Seeing Ethics In September, 9/1/2020…

1. Well, THAT’s an easy question! At St Xavier Catholic Church in NYC over the weekend, the priest asked his flock, : “Do you affirm that white privilege is unfair…will you commit to helping transform our church culture” and embrace “racial justice.”?

The answer, of course, is “‘Bye!” No one should accept partisan and racist talking points from the clergy. This is an abuse of power, trust and position.

I think I’ll watch “Spotlight” again…

2. In case you were wondering, Ethics Alarms will have nothing definitive to say about the Kyle Rittenhouse saga, and won’t until I read a trustworthy account of what really happened. There seems no question that the original mainstream news media narrative that this was a white supremacist gun nut hunting peaceful protesters is the MSM misbehaving again. The backlash characterization of Ritterhouse as a brave citizen protecting local businesses from rioters also seems overly convenient. The video available suggests an element of self-defense, but it seems clear to me that the kid irresponsibly placed himself in a perilous position while provoking members of a less-than-rational mob. In the situation he voluntarily placed himself, Ritterhouse was likely to be killed or kill somebody. He was also violating the law by carrying his weapon when he was underage. Of course, the failure of the Kenosha police and the state to keep minimally endurable order also added to the deadly conditions.

3. Hey, Coup Plan E, good to see you! Where have you been?

The 25th Amendment arguments have  been relatively scarce lately, although Maxine Waters mentioned it a week ago without referencing any disability. She appears to think that the Cabinet can just remove the elected President with a vote. My God, she’s such an idiot.

If the President had three strokes, he sure recovered quickly. And doesn’t it take astounding gall to try this chestnut again now, when the Democrats are running a candidate who could be legitimately removed by the 25th Amendment ten minutes after he took the oath of office?

4. Here come the dominoes! When I wrote two weeks ago about Utah deciding to join the District of Columbia in allowing law firms to include non-lawyer partners, I opined,

“When the D.C. bar decided to break the mold decades ago, everyone assumed that other jurisdictions would follow its lead, and soon doctors, engineers, scholars and accountants, among others, would be joining firms and allowing them to add new services. (Europe and Australia already allow such “multidisciplinary firms.”) It didn’t happen. Now, however, the dominoes might be starting to fall.”

Last week, the Arizona Supreme Court announced   that it had approved the Bar Association’s proposal to eliminate its ethics rule barring non-lawyers from having an economic interest in a law firms or participating in fee sharing.

5.  The Jacob Blake Rationalization? Last week, I heard an African American sports commentator, in the process of defending the NBA players’ theory that they should boycott the NBA season  in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake, “Nobody’s saying that Jacob Blake is a saint…”  Is this a new entry for the Rationalization List?  I assumed that the equivalent was already on the list, with either #2,  The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things,” or 19A, The Insidious Confession, or “It wasn’t the best choice.”

Yet neither exactly fits this framing trick, which is being well-used lately regarding Blake. No, he isn’t a saint; he was, in fact, an extremely unlikely candidate for sainthood. He had a long criminal record, a knife in his car or hand ( witnesses report the police were yelling at him to drop a knife ), had put one of the police in a headlock,  had resisted efforts to taze him, and had a warrant out for him on charges of domestic abuse and  sexual assault, also known as rape.  The criminal complaint also said Blake had broken into the woman’s home and stolen her automobile and debit card.  When the police were called,  Blake was back at the house of that same woman,  the mother of three of his children. She had called 911 and reported that he was at her house and had taken her house keys. Blake was shot by Kenosha police after resisting arrest.

As in the case of Michael Brown, the family of the target of police bullets, aided by attorney Ben Crump, put out a sanctified account of Blake’s fate, and the news media repeated it as truth, thus helping to spark the riots. Crump told the news media that:

…Blake “was helping to deescalate a domestic incident when police drew their weapons and tasered him. As he was walking away to check on his children, police fired their weapons several times into his back at point blank range.”

Wow, that almost makes him seem saintly! And it was completely false, except the part about the police shooting him, though the context of the shooting was conveniently absent. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes of Wisconsin said, a day later, as quoted by CNN

Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times in front of his children. And let me be clear, this was not an accident. This was not bad police work. This felt like some sort of vendetta being taking out on a member of our community…. The officers’ daily actions attempted to take a person’s life in broad daylight…The irony is not lost on me that as Jacob Blake was actually trying to deescalate a situation in his community, but the responding officer didn’t feel the need to do the same…

This is the way it is with saints; they get killed doing good. Did you know that President Trump caused the riots?

Various figures with influence in the black community then joined the Lt. Governor. NBA superstar LeBron James said “maybe” the officer who shot Blake “left the house saying that today is going to be the end for one of these black people. That’s what it feels like….for black people right now, we think you’re hunting us.”

