A Rittenhouse Verdict Inventory Of Ethics Heroes, Dunces, Villains And Fools, Part I: Not Many Heroes

We should condition ourselves to cherish those public events that lure so many into definitively exposing their character, values and acumen for all to see. The Jacob Blake shooting, the subsequent demonstration and rioting, and the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, all intertwined, constituted such opportunities.

There are very few organizations, publications and individuals who will leave the stage in this annoying act in The Great Stupid drama deserving the designation of Ethics Hero. Rittenhouse certainly doesn’t, and thus the misguided pundits, politicians and others calling him that are dolts. He might be called brave, but bravery without good judgment, skill and experience too often leads to disaster, as it did in this tragedy.

Among the easily identified heroes are, first by several laps, the jury. I thought it was possible that, like the Chauvin jury, the twelve citizens might yield to the unethical public pressure being placed on them and refuse to see the reasonable doubt that made a conviction of Rittenhouse unjust as a matter of law, once the non-felony charges were dismissed. They didn’t yield, and delivered the fair and correct verdict despite irresponsible statements by elected officials who should know better, a less than sterling performance by Rittenhouse’s defense, credible threats of rioting in their community if they refused to follow the Black Lives Matter/Antifa script, and legitimate concerns about their own safety. Continue reading

Kyle Rittenhouse Ethics, Part 1

Kenosha

What a mess.

I could write about six freestanding posts about this incident, the resulting trial, and the nauseating news media spin being placed on the matter from both sides of the political spectrum. I, however, have a limited attention span for people and events this annoying. Two will have to do.

To begin with, this whole fiasco arose out of the Kenosha, Wisconsin, Black Lives Matter rioting, easily the least defensible of all last summer’s uprisings over presumed racism where there was none. It’s a close contest, with the Briana Taylor riots in Louisville and the Atlanta rioting over the jerk killed at the Wendy’s after he tried to shoot a taser at a cop, running close behind. But the riots over the shooting of Jacob Blake were even less justified than these, and no rioting is ever justified. Blake was a felon, he was in the act of a crime, he was harassing his alleged rape victim, he was armed, and he was placing children in peril. He should have been shot, and his race was irrelevant. Never mind: both the NBA and Major League Baseball allowed players to engage in one-day strikes over the incident, though they didn’t know the facts. Ugh.

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Is The George Floyd Freakout Finally Waning?

Oh, probably not, but there are some hopeful signs.

After the death by ambiguous causes of an African American petty hood resisting arrest at the hands, well, the knee, of a habitually brutal cop who should have been kicked off the force long before, absent any evidence whatsoever that the death was intentional or that it was motivated by race, police officers across the nation have been vilified, fired, prosecuted and generally abused virtually every time an African-American, and sometimes even a white citizen, died or was wounded in a police-involved shooting. This insanity, hysteria, freakout, deliberate exploitation, what ever you choose to call it, resulted in law enforcement around the nation being weakened, black communities being made more vulnerable to crime, a mass exodus of police officers, and an unprecedented spike in murders nation-wide. There were other horrible effects too, like the sudden acceptance of anti-white racism and discrimination as “restorative justice,” and the ascent of Kamala Harris to the office of Vice-President, but this is just an introduction.

Last week, however, two decisions in police-involved deaths showed that sanity might be creeping back.

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Good! No Charges For The Officers Involved In The Kenosha, Wis. Shooting Of Jacob Blake

riots

Now come the mostly peaceful riots.

I wish I were kidding. The Wisconsin National Guard was activated on Monday ahead of the charging decision announced today. 500 soldiers were sent to Kenosha, businesses have been boarded up and fencing has been erected around a local courthouse. When Blake was shot seven times and left paralyzed after the August 23 incident in which he disobeying officers’ lawful commands, struggled with police while resisting arrest, and attempted to enter the driver’s side door of his car, all after violating a court order and returning to harass a women he had been accused of raping, Kenosha was subjected to extensive Black Lives Matter-led riots. There was citywide unrest, looting and violence toward law enforcement; approximately a hundred cars burned, businesses were ransacked and there were violent attacks on police, with one uniformed officer knocked unconscious after he was struck by a brick.

Though Blake had an extensive criminal record and was threatening a woman at the time of his arrest, the shooting prompted the NBA, WNBA and Major League Baseball players to boycott their own games. These players knew nothing about Blake other than the fact that he was black and was shot by police officers.

