AS GOES KENOSHA, SO GOES AMERICA
Or, The Arrow Lands.
Kyle Rittenhouse has been acquitted.
Rittenhouse should not have killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz. He should not have gone to that "freedom fighting" riot as its great savior, and he should not have gone to the party with a gun.
The guys Rittenhouse killed were not good guys, and they were not peaceful protestors. Both had criminal records. One was a convicted pedophile and the other was convicted of many domestic abuse crimes, many times, and kidnapping. One poor fellow was fresh out of a mental institution. But they weren't given death sentences for their several crimes, and Rittenhouse had no right to give them that death sentence either.
But I wasn't there. Nor was anyone else leveling judgement in the media or the market square. The only group who has spent hours and hours examining what happened are the lawyers for the defense and prosecution, and the jury. And this is the judgement the jury rendered.
This is not a blow against, or for, any one so-called "race." It's a verdict from a sensible body of citizens, one they arrived at with sober deliberation and I’m sure a clear and very worried idea of the consequences of their judgement. But what came before is as important as what happened today, if we are to understand it.
This entire event is the consequence of a nation gone mad with un-self examined purposelessness and wild, directionless rage; of a populace that has lost all sense of reason and civility; of mob justice on all sides. It’s a consequence of the dereliction of duty by elected leaders charged with maintaining peace in this nation of laws, because they kiss the boot of the madness themselves, and of a gelded police force, defunded, demoralized and looking for new jobs by the hundreds.
This is the consequence of pawns lacking education and intelligence sufficient to think for themselves and who choose violence over peaceful process in an impotent effort to stop the screaming in their own heads over their sense of meaninglessness in a meaningless world. Poorly educated, raised on lousy food with parents away at work at all hours or absent altogether, this is a mob of weak minds with savage plans, slaves to their firestorming emotions.
Add these consequences up, and the outcome is Kenosha. Portland. Minneapolis. And the outcome was completely predictable. Completely predictable.
The arrow lands where it is aimed.
And yes. This is the outcome that finds Rittenhouse, as much a pawn as all the rest, going there with a gun, and pulling the trigger. Rittenhouse, Rosenbaum, Huber, Grosskreutz. These are all characters in the same dumb show.
It's certainly not the outcome of good people marching peacefully in the cause of advancing humanity further toward equal opportunity and justice for all. Or a teenaged hero, come to save the city. It's complicated.
But it certainly was pre-ordained. As Freddie deBoer says in his rich essay well prior to today’s acquittal, “You endorsed chaotic violence. In that state, someone you don’t like engaged chaotically and violently. You said “riots are good.” But people get killed in riots! Now two people are dead, another is maimed, and the guy responsible may very well walk, as his actions took place against a backdrop of lawlessness and gunfire that gave him the legal arguments he needs to be acquitted. What else did you expect to happen, in that scenario? How did you think this would all go, this peacocking endorsement of violence for its own sake? Reap what you sow. Reap what you sow.”
I'm not a jury member, so all I can do is think about what I see, and to be certain of only a few things: it's a bad idea to riot; to go to a riot with a gun; and to mutually engage in violence. It's a terrible thing, to kill anyone. For everyone.
It's also a bad idea to confuse this with anything other than the result of all of these predestined dominoes falling. None of it was about justice, none of it was about racism or any movement that addresses racism.
And that brings us to darkness falling on good old Portland tonight. If it's not too cold or rainy, and presuming Mayor Wobbly-Wheeled Wheeler and District Attorney Don't Give a Sh*t Schmidt respond with their usual wan timorousness, we'll see windows broken and businesses destroyed in the name of justice. We’ll see terrified citizens, and another parlous tear in our fraying social fabric.
Hell, "freedom fighting" Portlanders wreak $500K worth of havoc just for grins on a regular Wednesday, right? Some folks have book clubs. They just have clubs.
I'm betting they'll double that $500K number tonight. They'll come with their stupid guns and idiot rage, just like Rosenbaum, Huber, Grosskreutz and Rittenhouse did in Kenosha.
And that's also a really, really bad idea.