This is a wonderful time and great opportunity to explore every Vermont village, town, city and organization encouraging interested applicants to step forward for a challenging leadership vetting. And for a short period can we agree to set aside the political class thereby allowing a full ex…

Remember the end of “Chinatown” when a stunned Jack Nicholson is coaxed away from another grisly death scene by a colleague saying to him, “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”

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Seasons come and seasons go, but scammers are here to stay. Holiday season scams will be closely followed by winter scams, followed by Valentine’s Day scams. Entering the month of December brings a renewed effort by scammers. Here are two returning scams of the season.

The global climate negotiations in Glasgow wrapped up recently, and the U.S. Congress is negotiating the Build Back Better Act — which currently includes the largest investment in climate action in U.S. history. Meanwhile, the Vermont Climate Council is working to deliver Vermont’s first-eve…

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The paper reports Peter Welch is running to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Patrick Leahy. We have had Leahy in the Senate since 1974—48 years, six terms—and it’s certainly time for a change. We don’t need a carbon-copy of Leahy replacing him in that seat.

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This is a wonderful time and great opportunity to explore every Vermont village, town, city and organization encouraging interested applicants to step forward for a challenging leadership vetting. And for a short period can we agree to set aside the political class thereby allowing a full ex…

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Kyle Rittenhouse, the 18-year-old who shot and killed two men and wounded a third last year during protests of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, was found not guilty Friday of all charges by a Wisconsin jury.

One can argue about the particulars of the case, about the strength of the defense and the ham-handedness of the prosecution, about the outrageously unorthodox manner of the judge and the infantilizing of the defendant. But perhaps the most problematic aspect of this case was that it represented yet another data point in the long history of some parts of the right valorizing white vigilantes who use violence against people of color and their white allies.

Rittenhouse has emerged as a hero and cause célèbre on the right, with people donating to help him make bail and one Republican strategist telling Politico that he “could see a future in which Rittenhouse becomes a featured speaker at the conservative confabs where activists congregate.”

The idea of taking the law into one’s own hands not only to protect order but also to protect the order is central to the maintenance of white power and its structures. The killers of Ahmaud Arbery, on trial in Georgia, are also vigilantes.

George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin in 2012, was also a vigilante and was embraced by the right. Money also poured in for Zimmerman’s defense.

In 1984, New York subway vigilante Bernhard Goetz shot four Black teenagers who he said were trying to rob him. He was hailed as a hero, but then more details about him began to emerge. One of his neighbors wrote in New York magazine that he had heard Goetz say at a community meeting that “the only way we’re going to clean up this street is to get rid of the spics and niggers.”

This list is long and doesn’t only include individuals but also organizations and entire periods of American history. I am sure that many in the white Citizens’ Councils and the Ku Klux Klan also saw themselves as vigilantes.

Perhaps the most prolonged period of violent white vigilantism occurred in the decades following the Civil War, as lynchings surged.

This vigilante impulse, what some call justice and others terror, has been a central feature of the American experience. So has the way people have made heroes of vigilantes, encouraging, supporting and defending them.

When Donald Trump was running for office in 2016, he encouraged his supporters to assault rabble-rousers at his rallies while promising, “I’ll pay the legal fees.”

The St. Louis couple who waved guns in front of Black Lives Matter protesters in the summer of 2020 were invited to speak at the Republican National Convention.

One could argue that the entire Jan. 6 insurrection was one enormous act of vigilantism.

You could also argue that our rapidly expanding gun laws — from “stand your ground” laws to laws that allow open or concealed carry — encourage and protect vigilantes.

It goes without saying how ominous this all is for the country. Or, to turn the argument around, how intransigent the country is on this issue of empowering the white men to become vigilantes themselves.

Black vigilantes are not celebrated but feared, condemned and constrained by the law.

Perhaps one of the more prominent Black groups that one could argue had a vigilante impulse was the Black Panthers. They were seen as a threat. As I have written before, in 1967, when the Panthers showed up armed at the California state Legislature, a largely white place of power, the public was aghast.

Then-Gov. Ronald Reagan said: “I don’t think that loaded guns is the way to solve a problem that should be solved between people of goodwill. And anyone who would approve of this kind of demonstration must be out of their mind.”

The California Legislature passed, and Reagan signed, the Mulford Act, which banned the open carry of firearms in the state. The National Rifle Association supported the measure. The bill’s author, Don Mulford, said at the time, “We’ve got to protect society from nuts with guns.”

Whether a vigilante is viewed as radical or righteous is often a condition of the skin they’re in.

And the verdict in the Rittenhouse case is only likely to encourage more vigilantes, those who want to keep or impose “order,” those irked by the idea that disorder could flow from injustice, those who don’t want to see streets filled with people demanding equity.

The great threat, and real possibility, is that there are other Rittenhouses out there — young men who watched this verdict and saw how the right has embraced and celebrated a murderer, and now want to follow his lead.

The worst thing for America would be that this case becomes exemplar and precursor.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

My name is Addie Lentzner. I am a 17-year-old student from Bennington, and I am representing the 80 youth who have signed multiple letters to the Governor and participated in actions surrounding the reinstatement of the GA Motel Program.

In the 1994 movie ‘Forrest Gump’ (“Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”) the main character witnesses and at times influences some of the defining events of the 20th century. There’s Gump as an all-American football player, serving in Vie…

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Since January 20, 2021, I have stayed away from writing about Washington and the new political landscape. There has been plenty of commentary fodder here in Vermont, especially from Burlington.

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As world leaders meet in Glasgow to seek agreement to make Earth’s climate stop changing, the news media has delivered a continual tsunami of alarming reports: “Climate change is already ravaging the world,” “climate change-induced disasters,” “climate crisis,” “climate emergency.”


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In the midst of a pandemic that has claimed three-quarters of a million lives in this country alone, there is human suffering that can get lost. Deaths from drug overdoses don’t often make the kind of headlines that COVID regularly sees, but the loss for victims’ loved ones is the same. And …


It’s almost impossible to imagine the U.S. Senate without Patrick Leahy fighting for the best interests of Vermonters and our environment, low-income and vulnerable Americans, women and minorities, and those around the globe suffering human rights abuses or at risk of losing civil liberties.

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