Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Last week’s not guilty verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder case came as no surprise to me. Rittenhouse had a $2 million defense fund amassed through former President Donald Trump and his acolyte, Florida U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz. I knew Rittenhouse wouldn’t be convicted.
One of the things I have learned in trying to understand such incomprehensible matters is to look at history. It will always shed light on why and how these things happen. Usually, money is involved.
As to recent history connected to the Rittenhouse not guilty verdict, he traveled as a 17-year-old white boy from Antioch, Illinois, to Kenosha, Wisconsin, a year or so ago, armed with an illegally obtained AR-15 rifle loaded with full metal jacket-type bullets. He said his purpose was to protect businesses and homes in that city after days of Black Lives Matter protests. They were spurred by a police shooting that left Jacob Blake, an African American man, paralyzed from the waist down.
While in Kenosha, Rittenhouse killed two men (both white) and blew the arm off another. He said it was self-defense, even though none of his three victims attacked him with deadly intent. But with a big-money defense team orchestrating, he curiously took the stand in his own behalf, gave a carefully rehearsed testimony and even burst into an extended period of sobbing in front of the televised court proceedings.
As to videotapes shown during his trial, Rittenhouse looked like a Boy Scout who impulsively rode from his home to Kenosha. He said the AR-15 was merely for his protection.
Before letting him go back home after the shootings, police gave him a bottle of water and thanked him for coming to their aid.
Several other facts:
• The judge appeared to be antagonistic toward the prosecution and excoriated them on several occasions
• The jury was selected by lottery by the accused. Of the 12 men and women, only one was Black.
• The prosecution did its work from a political standpoint, not a factual one.
• Wealthy conservatives donate to groups like BLM so that they can have their violent minions infiltrate.
There’s more, but I’ll stop there. There is a bigger picture.
Small numbers of Blacks have lived in Kenosha since the beginning of the 19th century. With the rise of the Black population during the Great Migration, however, Kenosha and the rest of Wisconsin proved not to be such a welcoming place. Kenosha is now one of the worst places for African Americans to live in America.
Since the 1954 Brown vs. Topeka Supreme Court ruling in favor of desegregation of public schools and on into the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, Blacks were brutalized, marginalized and ostracized in Kenosha. Although the city is now about 10% African American, Blacks remain concentrated in one section of the city.
Whites left the inner city of Kenosha and moved to the suburbs, leaving Blacks concentrated where whites once lived. By all social justice metrics — health, housing, education, business development and ownership, and employment — Blacks are at the bottom of the ladder.
According to some sociologists writing about other cities, a Black man with a college degree in Kenosha has less of a chance of getting the same job as a white person with a high school diploma.
This is not just whining. Because of their typically low income, many Blacks are stuck there. They can’t afford to move to nearby Chicago, where the cost of living is so high. So they stay in Kenosha and fight for their rights as best they can.
Also, the quality-of-life issues I mentioned earlier are not just fancy percentages. They play out in life-and-death consequences.
With the increases in violence in cities across the country, any community could explode into violence. Why would any 17- or 18-year-old be allowed to carry a deadly rifle in this environment? Vigilantism is on the rise.
Kyle Rittenhouse is not a hero. He is a child vigilante, or maybe a harbinger of things to come.
Have a nice holiday.