If Kyle Rittenhouse is convicted of anything other than, at most, a misdemeanor offense, I will write glowing articles about AOC, Nancy Pelosi and Larry Krasner. I will make Christine Blasey Ford my social media profile photo, and contribute to NARAL. And to top it all off, I’ll put my pronouns (she/her/you figure it out) in my electronic email signature.
Kyle Rittenhouse trial — Judge dismisses misdemeanor gun charge in homicide trial
That should give you some idea as to how convinced I am that the jury will find Rittenhouse not guilty on the most serious charges, including first degree intentional homicide. I am taking a bit of a risk in doing this, because I once wagered that the Eagles were not going to win the Super Bowl and was forced to wear a pink pussy hat on the pages of a local newspaper. That photo lives forever, in infamy, on the internet.
But this time is different. This time, the law aligns with justice, which is not a common confluence. This time, I am praying that the media will not be able to railroad a young man into a conviction, and a social movement will not be able to graft its irrelevant and highly offensive mandate onto a criminal prosecution. In other words, I hope that Black Lives Matter will not claim this scalp, and the talking heads at CNN and MSNBC, not to mention their fellow travelers in the print media, will have to stand down in shame. And I hope that this time, a mediocre and politically motivated prosecutor will not be able to advance his career on the body of am 18 year old white boy, who has now become the symbol of all that the left hates.
Kyle Rittenhouse is guilty of only one thing: youthful stupidity, and a failure to understand that all of your best intentions are no match for nihilistic anarchists hell bent on burning down the only world you’ve ever known.
Not being a criminal attorney, you have to take my assessment of the legal aspects of this case with a grain of salt. I make no pretense of expertise in this area of the law, and have to rely on those who actually are. One former prosecutor thinks the government not only over-charged the case, but managed to undermine its own arguments with witnesses who buttress the defendant’s claim of self-defense. Another thinks the prosecutor is horrible, but wonders whether Kyle’s trip to Kenosha bearing weapons will have some impact on the jury.
There’s a healthy split of opinion in the legal community on whether Rittenhouse proved self -defense, and we won’t know which side called it correctly until the jury weighs in (or the judge sets aside a jury verdict that completely misses the mark) And frankly, that’s where we should be looking for guidance, from the lawyers.
Unfortunately, a lot of other people have opinions about this case, which has become as much a reflection of the troubled social climate as the O.J. trial was almost three decades ago. Who can forget the antics of the attorneys (“If the glove won’t fit, you must acquit”) the colorful witnesses (Kato “The Freeloading Houseguest” Kaelin) the shifty investigators (Mark “I didn’t plant that glove” Fuhrman) and the star-struck judge (“I’m ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille”) Ito. I remember that when the not guilty verdict was rendered, the country reacted as if they’d seen two separate trials. African Americans, on the whole, were thrilled that a Black man had somehow beaten the system while a majority of the rest of us were horrified at the obvious miscarriage of justice.
Thirty years later, I have to reflect on my own reaction to the O.J. debacle. It was, in fact, a debacle, because there is no question that even though the prosecutors did a particularly mediocre job, O.J. was factually guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. If you insist on believing that he was framed, all I can say as a woman born below the Mason Dixon line is, “Bless your heart.” The point, though, is that this trial reflected the maelstrom in which we found ourselves in the 1990s, mixing race with celebrity and violence against women. A perfect societal storm.
Not much has changed. As I posted on Facebook, “Let’s be honest, folks. The way that lay observers view the Rittenhouse trial is rooted in how they feel about Black Lives Matter. I despise BLM, but I was able to see that Derek Chauvin’s conviction was legitimate, given the circumstances of the offense. And in that case, race was an issue that you needed to address. Here, though, defendant, prosecutor, judge, deceased: all white. And still, those who are blinded by BLM will continue to twist themselves into rhetorical and quasi legal pretzels trying to argue that a young man who had people chasing him, and who had one point a gun at him point blank, was not justified in defending himself. And the reason? Race. Period.”
It is ironic that a case involving a white defendant, white shooting victims, a white prosecutor, a white judge, and white defense attorneys, is still somehow a referendum on the amount of melanin in your skin. It is O.J. redux, only this time the domestic violence angle is replaced by hatred of Trump and MAGA culture.
That’s incredibly troubling. We have Harvard Law grad Elie Mystel calling the presiding Judge Bruce Schroeder a “racist” and arguing that Rittenhouse will get off only because he knows “what white people are willing to do to defend white supremacy.”
You have that washed-up, bitter geriatric Keith Olbermann calling for a prosecution of the “racist” judge. You have CNN commentator Wajahat (I call him WahWahWajahat) Ali comparing the judge to a Klan member, tweeting, “This dude should just put on the hood and show off his Halloween costume.” And these are just the printable comments.
Then, perhaps most troubling, is candidate Joe Biden using a photo of Kyle Rittenhouse as the face of “white supremacy” in an ad last year. Nice way to put a target on the back of a criminal defendant, Joe.
I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that the left is again out in full force using that sad, tired trope of racism. It’s been effective since well before the days of O.J. But as an attorney who respects her profession, I’m disgusted by the sort of people who will use their own obvious prejudices to convict an 18 year old of murder when their lying eyes tell them otherwise.
And because my faith in my fellow Americans has been shaken to its core by these ridiculous displays of bigotry on the part of those who should know better, I’m preparing myself for next week, and that upcoming contribution to NARAL. I pray to God I’m spared that hell.
Christine Flowers is an attorney. Her column appears Sunday and Thursday. Email her at [email protected],com.
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