I’m sorry about the apparent obsession here with the Rittenhouse case, but I believe that the episode has ethical significance on many levels, particularly in the way it demonstrates that toxic progressive bias has headed into end game territory, sort of like with rabies when a victim becomes afraid of water.
What we are seeing and hearing is ugly and would be frightening if it wasn’t so self-evidently irrational. I guess we have seen other examples where political fanaticism causes vast numbers of previously functional Americans to blow out their critical reasoning fuses for all to see, but right now I can’t think of one so striking. Groups that cease to be capable of reason tend not to do very well after a while.
Yes, Steve-O-in NJ has another Comment of the Day, and yes, it’s long, but it touches perceptively on too many important matters to let go by. I especially admire his description of the “chain reaction.” (I could not disagree with his last sentence more, however.)
So, the verdict is in and Kyle Rittenhouse walks on all charges. I thought about it, and as an attorney who has occasionally worked civil rights cases I do not see any bases for federal civil rights charges against him. Most of the federal civil rights statute has to do with punishing those who act under color of law to deprive individuals of their constitutional rights. Those statues are generally designed to bring down law enforcement officers who abuse their authority for no good reason. There is also the question of a hate crime, however, there has been no allegation nor proof that anyone he killed was a member of a protected class killed because they were a member of protected class.
The Federal statutes are simply not designed to give the federal government a second bite at every state murder prosecution that fails to make. I suppose the Feds could try to cobble together gun charges or terrorism charges (but that’s a very long stretch). However, they would still have to draw a jury pool from Wisconsin, and all of Wisconsin has now seen this trial and knows this would be just an attempt to punish someone for a crime he was already acquitted of. Jerry Nadler should have known better then to suggest this, but he was simply pandering to his base and his party’s base.
This was another classic domino situation of one breach of the law leading to more as described by the Hon. Guido Calabresi, senior judge of the Second Circuit Court of appeals, in an address at my law school graduation. Things were already tense in this country because George Floyd decided he would break the law and pass fake money, then resist arrest while high as a kite, then Derek Chauvin decided he would break the law and press George Floyd against the ground with his knee until he was fatally injured, then a huge number of people decided they would break the law and riot, then a whole lot of public officials decided they would break the law and fail to do their sworn duty to protect the people. While the nation was still reeling from this, Jacob Blake decided he would break the law and resist a lawful arrest, officers got heavy handed, and still more people decided they would break the law and riot, set fires, and destroy and ransack property that was not theirs to destroy or ransack. Kyle Rittenhouse unwisely decided to get involved in this mess, while armed. Three individuals with lengthy criminal records decided they would break the law and violate common sense and attack Kyle and try to kill him while he was armed for the rifle. Finally Kyle found himself with no alternative but to open fire, killing two and wounding a third.
This is not how it is supposed to be. An arrest is not supposed to result in a death. Individuals are not supposed to try to fight the police. Individuals are supposed to cooperate with law enforcement, then deal with the issue in court. People are not supposed to respond to an injustice by trying to ransack or destroy property that does not belong to them and that has nothing to do with the injustice.
Ordinary people are supposed to be able to go about their lives without the fear that they will be swept up in a de facto insurrection against the civil authority. The civil authorities are supposed to keep protests peaceful and limited to the point that it does not disrupt the lives of ordinary people. It should not fall on ordinary citizens to feel like they have to protect property through the use of violence.
Convicted criminals should not be using protests as a cover for stealing, assault, and general mayhem. Individuals should not attack one another like a pack of wolves trying to bring down what they think is prey. If individuals do attack one another, it should not come as a surprise when those attacked defend themselves. Mess with a horse, get kicked, mess with a bull, get the horns, and mess with an armed man, get a bullet in you.
It’s not supposed to come to this. Government generally could have probably stopped it from coming to this if they’d acted appropriately 7 years ago in Ferguson and 6 years ago in Baltimore. I don’t remember any of this happening in Ferguson, but I specifically remember in Baltimore that several armed citizens/tea partiers/whatever set themselves up to guard certain properties, since the police weren’t doing it. In fact the Baltimore Police Department wasn’t doing much because they were told not to do much. Things only ended there when officers came in from who knows how many other jurisdictions to put down this de facto insurrection.
It should have been ended much quicker. Government should have sent the message that “it doesn’t matter what you are angry about, violence and destruction of property can not and will not be of and the rule of law will not be overturned,” instead, government sent the message that “if you are angry enough and we agree with you, you can do whatever you want and we will look the other way.”
The Rittenhouse jury saw that, and sent the message that we won’t turn a blind eye on destruction and mayhem while we single those who do defend themselves out for prosecution. This nation is not grade school where the principal would constantly turn a blind eye to bullying, but would suspend any kid who fought back against the bullies.
It’s time for the ordinary people of this nation to take back control and take back their neighborhoods, and it just might have started here.
As to these discovered words of non-wisdom, why even bother? Keith Overbite is apparently channeling Dan Savage. Been there, done that, not impressed. Next! We all know Krappernick’s, and it got old 3 years ago. Next! In fact, none of these idiots is bringing anything new to the table. We’ve seen it, heard it, read it, and a lot of the ordinary people of this nation just aren’t buying it anymore. Maybe some folks will look back on last year through emotionally addled eyes and call it the greatest year in our history since 1967, when the black community said no more, and, aided by a lot of liberal allies, changed everything for the better. Those of us who were there will say otherwise.
I think our best year is probably going to be 2024, when Trump comes roaring back to finish unfinished business, and Biden goes down in history as 46th of 46.