From the moment, that awful Bruce Schroeder, the judge who was presiding over the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial, made the ruling that those shot couldn’t be referred to as “victims,” the tracks had been laid for the acquittal. Everyone was expecting it. That’s the ultimate shame of our judicial system. We already knew where it was heading before it was got there.
Our judicial system is a joke, for lack of a better world. We pat ourselves on the back for a lot of things here in America but we’re no different from other countries with kangaroo courts. In upstate New York, Niagara County Court Judge Matthew Murphy III gave Christopher Belter eight years of probation for raping four young women. Someone who rapes four women is a serial rapist. And he got only eight years to go walk the streets because the judge felt it would be “inappropriate” to send him to prison. You don’t have to be a genius to know that Belter is white.
This same week, in Oklahoma, Julius Jones’ sentence was commuted. And while the details are still questionable about what happened in Edmond, Okla. in 1999, two young white men were given the benefit of the doubt, while a young black man was thrown into prison for the rest of his life. Oklahoma is a very racist state. It’s not as racist as Georgia where I grew up and lived for 24 years. Outside of Atlanta and Savannah, you’re basically in communities so poor and divided, everyone fighting amongst each other so the richer white people can keep laughing all the way to bank. The poor white people fight with any black person who gets ahead anyway. The black people are angry because the system is against them. And the factories and farms hire undocumented people from Central America because it’s cheaper. So, both sides are angry at them for getting work. Just keep them all fighting is how it’s handled.
And they all talk about how much of good Christian people they are. Just don’t come to their churches if you’re not the right skin color. It’s a bullshit way of life that I don’t ever want to return to. Oklahoma is not better but at least we have medical cannabis and we acknowledge Indigenous Native Americans. Unless you live near Savannah or the metro Atlanta area, there’s no reason to live in Georgia if you’re open minded. The Republicans are trying so hard to keep Democrats (and black people) from voting because they’ve had their asses handed to them in the past few elections.
Schroeder is part of the problem. He’s no different than all the backward judges, county commissioners in faded denim overalls and Bubba sheriffs I’ve dealt with. In his opinion, Rittenhouse was a hero. Even though he put himself into a situation where he wasn’t called for, Rittenhouse was just some goofy kid who made a mistake in Schroeder’s opinion and that of others. The bad crowd Jones was with led him to his conviction. Rittenhouse just wanted to hep other honest patriotic men.
I’m thinking even if Rittenhouse had been convicted, the judge would’ve given him a lighter sentence. At the same time, a young woman in the area I grew up in was arrested for possession of marijuana and people went after the police online. Our law and order system is still stuck in the past. And unfortunately (and this is very harsh and blunt), until people like Schroeder are both dead and out of office, we’ll never have any change.
Yes, I said it. People like Schroeder, Crazy Joe Arpaio, Donald Trump and Yosemite Tom David Clarke and countless others are relics of an archaic culture that no longer exists. It’s 2021. And people who were raised during their formative years in the era of segregation and Jim Crow laws are still wanting to pass laws to make them happy. There was a town near where I lived called Adairsville. It was one of the most backward towns I’d ever seen, until about 10 years ago when they started brining in more businesses. It’s hardly recognizable today. Part of that is because those who tried so aggressively to keep it the way it was died off.
We could have had a landmark case with a conviction. But now, this is another Dred Scott or Plessy vs. Ferguson case. The fatal shooting of Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum was the result of Black Lives Matter protest in the wake of the Aug. 23 shooting of Jacob Blake by Rusten Shesky of the Kenosha Police Department. Blake was shot in the back. He was shot walking away from Sheskey. In many ways, it’s Sheskey’s fault. Blake may have had warrants out for him, but police aren’t judge, jury and executioner
Unfortunately, police are at the bottom of the judicial process and I think they know it. That’s why they’re so fucking pissed off. Lawyers and judges have to have not only a bachelor’s degree but a law degree. Any moron with a clean (or clean enough) record can fiddle-fart through the first two decades of their life and become a cop in any town that’ll have them. I’ve read many probably cause affidavits that read like a fifth grader trying to flub their way through a oral book report. The circumstances that led to Blake’s shooting have been disputed we may never know what happened. But Sheskey won’t face any discipline even though his name should be more known.
We need to stop acting like law enforcement are great heroes. They’re public servants no different than the the people who work at other government jobs. They signed up for a job. There is no war going on in America, except between police and the public. It’s only gotten worse over the years as we continue to turn law enforcement into a more militarized agency.
