Education Reform

Charles Pierce: Do You Feel Safer After the Kenosha Trial?

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Charles Pierce is a wonderful writer who has a regular column in Esquire magazine. He often seems to write just what I was thinking. If you truly believe in law and order, which Republicans say they do, you can’t be happy that Rittenhouse killed two people and maimed a third, and will suffer no consequences. To the contrary, Rightwing extremists—now in control of the Republican Party—are treating him as a hero.

Pierce writes:

So the country is pretty broken.

The fact that Kyle Rittenhouse walked away free from the courthouse in Kenosha cannot be a surprise. The trial was headed on a straight line to this verdict for weeks, nudged along by a judge who clearly was enjoying the spotlight that had come down on his private little satrapy, and by a mediocre prosecution that also was hamstrung by the quirks of Wisconsin law. For example, there is no state manslaughter statute, which surely might have been helpful.

The most poignant words out of the courthouse came from the families of the two people Rittenhouse killed, Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, who said that they felt abandoned by the prosecution, that the prosecutors did not seem to advocate for the dead and wounded. Given that, in almost every trial, the prosecution spares nothing to use the family members of the victims to inspire sympathy from the jury—and, occasionally, from the judge as well—the fact that the families of the people whom Kyle Rittenhouse killed felt abandoned strikes me as extraordinary. I don’t know where all the Victims’ Rights firebrands are, but they weren’t in Kenosha. Hell, the people Kyle Rittenhouse shot weren’t even allowed to be referred to as victims in court.

What I do not feel right now is safer.

I’ve tried to imagine how I would have felt were I on a sidewalk in Kenosha that night and saw this pudgy little fellow walking up the center of the street with his AR-15, preferred weapon of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, strapped across his chest. I guarantee I would not have felt safer. I would not believe that Kyle Rittenhouse was there to protect me. Upon seeing him, I would’ve concluded that things were getting dangerously out of control and that it was time to find some safe place to be for a while. I would wonder why somebody gave Lumpy Rutherford a military-grade weapon and turned him loose in a situation already grown volatile…

It is only a matter of time, and after yesterday’s verdict, you can reset the Doomsday Clock a little closer to midnight.

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