Even with the news media doing its best, that approach was unsustainable. Sports activists and others began trying to shift the narrative, since police were called to protect a black woman, since Blake was obviously not targeted because of his race, and because he was resisting a legitimate arrest. Now we are being told that the protests are about “police brutality.” “They didn’t have to shoot him seven times,” my woke relative kept saying. The sports commentator said the same thing. So all the arson and violence and sports team boycotts are because the police should have only shot Blake once, if they thought he was reaching for gun, even if he wasn’t a saint.

24 thoughts on “Seeing Ethics In September, 9/1/2020…

  1. 5: I skimmed through the rationalizations list, and see this fits as a variation of Donald’s Dodge. Unexpectedly, reading through the List gave a paragraph worth remembering for topic two: Kyle Rittenhouse:

    > But the misconduct of a victim never justifies unethical conduct directed against that victim.

    There is one other legal dissonance that I find mildly amusing–he’s being charged as an adult related to the homicide… But has to be charged as a minor for possession of the weapon.

    • It was almost certainly a 16″ or better barrel. Shorter would be a highly illegal (if unregistered) NFA item; if registered, extremely expensive. Very unlikely for him to have either, I would imagine. (Caveat: Anyone who owns both an AR type pistol and rifle is within seconds of creating such an item, if they wish, but only a real fool would do so and leave it that way or go out in public with it.)

    • I was going to comment on that too. In the long run, I really doubt that he was illegally carrying a rifle. It might have been illegal at the time according to state law (and that seems debatable to me) but I don’t see that surviving a second amendment challenge.

  2. 1. Do you have a link?

    2. A lot of conservatives are sharing the NYT article calling it surprising accurate. I tried to read it but I cannot. Have you seen it?

    3. Washington Post fact checker is even sharing this story. Fact checking is really taking hard hits this week. Politfactbias is doing a good job staying on top of it.

    • You can find it on Twitter (not the article, but a series of excellent tweets by the reporter, who breaks down the various video and audio evidence and explains what’s happening.

      It’s really VERY good analysis, and a good example of the NYT using their vast resources to actually share useful information.

      The “problem” is, having seen this analysis, I’m all but 100% certain that Kyle Rittenhouse was defending himself in all 3 instances. The 2nd two shootings look like clear self-defense, but the Left claims that he was being attacked because he had just murdered a first victim and the men attacking him afterwards were simply heroes trying to disarm a bad guy.

      The video is less conclusive on the first incident, but all the evidence supports witness statements saying that the man killed was charging at Rittenhouse and tried to grab his gun muzzle. Furthermore, Rittenhouse has been trying to escape and evade the group attacking him, making it unlikely that he was “looking for a fight.”

      Worst of all (for the “he’s a mass shooter” narrative,) is the REASON why a mob was chasing Kyle and trying to steal his gun. Video shows the antifa mob setting a dumpster on fire and pushing it at police. Towards a GAS STATION (face palm.) Rittenhouse appears with a fire extinguisher and puts out the fire. This enraged the mob and the man who would later attack Kyle and get shot is clearly the most agitated and wants a fight. He was also a convicted rapist and general scum bag. So there’s that.

      I don’t consider Kyle Rittenhouse a hero, but “he shot three criminals who were trying to kill him because he wouldn’t let them blow up a gas station” doesn’t scream villain, either.

      • >I don’t consider Kyle Rittenhouse a hero, but “he shot three criminals who were trying to kill him because he wouldn’t let them blow up a gas station” doesn’t scream villain, either.

        I would write a folk song about him, if I had the skill. I think it would involve some fantastical elements like rescuing Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan from the clutches of a satanic, cannibal, child-rapist race mob (that would be the crassly literal part) by firing exactly three perfectly-placed shots into the three active aggressors, without harming the swarms of decoys deployed to act as a phalanx of willing victims for use in underhanded litigation against resistance to their villainy (and this too, I need to work on my symbolism). Bunyan would take up his mighty axe and mount his blue ox and Bill his tornado, and the trio would strike out, a three-man army, against the forces of evil.

        Saul has slain his thousands, David his tens-of-thousands, and Rittenhouse only his three!

  3. 3. Shouldn’t this be all over the news, right now? If there is even a rumor of Trump having had any kind of serious medical problem, I would expect the MSM to go hog-wild with it just to get his poll numbers down and all those people voting early a chance to checkmark Biden’s name instead.

    • Did I say otherwise? Yikes, I said “deceased.” Ugh. I’ll fix that.I also wrote “death” I see. And afterv I went through the posy specifically to change all the “was”es to “is.”

    • Do you know how many people don’t even know he’s still alive? They think a cop in Kenosha killed yet another unarmed black man. Bad, intentionally bad and biased reporting.

  4. #2 – I too didn’t know who to trust. So many conflicting reports, and most definitely bad reporting by the MSM.

