpoint he may have done all he needs to do. 

Still, there is a moral question to resolve — was it really necessary for Kyle Rittenhouse to kill those two people? From a Biblical perspective how does he atone for his deadly deeds? He can (1) accept the facts. He can (2) confess his wrongdoing. 

That is where his process of atonement hits a snag, though. He can’t complete the third requirement — restitution. Those two victims can’t be brought back to life. That will surely haunt Kyle Rittenhouse.

It should haunt every American. As Cash’s long-time friend Kris Kristofferson asked: “… who’s to bless and who’s to blame?”

Can you hear Johnny Cash somewhere in the distance: “Don’t take your guns to town, son.”

Dave Waldrop


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