There will be various ethics matters to consider in coming days regarding the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, but for now I am occupied with a hypothetical ethical dilemma.. Ready to board the Kyle Rittenhouse Ethics Train Wreck?
I heard a member of Rittenhouse’s family speaking about how Kyle could now get on with his life. He’s going to college, or intends to. Hmmmmm….
If you were involved in the admissions process of a relatively competitive college with a national reputation, would you favor admitting Kyle Rittenhouse? Let’s assume that he has good enough grades and test scores to be admitted to your school, but neither such outstanding credentials that he is a lock, nor a dearth of qualifications that would normally justify rejecting him even if he wasn’t a divisive and controversial figure.
I personally decided that Ben &Jerry’s outrageously expensive ice cream for the Woke and Wonderful would never cross through Marshall doors when it created a flavor honoring partisan hate-monger Stephen Colbert. The company’s cynical political pandering has only gotten worse since. Perhaps the most nauseating aspect of the company’s pose is that it’s obviously a marketing plan to appeal to ice-cream loving progressives. The real Ben and Jerry sold off the brand years ago, like any good socialists, accepting millions to allow a multi-national corporation to pretend it’s the founder as it spouts simple-minded leftist talking points. This tweet, however, charged into Ethics Alarms Popeye territory…
Remaining ethics notes in no special order, (but numbered because numbers work better than bullet points in WordPress’s terrible “block” system):
1. No evidence has surfaced indicating that Rittenhouse is a “white supremacist.” Nonetheless, many news media sources have reported that he is. Worse, Joe Biden has said so twice, once as a candidate and once since his election. Kyle’s mother appeared on Fox News and accused Joe Biden of defaming her son to win votes. That’s as good an explanation as any, I guess.
2. Trump Derangement is embedded in the trial. The Great Stupid moment par exellance: while Rittenhouse was on the stand, a cell phone tone rang out. It belonged to the phone of Judge Schroeder, and was Lee Greenwood’s patriotic country anthem “God Bless the U.S.A.” This immediately sparked deranged pundits and activist to demand the judge’s removal, because Donald Trump likes the song and has played it at rallies.
Morons. What songs a judge likes or doesn’t like isn’t evidence of any bias or conflict of interest whatsoever, and while the news media wants this trial seen as such, it’s not political. However, some judges have punished lawyers for allowing a cell phone to disrupt testimony. For a judge to have his own phone ring is bad.
3. Someone was explaining to me that the judge was biased because he appeared to be “anti-rioter.” All judges and all citizens should be anti-rioter.
4. Judge Schroederalso has been criticized for allowing the defense to use terms like looters and rioters but banning the prosecution from calling those shot by Rittenhouse as “victims.” As for the former, they were rioters and looters. There is no reason to disguise it. I agree with the “victims” ruling as well. I’ve often wondered about permitting the word in such trials: “victim” is an ambiguous term that can imply innocence. One meaning is “someone who is subjected to oppression, hardship, or mistreatment.” Someone who is killed in self-defense hasn’t been mistreated. The word biases the trial against a defendant like Rittenhouse.
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.
Apropos to this morning’s post: I just read a thread on Facebook entirely populated by people I knew, some of whom have defriended me. They are mostly lawyers, and after reading what was written, I could only comment that their conversation was deranged. I didn’t feel like arguing with people who could really write that if the Democrats didn’t win in November, Americans would lose their civil rights (when it is the ideological compatriots of these individuals who are stripping away the rights of free speech and association, championing race-based policies, and condemning the President for insisting that universities observe due process when a student is accused of sexual misconduct. How can they write that? What happened to them? Then there was the section of the thread in which they discussed that the President was certain to refuse to leave office if he is defeated, and my personal favorite, the assertion that those defending Kyle Rittenhouse are racists.
These are lawyers. They were taught about the requirement that every individual has a right to a fair trial, which means that he or she must not be pronounced guilty in the court of public opinion before all the facts are known, and proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. They should know, as I do, D.C. Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2 (b), which says, “A lawyer’s representation of a client, including representation by appointment, does not constitute an endorsement of the client’s political, economic, social, or moral views or activities.” Moreover, it is very likely that Rittenhouse, if he is ever tried, will be found not guilty. Did these deranged lawyer watch the video? I hope not, or they have really lost it. Rittenhouse acted in self-defense, and appears to be in the process of being railroaded by a racially biased justice system in Wisconsin, driven by the media and uninformed public opinion. I’ve seen the video. I’ve also been a prosecutor. I would not charge him, just as would not charge the officer who shot Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta. I’ve also been a defense attorney, and I would take on Rittenhouse’s defense confident that I had a winning case.
I also was struck by the snide comment about those who object to “Black Lives Matter” signs being obvious racists. I flagged that group as being a racist hate group when it first raised its ugly, divisive head, and damn right I object to seeing signs extolling a group responsible for riots, arson, and terrorizing diners in D.C. by demanding that they raise their fists.
Finally, these formerly rational professionals—who were once even as you or I! —-had the gall to talk about how Republicans and conservatives were promoting violence and a civil war. Yes, the end of the spectrum that includes the antifa, the rioters, and a party that has worked for four years to undermine our democratic processes, is really accusing others of seeking division and violence. This warrants FOUR standard Ethics alarms clips: This one,
…this one, of course,
…I have to use this one, though these people one were not morons…
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 →