Kass on Rittenhouse (one of his best editorials)
If only Kyle Rittenhouse could ask Biden and media “Have you no sense of decency?”
By John Kass
A jury has loudly issued “not guilty” verdicts in the malignant political prosecution of Illinois teenager Kyle Rittenhouse.
And now, what next?
What happens to corporate media—and its phony social justice warrior pundits–who savaged Rittenhouse and used race, when race had nothing to do with the case? They egged on the mob that screamed for the young man’s head on a pike, and now they’re still at it even after the verdict. They got their clicks out of him, and now they expect what, exactly? That we’ll forget how they howled even before the first witness testified?
And what of the politicians, from President Joe Biden on down, who falsely and maliciously defamed the teenager as a “white supremacist” before trial, though no such evidence was ever presented. Biden and company fed him to the mob, stepping on justice for votes.
Can you sue a president for libel, even a witless meat puppet like The Big Guy?
The thing is tragic. Two men are dead. He’s no hero. He’ll carry the stain of this forever. The kid should never have been there that night with his gun in the chaos of the riots in Kenosha. But he was there. And in America, at least for now, you can still defend your life when others try to take it from you.
At least the jury got it right. They heard the evidence. They considered the testimony and acquitted Rittenhouse. He shot three men in self defense, one who tried to bash his head in with a skateboard, one who tried to take his gun, and the third who pointed a gun at him. The mayor and the governor had withdrawn law enforcement, turning the streets over to the rioters who burned buildings that some fools in media called a “mostly peaceful” protest.
And prosecutors revealed themselves, rushing to charge Rittenhouse before all the facts were in. By doing so, they showed this was a purely political prosecution. And they failed.
If they’d succeeded, the kid who cried on the witness stand could have been sentenced to life in prison. How would he survive inside, a kid like that? He wouldn’t. A kid like that wouldn’t survive five minutes. The media that twisted and shaped the facts to suit a political narrative, and politicians who benefitted from narrative support would have moved on with their lives. And Rittenhouse, if put in a state prison, would be dead or wish he were dead.
I wonder if Biden and his Democrat and media allies ever read “The Ox-Bow Incident” that was made into a great classic movie in the early 1940s. It is about a posse that becomes righteous and lynches three innocent men. I suspect a few politicians and media read it, at least those who read more than their own Twitter feeds. And I’ve got to believe Biden read it, and watched the movie. He certainly was lucid enough back then to have handled it.
For years “The Ox-Bow Incident” was a favorite of liberal teachers and professors, who had lived through the McCarthy era and the “Red Scare,” when it was the political right making accusations and stoking anger. Sen. McCarthy’s political reign of terror ended as he hunted for Communists in the U.S. Army. Joseph N. Welch, the lawyer for the Army, confronted McCarthy at a public hearing with this withering question:
“Have you no sense of decency, sir?”
Things change and now it is the left that goes out hunting for witches in the Armed Forces. Democrats shut their mouths and don’t ask the inquisitors if their sense of decency has been lost. Careerist generals, their fingers in the wind, have eagerly gone woke reading “White Fragility.”
Now that the jury has cleared Rittenhouse, and mealy mouths pipe up and ask us to move past it all. I make a simple request: Don’t forget what politicians, prosecutors and media have done. And if you do want to forget what happened, at least be honest about the cost of forgetting. It invites the next mob to grab blind Lady Justice, strip off her blindfold, and bend her to their political will.
Imagine your son or daughter in the middle of it all, or yourself or your friends, your neighbors professing innocence and having protestations of innocence drowned out by political barking dogs. In this case, the Kenosha jury stood up, and refused to cave to pressure. They were deliberate. They were careful. But the next time? Who can say? Is that what you want for America?
If you don’t want to forget, all you have to do is Google your favorite social justice warrior pundit and search out what they said and wrote in August of 2020, when the streets of Kenosha were on fire.
I’d recommend that you also read Miranda Devine of The New York Post, who compiled a list of ten debunked lies that were told about Rittenhouse. Or read Bari Weis on Substack, “The Media’s Verdict on Kyle Rittenhouse: Why so many got this story so wrong.”
The media got it wrong the way they’ve gotten other stories wrong, and for the same reasons, like media attacks on innocent Covington, Ky. teenager Nicholas Sandman, or media pushing the false “Russia Collusion” narrative that is now completely falling apart.
In a recent column, I said that corporate, legacy media, which gave into hyper partisanship years ago, has rotted from the roots. Woke newsrooms push ideology over reason and the rots sets in. As Weis and I and many others know all too well, woe to those who disagree.