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Ethics On A Rainy Day, 9/10/2020: Customer Service, Rights On Campus, And Kamala Harris Is Still Embarrassing Herself

1. I worry about sounding like Andy Rooney or George Costanza’s father, but I have a lot of problems with these people!

  • One of our medical insurance carriers who is paid automatically from our account sold its customers to another company. It didn’t tell us, didn’t write us, didn’t alert us at all. The new company wrote a letter, which got tossed because we assumed it was junk mail.  Of course, the new company wasn’t getting the automatic payment, so after three months, it cancelled the coverage. I learned about this when a drug that typically cost three bucks for 90 pills  was suddenly 12 times that when I went to the pharmacy to pick it up.
  • A certain bar association that will not be mentioned alerted me to a dues issue and some missing information. The letter said, “Do not hesitate to call [this number].” When I called that number, I got a message that said that the office was temporarily closed “due to Covid 19” —I guess they meant the Wuhan virus—and there was no opportunity to leave a message.
  • Having switched to Comcast from AT&T, I have discovered that when you call Comcast information at 411 and ask for “Comcast customer service,” the computer says that there is no record of that number.

2. Admittedly, pointing out that Kamala Harris is shockingly dim is like shooting fish in a barrel, but her comments about the Jacob Blake shooting are so frighteningly unethical—incompetent, irresponsible.

First, she said  in a CNN interview that based on the video of Jacob Blake’s shooting, the white police officer who shot him should be charged, insisting that it was “very clear” that the charges should be “considered in a very serious way and that there should be accountability and consequence.” (And why does she talk like that?) First, as we have discussed here regarding episodes like Barack Obama impugning George Zimmerman before the facts were known and the various officials pronouncing Officer Chauvin guilty, as well as Wisconsin’s Governor and Lt. Governor doing the same regarding Blake’s shooters, this kind of mouthing off by elected officials robs defendants of the right to a fair trial. When President Nixon said, in 1970, that Charles Manson was “guilty, directly or indirectly, of eight murders without reason,”  Manson’s attorneys immediately demanded a mistrial, saying Nixon had irredeemably tainted the jury pool.  It was just moral luck that the motion failed.

Then Harris decided to visit Blake’s family with Blake himself participating by phone, and gushed, “I mean, they’re an incredible family.And what they’ve endured, and they just do it with such dignity and grace. And you know, they’re carrying the weight of a lot of voices on their shoulders.”

Blake broke into the home of his ex-girlfriend in May, allegedly raped her, stole her car keys and debit card and fled the scene. Wisconsin issued  an open warrant for Blake’s arrest for third-degree sexual assault and a restraining order which Blake violated, thus prompting the fateful police confrontation, where he resisted arrest and placed one officer in a headlock.

Blake’s father, meanwhile, has posted racist and anti-Semitic rants on social media.

What an incredible family! Continue reading

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? Continue reading

I’ll Try To Stop This From Being A Rant, But I’m Not Promising Anything…[Corrected]

When The Great Stupid starts affecting my enjoyment of baseball, it’s personal.

I’m not watching another baseball game this “season,” and whether I ever do again is up for grabs. Someone in Major League Baseball’s marketing department should take notice, because when the game loses people like me—that is, lifetime, sophisticated, passionate fans, it’s in trouble.  For almost 15 years, I never missed a single Boston Red Sox game.  I’ve watched games in 13 different parks and stadiums; I shared a season ticket to the Baltimore Orioles for several years. I managed hundreds of Strat-O-Matic table top baseball games; along with two friends, I created and marketed a Red Sox trivia game in 1986. In 1978, I risked my job at Georgetown by walking out of a mandated staff meeting because the Red Sox-Yankee single game play-off was about to start, and  I wasn’t about to miss it.

I just gave a Smithsonian Associates program on baseball. Most of all, much of my personal philosophy was built on baseball observations and experiences. Fenway Park is the single place on earth where I am entirely happy, and I choke up every time Robert Redford gives his “God, I love baseball” speech in “The Natural.”

This week, however, baseball players refused to play their games in solidarity with an obnoxious NBA protest. I take it as a personal insult, and the fact that MLB took no action against the players as signature significance. These people are not merely unethical fools, but unethical fools who are smug and arrogant about it.

I will not waste my valuable time and fragile emotions rooting for such people. I have more self-respect than that.

This week’s madness..CUE!!!!

…began with the NBA’s players spontaneously deciding to boycott their games. Again, the supine league decided to let them do it, making vague virtue-signalling noises about how they support the players’ activism in pursuit of “social justice.” Well, let me refine that: it really began when the evil NFL, which happily makes billions encouraging players to destroy their brains, decided at the outset of the George Floyd Freakout to not only allow widespread Kaepernicking, but to encourage it. Next we had pro baseball and basketball  trying to top each other in betraying their obligations to fans of their teams and sport by endorsing not just political messages embraced by players and exhibited in the stadiums, but offensive or infuriatingly meaningless ones. Continue reading