A Rittenhouse Verdict Inventory Of Ethics Heroes, Dunces, Villains And Fools, Part III: Facts Don’t Matter

Above is a comic I never heard of (but one with a regular platform), grandstanding over the Ritterhouse verdict as she reveals that she either has no idea what the facts are in the case, or is deliberately hate-mongering by sending lies into the public consciousness. She tells us that she takes her responsibility to “tell people what they need to know” seriously, and then tells them what isn’t true. “It’s not OK”, she says with great emotion. “For a man to garb a rifle, travel across state lines, and shoot three people and walk free.” In fact, it’s not “OK” for anyone to deliberately misstate the key facts of a controversial episode to the many ignoramuses who may be listening and are likely to be misled.

Rittenhouse did not “grab a rifle” and cross state lines. The law says that it is “OK” for someone—regardless of their race— to defend themselves with deadly force if they reasonably believe his life is at stake. Then she goes on to outright racism, claiming that whites have “always” escaped consequences when they engage in murder. She calls the judge and jury racist, for participating in a trial that acquitted a white man for shooting three other white men.

She seemed like an excellent introduction to this list of similarly dishonest, ignorant or hateful people showing their lack of fairness and critical thinking skills as they descended into hysteria and ugly rhetoric…because so many on the Left are receptive to it. This is not about a difference of legitimate opinion when Americans of note or in positions of influence and responsibility engage in inflammatory declarations based on a false description of what occurred.

Certainly the news media, even more than usual, played its “enemy of the people” role to the hilt, but its flagrant false reporting on the Jacob Blake shooting was four months ago. There is no excuse for anyone with integrity and responsibility still talking about the Kenosha police shooting “an unarmed black man” or representing Blake as anything other than a dangerous outlaw who was engaged in a crime, and justly shot. Because there was no racism or police brutality involved, the protests and riots supposedly prompted by the episode were contrived and based on incompetent (or intentionally incendiary) reporting. The subsequent narrative, that Rittenhouse was opposing “racial justice” and thus a “white supremacist” because he (foolishly, recklessly) sought to mitigate the destruction caused by an ongoing riot (triggered by an incident that only was “racist” in the overheated minds of the reporters and race-hucksters) cannot be defended.

The fools and dunces whose statements are noted below are shooting off their mouths (or social media accounts) in defiance of reality. As Bari Weiss points out in her substack essay (Pointer: John Paul),

To acknowledge the facts of what happened that night is not political. It is simply to acknowledge reality. It is to say that facts are still facts and that lies are lies. It is to insist that mob justice is not justice. It is to say that media consensus is not the equivalent of due process.

And, I would add, it is to say that just because politicians, celebrities, pundits and your Facebook pals are taking a position that literally makes no sense and is based on extreme bias and fantasy is not justification for following the parade.

Below is an incomplete list of the “Facts Don’t Matter” mob. Not surprisingly, I didn’t particularly respect any of these people even before they beclowned themselves in this ethics train wreck. Even so, there are serious problems in the culture (and the educational system) when so many default to gullibility, confusion, miserable logic and emotion. The unethical reaction to the Rittenhouse verdict is, perhaps, more significant than the verdict itself.

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A Rittenhouse Verdict Inventory Of Ethics Heroes, Dunces, Villains And Fools, Part II: Rogues Gallery [Updated!]


Having reviewed the depressing small population of Ethics Heroes in this Ethics Wreck in Part I, I’ll largely leave the determination of which of the following ethics miscreants should be designated as dunces, villains or fools (or all three) to you. In this, I take my lead from the Saturday Night Live game show, “Geek, Dweeb or Spazz?”

However, there are some easily identified Ethics Villains, beginning with

1. The President of the United States, who signed this official statement:

While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken. I ran on a promise to bring Americans together, because I believe that what unites us is far greater than what divides us. I know that we’re not going to heal our country’s wounds overnight, but I remain steadfast in my commitment to do everything in my power to ensure that every American is treated equally, with fairness and dignity, under the law.

I urge everyone to express their views peacefully, consistent with the rule of law. Violence and destruction of property have no place in our democracy. The White House and Federal authorities have been in contact with Governor Evers’s office to prepare for any outcome in this case, and I have spoken with the Governor this afternoon and offered support and any assistance needed to ensure public safety.

Ethics verdict: Despicable and inexcusable.

  • What’s Biden “angry” about? Nobody should be “angry” that a jury did its job, and nobody who paid attention to the trial can be “angry” that a jury couldn’t find Rittenhouse  guilty after the prosecution’s botched case. Anger implies wrongdoing. The President of the United States should never, in any case, express an opinion about a jury’s decision.
  • Does anyone think Biden followed the case carefully, or watched it unfold? His comment is a deliberate pander to the worst of the Democratic base, and does as much to encourage violence as anything Trump said after the election.
  • Moreover, Biden is personally responsible for much of the confusion and anger over the case, having twice called Rittenhouse, falsely, a “white supremacist.”
  • Then he has the gall to say that he promised to “bring Americans together” after he deliberately enabled the race-baiters in Kenosha, and that he believes that every American is treated equally, with fairness and dignity, after he poisoned public opinion against Rittenhouse.

Biden’s not just a weak and addled President. He’s a two-faced, mean-spirited creep.