In the mainstream media world, with American cities under siege, a riot could not be called a riot lest some be offended. Other Newspeak fig leaves are offered up instead, and the people see reality is distorted, and the disconnect added to the rot and decay of corporate media. If there is anything positive out of this, it’s that thinking Americans are abandoning the product of woke newsrooms to seek out independent media sites instead.
Weis begins her piece on Rittenhouse and the media this way:
“Here is what I thought was true about Kyle Rittenhouse during the last days of August 2020 based on mainstream media accounts: The 17-year-old was a racist vigilante. I thought he drove across state lines, to Kenosha, Wisc., with an illegally acquired semi-automatic rifle to a town to which he had no connection. I thought he went there because he knew there were Black Lives Matter protests and he wanted to start a fight. And I thought that by the end of the evening of August 25, 2020, he had done just that, killing two peaceful protestors and injuring a third.
It turns out that account was mostly wrong.”
She argues her misperception wasn’t because of a “disinformation campaign waged by Reddit trolls or anonymous Twitter accounts,” but pushed by mainstream media and the politicians to support a political narrative.
It was a case that should never have been brought, but was brought, because of politics. Kenosha’s streets were on fire after the police shooting of Jacob Blake, who had allegedly sexually assaulted a woman and pulled a knife on police officers. The BLM riots began, Biden and other Democrats rushed to curry favor with the Blake family, because they had elections to win. All of it was political.
The police officer who shot Blake was exonerated. Blake was Black, but Rittenhouse and the three men he shot were white. Race wasn’t an issue in Rittenhouse, though media tried to make it so.
The prosecution saw its case fall apart when prosecution witnesses testified, including the one who admitted to pointing a loaded gun at Rittenhouse. The video shows clearly what happened. The mob attacking, trying to kill him and grab his gun.
The jury deliberated carefully for days, with great political pressure upon them. Even the jury bus was allegedly being stalked by MSNBC news. This begged the question of jury intimidation. And with all that pressure on them, the jury came to a just and responsible verdict:
Not guilty on all counts.
You might think with all the political and media lies being told, with media screeching and MSNBC resident racist and homophobe Joy Reid yammering on and on about “white tears,” that it would be difficult to sort out a truth.
Not “the” truth, but “a” truth, the truth that those who wanted Rittenhouse to be found guilty believe as an article of faith. It came from the lips of James Kraus, one of the prosecutors in closing argument.
He said that Rittenhouse shouldn’t have defended himself. That he had no right to defend himself. Instead, he should have taken the beating, because, well, everybody takes a beating.
“Where is it that, when you get a couple scrapes? Everybody takes a beating sometimes, right?” Kraus told the jury. “Sometimes you get in a scuffle, and maybe you do get hurt a little bit. That doesn’t mean you get to start plugging people with your full metal jacket AR-15 rounds.”
But the jury had lived through the Kenosha riots. They’d seen what had happened to their town. They’d already gone through emotional and psychological beatings. And here was a prosecutor telling them that Rittenhouse should have let them beat him.
Kraus didn’t sound like a prosecutor who just seen his own case blow up. Rather, he was like Henry Hill, the character in “Goodfellas” played by Ray Liotta, the gangster who also said “Everybody takes a beating.”
Is that how the Rittenhouse prosecution prepared for the trial by watching gangster movies?
If you were on the street in a riot, would you take a beating, so a prosecutor wouldn’t get upset? Would you just lie down and let them put the boots to you? I don’t think so. The jury didn’t think it was a good idea, either.
We’re Americans. We don’t kneel and take beatings.
What people want is fairness. Yes, we need the law, but we need what’s behind the law, too. In “The Ox-Bow Incident,” the cowboy, Gil, played by Henry Fonda, reads a letter from one of the innocent men that the self-righteous posse has just lynched.
It is a letter from the dead man to his wife:
“Law is a lot more than words you put in a book, or judges or lawyers or sheriffs you hire to carry it out. It’s everything people ever have found out about justice and what’s right and wrong. It’s the very conscience of humanity. There can’t be any such thing as civilization unless people have a conscience, because if people touch God anywhere, where is it except through their conscience?”
Is the media stoking rage and racial resentment a civilized act? No. It is an act of force, an exercise in power. There is no restraint in an activated mob. There is no conscience to it. And once we we can lather it up and ride the mob as if it’s a horse, we become as brutes.
Biden and the Democrats won’t apologize to Kyle Rittenhouse. Corporate media won’t apologize. And don’t bother asking any of them that Joseph Welch question: “Have you no sense of decency, sir?”
What happened to Kyle Rittenhouse wasn’t decent. There is no decency in power politics. There is no conscience to it. And no restraint. And that’s what this was all about. Power politics.