    I suggest you get the affidavit that the Kenosha DA filed for extradition. (Kenosha is both the city and county name… go figure.) It is most definitely unlike any other charging document I’ve ever read. It pretty well lays out the violence directed at Kyle by the four “victims” he’s charged with killing / harming / attempting to harm. Once I read what was written by the person who’s going to try and convict him, my mind was made up.
    The document states that “victim” number one chased him, cornered him at a dead end and attempted to take the rifle by grabbing at it. “Victim” number two, who escaped unharmed when Kyle missed, chased him, and kicked him in the head. “Victim” number three chased him and hit him with a skateboard, aiming for his head but was blocked and grabbed the rifle barrel with his other hand. “Victim” number four aimed a handgun at him. All of that is stated by the prosecution. No way 12 people call that murder, let alone first degree murder.

    • What I have learned is that antifa know more about video games and movies then they do about real life.

      They think they can just run up like Batman to a guy with a gun and knock him out. As tragic as this all is, we can only hope that this serves as a reality check. However, the antifa accounts I’ve seen online are just saying things like, “I guess we need to get guns” so lesson not learned.

  5. The Jacob Blake story seems much more convoluted than Rittenhouse. Based on the accounts, the scenario below is possible. It would be nice if we has some organization who would gather the facts and let the public know. We could call them journalists.

    Blake was a convicted rapist and had a warrant out for his arrest on sexual assault charges. The 911 call stated that he violated a restraining order by going to a woman’s house, and he had taken her car keys so she couldn’t escape. Did he put their kids in her car, or were those other kids? He has the car keys. There is a restraining order against him. Did she file the sexual assault charges and he is now at her house? Is he trying to kidnap the kids? If so, the police have a violent felon with a warrant who has broken a restraining order and now is about to get in a car with kids and kidnap them. He has a knife. What should they do?

  6. Trump’s Twitter response to the “mini-strokes” speculation is classic Trump, ending as it does with the line, “Perhaps they are referring to another candidate from another party!”

    Love him or hate him, at least he’s entertaining…

  7. Re #2: It probably IS wise to stay away from this one until more facts are known, although it does seem to be in a Nick Sandmann trend toward “things are not as initially claimed”. Even the firearm possession status is yet not established, with questions still open on ownership, supervision, and somewhat unclear Wisconsin laws on the issue. The NBC article linked seems an opinion on only one reported aspect of the defense, and mainly relies on on inferring something that might be implied, but wasn’t actually said, in a SCOTUS decision.

  8. “The video available suggests an element of self-defense, but it seems clear to me that the kid irresponsibly placed himself in a perilous position while provoking members of a less-than-rational mob.”

    I… dont like this. It suggests that that his use of force wasn’t entirely in self defense, only some part of it. I’ve seen the video of him being chased by the mob and his of use of force in that instance was objectively self defense. How he got into that position isn’t relevant to the question of whether he was at that moment facing a serious risk of loss of life or limb.

    Was it irresponsible to confront the mob? Probably. In the same sense that it’s irresponsible for a young woman to walk down a dark alley alone in the middle of the night in a bad neighborhood. Both create serious risk of violence. Is that act unethical though? I can’t say that it is. It’s ethical to offer common sense suggestions like “dont antagonize a mob” or “don’t walk down dark alleys in the middle of the night in bad neighborhoods”. It’s ethical not to do irresponsible things like “confront a mob” or “walk in dangerous areas”. It’s also ethical to walk wherever you damn well please so long as you have the legal right to be there, in the same sense that it’s ethical to counter-protest whoever and whatever you please so long as you have the legal right to be there. The threat of violence against you for doing anything that would otherwise be ethical, shouldn’t and probably can’t be allowed to transform an otherwise ethical activity into an unethical one. To me, this is the third niggardly principle, and Rittenhouse comes out on the right side of it

    • RPE, my position is that it was and is irresponsible for anyone to deliberately go out into a mob with a gun. I also believe that a woman shouldn’t thrust herself into a group of drunken men at a frat party in a bikini, and that a chocolate bunny shouldn’t hop into a Weight Watcher’s meeting.

  9. Jack,
    I found some comments about the Kenosha shooter here: https://www.backwoodshome.com/blogs/MassadAyoob/thoughts-on-the-17-year-old-kenosha-shooter/
    These comments are by Massad Ayoob who has been a use of force expert for many years – qualified as an expert witness for officer involved shooting. In this interview, he is also asked to comment on the officer involved shooting that started the Kenosha riots.

    Another source you may want to look into is Andrew Branca – who is also an expert in firearm law.

    • The first reader comment on that piece is worth a look. In a nutshell, arguing that the authorities rushed to charge Rittenhouse, since it provided a “right-wing shooter” distraction from the likelihood that they don’t actually have the evidence necessary for any charges on the cop who shot Blake, and could end up in a lawsuit mess if they jumped on that.

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