The rest of the Rittenhouse Rogues Gallery members who can be comfortably designated as Ethics Villains:

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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

Red Ipsa Loquitur: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Statement On The Rittenhouse Verdict

“It’s disgusting and disturbing that someone was able to carry a loaded assault rifle into a protest against the unjust killing of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, and take the lives of two people and injure another — and face absolutely no consequences.”

—–The statement from DCCC Chairman Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.).

Let’s play “Find the False Representations!”

Ethics Quote Of The Week: Ann Coulter

Rittenhouse gun

“Any positive comment about Rittenhouse on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter led to an immediate suspension. GoFundMe refused to allow Rittenhouse’s friends to raise money for his defense. People who did contribute were hunted down, doxxed and fired. The same people who wanted to give Guantanamo war criminals civilian trials think an American who refused to acquiesce in his own murder didn’t deserve legal representation. Kyle Rittenhouse is on trial so that no one will dare stand in the way of the left’s shock troops ever again.”

—Conservative performance artist Ann Coulter, doing that voodoo that she do so well, or something.

Once again, let me emphasize that an “ethics quote” is not necessarily an ethical quote, but rather one that raises important ethics issues. Coulter’s last sentence is so coulterish that calling this an ethical quote would be madness.

Kyle Rittenhouse is on trial because two people were shot dead and one wounded at his hands, and such events usually get citizens put on trial for something. He’s also on trial because prosecutors seldom have the courage and principle to refuse to prosecute when large portions of the community are screaming for blood, have approved of a hysterical riot sparked by an ignorant protest over a justified police shooting, and the news media is egging the hysteria on.

But buried in her usual hyperbole and deliberate flame-throwing, Ann has a point.

I’m proud to say that this is the first time Coulter has been mentioned here since 2017. She literally will say anything that will help her get publicity, generate college speaking gigs, and sell books, so there is no reason to take her seriously. Who knows what she believes, or if she believes anything? The last thing I wrote about Coulter was when she was stumping for Roy Moore to be elected Senator in Alabama: “Ann Coulter tweeted yesterday that it doesn’t matter if Moore is a theocrat, it doesn’t matter if the man who calls gays sub-human perverts is, in fact, a pervert himself; it doesn’t matter that he was kicked off the bench twice as a judge for ignoring the law….what matters is that he’ll vote for Trump’s wall in the Senate. Get help, Ann.”

No, she hasn’t gotten help, but she’s never been stupid, and sometimes she is useful because she publishes facts that the mainstream media withholds (I did use one of Coulter’s screeds as a reference point for a Breonna Taylor fact-check last year.) For example, in the Townhall essay that contains the quote above, Ann reminds us…

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An Important Clarification Regarding The Rittenhouse Trial

Closing Rittenhouse

In yesterday’s post, And The Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman/ George Floyd/ Kyle Rittenhouse Ethics Train Wreck Rolls On….., I wrote in reference to the certifiably terrible closing arguments by both sides in the Rittenhouse trial,

“It looks to me as if Judge Schroeder has stacked the deck: he allowed enough improper summation conduct from the State to ensure a reversal if Rittenhouse is convicted, and also allowed sufficient cheats by the defense to make an acquittal more likely.”

That statement is still accurate as far as it goes, but a friend, colleague and experienced trial lawyer just called to remind me that improper statements or actions in summary arguments in civil and criminal cases that would otherwise justify a mistrial are considered waived if opposing counsel doesn’t make a timely objection.

The judge can (and should) also intervene if an attorney crosses the ethical and legal lines in closing, but my friend emphasizes that most judges won’t, preferring to leave that task to the lawyers. Attorneys, meanwhile, are very reluctant to interrupt an opponent’s closing argument to object. If they do and are over-ruled, they lose credibility with the jury. Mid-closing interruptions are also seen as Golden Rule breaches, though that should not matter: the lawyer’s duty to the client surpasses any obligations to opponents.

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And The Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman/ George Floyd/ Kyle Rittenhouse Ethics Train Wreck Rolls On…..


In the tricky practice of ethics train wreck taxonomy, placing the Rittenhouse trial in the proper category is a challenge. Is the Tale of the Gun-toting Teen its own media bias and activist -fueled social and legal disaster, or is it just an extension of another?

I lean toward assigning this fiasco to the latter category, making it just one more extension of the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman Ethics Train Wreck, which eventually begat the George Floyd Freakout, which in turn led to the contrived outrage over the police shooting of Jacob Blake that spat out Rittenhouse’s unhelpful improvisation. After all, Martin, Floyd and Blake all were episodes that had nothing to do with race but that were hyped into divisive racial controversies and trials by irresponsible demagogues, protesters, politicians and reporters.

What I especially like about attributing all of this societal wreckage into a single ethics train wreck is that it demonstrates just how disastrous President Obama’s inflammatory comments equating Martin to “his son” were—as Ethics Alarms pointed out at the time. Maybe if the blame is squarely placed at the metaphorical fish head, Presidents will stop shooting off their mouths like that. (President Biden, do recall, falsely called Rittenhouse a white supremacist.)

This is all prelude to pointing out what a projectile vomit debacle yesterday’s closing arguments were. Both the prosecution and the defense stomped all over proper criminal trial practice and professional ethics.

For the prosecution…

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