When I was working in Americus, Ga., in south Georgia, a high school senior was arrested for having a pocket knife at school. He wasn’t too bright and rather than get up and disrupt glass by sharpening his pencil, he pulled the knife out and did it. Since Georgia has a zero tolerance law, he was arrested. The sheriff’s office didn’t want to turn over the report and we had to go through a Freedom of Information to get the report. The double standard was overwhelming for a part of America where many black men were shot for having “pocket knives” on them.
Blake had a pocket knife on him. I used to carry a pocket knife. I don’t anymore. I have long hair and a beard, but I never know how someone will see me. That’s our world we live in. You have to look a certain way to be “legal.” Congresswoman Lauren Boebert said that Rep. Ilhan Omar is a jihadist even though Boebert has actually been arrested multiple times. Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana said that Saule Omarova is a Communist because she was born and raised in Kazakhstan.
I’m more fearful of the dangers Kennedy and Boebert pose. And like Boebert, I have guns. In Oklahoma, you can carry firearms without a permit. All my firearms were legally purchased by either me or my family members. In Oklahoma, as long as a firearm was legally purchased, it doesn’t matter who owns it, as long as it was legally gifted or given to someone.
Yet, one of the most outrageous cases I covered was the son of a county undersheriff being arrested and charge for illegally stealing a Heckler and Koch firearm from his uncle. However, the more I read the case, I couldn’t determine if he stole it or just had borrowed it and someone else took it. There wasn’t much to the story and the prosecutors eventually dropped the case. All this came to light during a tense election year when the incumbent sheriff was unseated by his challenger.
So, basically our laws always come down to how well we’re liked by those in law and order, depending on our skin color, our upbringing, our sexual orientation and our actions. Yes, there are still laws in many states where people can assault transgendered people if they feel they were being lied to. We are basically turning into a real life version of The Purge. And it’s only going to get worse.
Republicans and gun enthusiasts aren’t seeing the acquittal as justice. They’re seeing it as a win, the same way people looked at O.J. Simpson’s acquittal as a win. And that’s how our judicial system has been established, on who wins and who loses. And they’ll want more wins and less losses.
People will provoke others in an effort to kill or harm them. It’s just like the way it was when bullies would provoke fights at school. We don’t punish those who hit first, but hit back. The acquittal verdict will only enable someone who hasn’t gotten along with a neighbor, co-worker, relative, or classmate to kill them with impunity as long as they can prove their lives were threatened. There are people out there walking around whose fates have already been sealed. Your girlfriend’s father doesn’t like you? It might be you.
It’s going to take a lot more deaths, both from people dying off of natural causes, to those being killed at the hands of people hiding behind “Stand Your Ground” for any changes to happen. Someone reading this might be the victim of a senseless killing. All they have to say is they were threatened.
The irony is Rittenhouse says he felt his life was threatened. Well, now he has a permanent bullseye on him for the rest of his life. Does he think he’ll ever be able to go to college, join the police force, or even step outside to check the mail without looking around and checking his back? Congressman Matt Gaetz said he might consider Rittenhouse for internship, but the risk of having him at the Capitol or even his Florida offices may be too much.
On April 3, 1882, outlaw Robert Ford fatally shot Jesse James in the back. After being cleared on all charges, he went on a theater tour re-enacting it but public opinion varied. He survived an assassination attempt in 1889 when someone tried to slit his throat. When Ford relocated to Colorado, his business was burned down with other establishments. On June 8, 1892, Edward O’Kelley entered Ford’s tent saloon with a double-barrel shotgun and fired both barrels at Ford.
I’m not advocating any more violence, but Rittenhouse is not a free man by any means. He’s got an uncommon surname and his face has been spread all over the face. He’ll never be able to live a normal life. And he’s not a big person, so there’s always the threat of someone bigger trying to prove themselves. My feeling is that he’ll live the rest of his life in seclusion or he’ll become another Simpson or George Zimmerman and become more of a criminal.
He’s the posterboy of everything wrong with America’s obsession of guns and violence. We can’t argue that things would’ve been different if Blake and Sheskey never crossed paths, but Rittenhouse should’ve stayed home. His mother should’ve told him to keep his ass at home. Years ago, we praised a black woman for beating her son for being in the vicinity of protest. But we’re giving his mother the benefit of the doubt. It’s sickening.
We have a chance to start making this right. In Georgia, the defense has rested in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery. If his killers are sent to prison (and they should) it should be the start. If they are acquitted, then, it’s obvious everyone should start arming themselves, because they won’t be able to do anything without getting shot, especially go for a jog.