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December 07th, 2021
L&T Opinions Page

earl wattL&T Publisher Earl Watt


I expected some would not be happy with the verdict that found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty by reason of self defense in Kenosha, Wisc. What I didn’t expect was the anger to turn toward the justice system that has worked in this country since its founding.

The response against trial by jury in this country didn’t just upset me. It didn’t just make me disappointed in those who advocate for social change.

It angered me beyond anything politically I have seen in my lifetime. It angered me beyond anything I have dealt with professionally, and that includes being accused of leaving the corporate newspaper inappropriately before buying them out.

There have been plenty of reasons to be angry over the political climate in our country, but none worse than the ignorant responses to the Rittenhouse verdict.

Publications that once carried virtue and public trust fell into the ash heap of history by completely, and I believe criminally, mischaracterizing Rittenhouse, the situation on the street that night, and either watched zero video footage of the incident or only listened to biased reports of others exclaiming outrage that a jury could have acquitted Rittenhouse.

“Time” magazine ran a piece written by Barbara McQuade that best highlights what is wrong with attacking the American legal system. She is a professor at the University of Michigan School of Law, a former U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Michigan and is a legal analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.

wade braxton article

In her uneducated piece, she states that Rittenhouse wasn’t dressed as a police officer or EMT, rather he “wore a backwards baseball cap and openly carried a weapon of war.”

She actually defended the attacks on Rittenhouse by the deranged individuals who attacked him by saying “when people saw him, they understandably assumed he was an active shooter and attacked him to protect themselves and others from the threat of gunfire.”

First, let’s point out what an “active shooter” really is and what they do.

According to the FBI, an active shooter is a person “actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.”

Rittenhouse had an AR-15 with him, but he was not actively shooting when he entered the scene and never did until he was attacked.

Multiple times through the night Rittenhouse held up his hands and said, “Friendly,” to the rioters and looters, and they let him pass.

People like McQuade don’t believe people should have the right to carry a gun, and she probably doesn’t support the right of people to own a gun.

But that night in Kenosha, guns were everywhere. To hear McQuade and others, you would believe that Rittenhouse was the only person in Kenosha with a  gun. He wasn’t. Photographic and video evidence shows AR-15s in the hands of several, and one of these “peaceful protestors” took aim at Rittenhouse with a gun of his own until Rittenhouse blew off the man’s bicep. It was either that or be killed himself.

McQuade makes a case that finding Rittenhouse not guilty will only embolden vigilantes to roam the streets, looking to get in a fight and to kill people in the name of self defense.

Not only does that argument make no sense whatsoever, it does bring out a point as to why anyone was on the street in the first place in Kenosha that night.

What started two days earlier as a protest against police brutality, which was also proven false and the officers not even charged by the same prosecuting office that went after Rittenhouse, but the protest turned to rioting, looting and violations of the law.

Why was this allowed to happen? Why did the law stand down while a city burned?

Kenosha wasn’t the only place these types of protests occurred. Minneapolis, Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore, Seattle, Portland, Ore., and basically the entire state of California saw rioting, looting and criminal damage, and in virtually every case, the political leaders told law enforcement to stand down, referring to the looting and rioting as a “cooling off” period.

It was those policies that led to the killings in Kenosha, not the young man who didn’t want to be a victim himself.

McQuade and her ilk like to ask, “Why was he there?” and ignore the bigger question of “Why was anyone there?”

The right to be on the street doesn’t extend to some and not to others. Police or the National Guard should have cleared the streets the first time a window was broken. Once you’ve suspended the rule of law, violence is almost always the outcome, and these people will not take responsibility for the very policies that led to the looting and the violence. Rittenhouse, and anyone else, was simply supposed to sit back, take their beating so others could “cool off.”

Cooling off is not a Constitutional right. As a matter of fact, no one cooled off. They simply played off of each other’s rage and made it worse.

Justice was served in Minneapolis when the officer who placed his knee on the throat of another man until he died was sent to prison for his crime. Burning down the city had nothing to do with justice.

That’s how trial by jury works. Our system is designed to make sure anyone accused of a crime isn’t tried and convicted by the state without having justice placed in the hands of everyday citizens.

Forget the massive spending bills that bring socialism to our economy, forget the questions of the legitimacy of an election. Trying to destroy trial by jury ends justice in America, and those espousing the hate toward this jury and judge out of ignorance has lit my fire.

If McQuade doesn’t know better, and she teaches law, our nation is in trouble.

I’m mad, and I’ mad enough to confront this lunacy. And if we don’t confront it, we lose the system that protects democracy from kangaroo socialist courts. They now have trial by jury on trial. And they want it gone.


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