Arghh. Here’s one more thing to blame on Kyle Rittenhouse: in focusing on the deranged reactions to the verdict yesterday, I missed the opportunity to flag the anniversary of a landmark in world ethics: the beginning of the Nuremberg war crime trials on November 20, 1945. The trials were conducted by an international tribunal made up of judicial representatives from the United States, the Soviet Union, France and Great Britain. The defendants faced charges ranging from crimes against peace, to crimes of war, to crimes against humanity. The trials lasted 10 months and consisted of 216 court sessions.
There is no question that had the war turned out differently, it would have been Allied generals and officials facing war crimes charges. It is often said that the trials were unprecedented, but there was a precedent, and it was cited as one at the time: the 1865 trial of Capt. Wirz, the Confederate Commandant of the Andersonville prison. That trial raised many of the same ethical issues as its successor. I have serious reservations about the ethics of the Nuremberg Trials, and I am sure that in this I am reflecting the objections of my father, a WWII veteran who felt they were the height of hypocrisy. “All wars are crimes against humanity,” he said.
On October 1, 1946, 12 Nazi leaders were sentenced to death. Seven others were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 10 years to life, and three were acquitted.
1. Sorry, more Rittenhouse ethics offenses:
- After the verdict came down, a video posted online and filmed by student Deaquan Nichols described Rittenhouse as being charged “with murdering and taking away two beautiful Black lives.” The video appeared on the Instagram account of James Madison University. It is amazing how many people publicize their passionate opinions that are based on no knowledge or understanding of what the hell they are talking about. Is social media at fault for this?
- Here’s the NBA making a fool of itself again:
Rioters are vigilantes, you know….
- More celebrity nonsense: Ellen Burstyn, one of my favorite actresses, tweeted that the verdict showed that the U.S. is ruled by authoritarians. No, dear, an authoritarian government, which most of the anti-Rittenhouse mob would like just fine as long as it was woke enough, would have just declared Rittenhouse guilty and locked him up without requiring the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. “This is a devastating blow.” said Emmy Rossum. Why is a teenager being saved from decades in prison because of a stupid lapse in judgment a “blow” to a millionaire actress? What is the reason for these people’s insane mania to punish this kid for his imagined crimes against anti-white, anti-police fanaticism? I’ve followed court cases and trials for most of my life, and I can’t think of a single decision or verdict that I would describe as a “blow.” (Rossum is virtue-signaling, that’s all.)
- Chelsea Handler delivered a comment that informs us that she can’t be trusted: “Tamir Rice was 12-years-old when he was killed for holding a toy gun. Kyle Rittenhouse killed 2 people and was found not guilty. A justice system built by white people, to benefit white people, while families who have lost loved ones are given no solace.” Tamir Rice wasn’t “killed for holding a toy gun.” He was shot by a poorly trained officer who had been negligently told by a dispatcher that an adult was brandishing a real gun in a public space. If you can’t make your argument using real facts, your entire position is suspect. Does Chelsea realize that the men Rittenhouse shot were also white? It doesn’t sound like it.
2. To be fair, not all actors are knee-jerk morons. Here is “Black Hawk Down” actor Matthew Marsden rebutting a tweeter who lamented that Rittenhouse had “killed innocent people.”
“Anyone wanna educate this guy? You mean the convicted child rapist that threatened to kill him and used the n word over and over? Or the guy that pulled the gun on him? Or the dude that was hitting him in the head with a skateboard? Look into their criminal records.”
This is the information that the defense was blocked from introducing in court, and properly so. However, when the assertion is made that the three men shot by the teen were just dedicated, peaceful, noble social justice protesters and the salt of the earth, that’s called “opening the door.” That’s why the prosecution had to be very careful about characterizing them in exalted terms.
3. Things I learned in a New York Times “news analysis” of the case:
- Some critics of the verdict said that the trial was about “whether people have the right to carry a loaded gun in public.” No wonder they are confused. In Wisconsin, people—of all races— do have the right to carry a loaded gun in public. The trial wasn’t about that, because the law is the law. The vast majority of the railing against the verdict was based on the fact that the jury didn’t ignore the law.
- The New York Times is still publicizing the lie that Rittenhouse carried his gun across state lines. The article included this quote from Josh Horwitz, the executive director of the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence: “Only in America can a 17-year-old grab an assault weapon, travel across state lines, provoke a fight, kill two people and injure another and pay no consequences.” Did the Times note that this was a false characterization? Does a bear use public rest rooms?
- “Unrest” is the agreed-upon cover-word for “riots, violence and looting” when Black Lives Matter is involved. I had begun to notice this a while ago. No mention of rioting in the Times story, just “unrest,” as if the mob that trashed all those Kenosha businesses was just suffering from insomnia.
“Although the weapons charge against Mr. Rittenhouse was dropped, the case against his friend Dominick Black, 19, who purchased the Smith & Wesson military-style semiautomatic rifle for him at an Ace Hardware store in northern Wisconsin in May 2020, is still pending, with a court hearing scheduled next week. Mr. Black faces two counts of intentionally giving a dangerous weapon to a person under 18 causing death, and could face up to six years in prison if convicted, though legal experts say Mr. Rittenhouse’s acquittal will greatly bolster his defense. Yet the failure of prosecutors to secure a conviction — or even successfully pursue a weapons charge against Mr. Rittenhouse — underscored the at times confusing and inconsistently enforced state firearms regulations.”
I sure didn’t know this part of the story. So the 19-year-old who bought the rifle for Rittenhouse may be punished, while the kid who used the gun and shot three people wasn’t. I know, I know: the crime was completed when the gun was given to Rittenhouse, and what he did with it afterwards is irrelevant. I still think jurors are going to have a hard time getting their minds around that one.